If you’re like me, then you’re always looking for ways to manage your spending. As a stay-at-home mom whose family survives on one income, I periodically look for things I can stop buying to help us save money.
In this article, I have listed some items that I have personally cut back on over the years.
I also surveyed a group of 25 stay-at-home moms about some of the things they’ve stopped buying to save money as well. The graph below shows what most stay-at-home moms I surveyed said they stopped buying to save money
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Let’s take a deeper look at the data above!
Food items to stop buying to save money
Stop buying takeout and fast food
People spend more money on eating out than they realize. According to the Bureau of labor statistics, Americans spent about $3,526 in 2019 on eating outside the home. This included takeout, dining in restaurants,s, and fast food.
If you stopped eating out, then you would be saving approximately $4,000 dollars a year. That’s a lot of money to use for essential items in your life.
Fast food is also very unhealthy for you. Whenever you eat out, you’ll never be a hundred percent sure of the type of ingredients used in your meal. Some ingredients may cause more harm than good, so it’s better to cook your own food.
Buy less meat (choose chicken or pork instead of beef)
Beef is one of the most expensive meats out there, and one you should definitely stop buying to save money.
At my local grocery store, beef sells for about $5 dollars per pound while chicken costs about $3.60 dollars a pound. Pork costs significantly less than chicken.
Beef is not just expensive, but also bad for the environment. Cows produce a gas called methane when they belch, poop, or exhale any air.
Methane is a major contributor to global warming. According to UCDAVIS, a single cow will belch about 220 pounds of methane. Which is 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide in causing global warming.
If you must eat meat, then I suggest buying the less expensive option like pork or chicken. I’ve also added tofu to our household diet because it’s way cheaper than the other options.
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Soft drinks like soda and seltzer
Soft drinks are another thing you should stop buying today to save money. They really have no nutritional value. Soda contains a lot of sugar which could lead to many health problems.
Seltzer is also not a good alternative because it’s just carbonated water. You’re basically paying for water with carbon dioxide in it. That is a waste of money.
If you really must drink soda and other soft drinks, then consider making your own. You can get a Sodastream from amazon that allows you to make your own seltzer and soda.
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Craving a Starbucks or Dunkin donut coffee? Why not try to make your own instead? I know it may not taste the same but shelling out $5 dollars or more for a cup of fancy coffee is not the best way to save money.
Smoothies and bubble teas
Every once in a while I crave bubble tea or a smoothie from my local store. It cost me about $6 dollars per order to satisfy my craving. The truth is that I could make bubble tea at home for much less.
There’s really nothing to it; just a tea bag, hot water, sugar, and tapioca flour. I could also make healthier more delicious smoothies with fruits and veggies I have in my fridge.
What I’m really paying for is convenience. So I have stopped buying these things now to save money. It’s also helped me control my weight because I’m not consuming the excess sugar from these treats anymore.
Bottled water may seem convenient to have with you on the go, but it’s very wasteful in so many ways. If you think about it, you’re paying for water that is publicly available.
You’re also using the plastic bottle one time before throwing it away. Single-use plastic is one of the biggest pollutants in our oceans.
Not every plastic is recyclable, and not everyone actually recycles their plastic bottles when on the go. If you want to save money and still drink water on the go, then get a reusable water bottle.
I recommend the Takeya Actives Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle from Amazon. It’s rated one of the best water bottles of 2022 by the New York Times. It’s easy to carry, leak-proof, and has the option of using a spout or straw lid.
Alcohol is definitely something you should top buying in order to save money. Good wine is very expensive, and ordering drinks in a restaurant will double the price of your meal.
Alcohol also contributes to headaches in some people. It is known to also decrease your reaction time and memory. If you really crave the taste of a particular drink, then you can opt for a non-alcoholic version of it. It’ll save you money.
Household items to stop buying to save money
Menstrual pads and tampons
If you’re a lady, you may want to consider switching to menstrual cups. They will save you money because it’s a one-time purchase, and it’s reusable. I recommend the Saalt Soft Menstrual cups because they’re very comfortable and made in the USA.
Pads and tampons need to be restocked every month when they run out, but menstrual cups can be used for up to 2 years before being replaced.
When you’ve figured out how to take it out properly, you’ll notice that it’s just more comfortable to have. There are fewer leaks and less odor as compared to pads and tampons
Female razors and deodorant
The next time you go to your local drug store to buy a razor, take a look at how much the pretty feminine razors cost compared to those marketed to men.
You may have heard of the name for this phenomenon, called ‘The pink tax”. A lot of items marketed toward women tend to be sold at a higher price compared to the same items marketed to men.
Items like shampoo, body wash, razors, and deodorants marketed for women are notorious for being more expensive.
In 2015, the Department of consumer affairs surveyed 35 product categories and found that women’s products cost more 42% of the time. This is compared to men’s products which only cost more 18% of the time.
So to avoid paying the pink tax, I buy male razors and male deodorant. I’ve been using old spice deodorant for many years now and I smell just fine. I asked my husband the other day if he minds, and his response was “I love how you smell”.
I also use male razors that I buy in bulk from Walmart, which work just as well as the female versions. I don’t have to worry about paying extra for being a woman anymore.
Toys are one of the items you should stop buying today to save money. This is because they don’t hold their value for long. Kids get bored and outgrow them quickly. They’ll just end up cluttering your home and taking up space.
Instead of buying new toys, head over to your local thrift store to see what you can find. Join your local Buy-nothing group on Facebook to see what’s being given away.
Most parents will give away barely used toys to free their home of clutter. By reusing toys this way, we’ll save money and save the world from plastic pollution.
Another way to get your kids engaged is to take them outdoors. Have them engage with nature. My kids always loved that more than any toys they had at home.
Do arts and crafts, cooking competitions, play board games, etc. You will build more memories with them this way.
If you use disposable diapers, then you should consider switching to cloth diapers. They will save you lots of money.
With cloth diapers, you only have to invest in the upfront cost of purchasing the diapers and inserts, but you can reuse them for years to come. Unlike disposable, which costs you about $800 each year depending on the brand.
Cloth diapers are also better for the environment than disposable diapers. There are about 27.4 billion disposable diapers sent to landfills in the U.S. each year according to reports.
At that rate, It’ll take about 500 years for these diapers to completely decompose.
Stop paying for cable
Cable is slowly becoming a thing of the past with the rise of streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Now is the time to cut out cable if you still have it.
With how busy life is, most adults don’t have time anymore to sit down and watch a show on TV. Most people live on their phones and computers. I suggest subscribing to a streaming service to get the shows you like. It’ll cost you less money.
Stop paying for multiple streaming services
Are you subscribed to Hulu, Netflix, Amazon prime video, and other streaming services at the same time? If so then you’re not alone.
At some point, we were subscribed to over 4 services each month. Without realizing it, we were spending a lot of money on these platforms.
I had to cut back our subscription to just one service at a time because it was becoming just as expensive as our electric bill.
Every few months, I would cancel our current streaming service and subscribe to another. This allowed me to watch my favorite shows without committing long-term to only one platform.
If you feel the need to have more than one streaming service at a time, then consider splitting the cost with a friend or family member.
All you have to do is share your password with them, and in exchange, they have to pay half the bill. This way, you can get two streaming services for half the price.
I don’t remember the last time I paid full price for any new clothes. When I go to the store, I only shop in the clearance aisle.
I get most of my clothes secondhand from family members who’ve outgrown them. I also get clothes, shoes, and other accessories from my local buy-nothing group on Facebook.
Thrift stores are another place you can find gently used clothing for a very reduced price. I have saved a lot of money by not buying new clothes.
If you love reading and find yourself spending money on books each month, then I think it’s time to find an alternative to physical books.
I recommend getting ebooks because they’re usually cheaper than hard copies. You can sign up for audible today to start reading online.
If you prefer paperback books, then go to the library. You can borrow books for free there, and even request books they don’t have on the shelf.
Paid movie downloads – like prime video
I used to buy and rent movies from channels like HBO, Disney, and Amazon prime video, but I’ve since stopped to save money.
Renting a movie is a waste of money because there are usually restrictions on how many times you can watch before the link expires.
Buying is also pointless because most people only watch a movie once. You’ll end up with a bunch of DVDs in your house taking up space.
My suggestion is to subscribe to streaming channels and watch the movie there. If it’s not available on that channel, then try requesting it from your local library.
Name brand products
There is a misconception that store brand items don’t have the same quality as name-brand. That isn’t true. I’ve been using only store brand products for many years now and I haven’t seen a difference in quality.
To save money, I’ve switched to generic brand medications. I only buy store-brand groceries and toiletries, as well as store-brand clothing.
Other ways to save money
Buy meat in bulk and freeze
If you have a local butcher shop near you, then consider buying meat in bulk. Doing so will help you save money.
Since the butcher shop doesn’t have to worry about shipping and distribution costs, their meat will be cheaper. You can freeze whatever meat you don’t plan on using for a later date.
Buy groceries in bulk
When you shop at Costco, BJ’s, and other membership stores, you’ll often get the items cheaper than at your local grocery store.
Selling the groceries in a large volume allows the store to reduce the prices. Whatever produce you don’t use up from your shopping trip can be frozen as well for a later date.
Plant your own spices
You can save money by planting some of your own spices. Most spices can be planted in a small pot. This will be perfect for someone who lives in an apartment.
In the past, I’ve planted pepper, oregano, and parsley. I’ve also planted stevia which I use for my coffee every morning.
Stop buying cigarettes
Besides being bad for your health, cigarettes are expensive. In New York where I live, the average price of a pack of cigarettes is $13 dollars. If you buy a pack a week, that’s $52 dollars you throw down the drain every month.
If you’re finding it hard to stop smoking, it might help to think about the financial and health impact it’s having on you.
Consider a smoking cessation program like the Freedom From Smoking Group Program offered by the American Lung Association.
Disposable plates and utensils
Disposable plates, forks, straws, and other single-use utensils contribute a significant amount of pollution to the environment.
They also cost you money because you throw them away right after use. As an alternative, consider using paper plates and cups. They’re usually cheaper and safer for the environment.
You could also just use your regular dishes and wash them later as well. This way you don’t have to spend any money at all.
There are so many ways to manage your spending and increase your savings. One way to do that is to reduce the number of things we buy.
I hope this article has given you some ideas of things you stop buying today to save money. If I missed anything that should be on the list, please leave a comment below to let me know.