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There are a few things I stopped buying to save money, and we’ve saved thousands of dollars year after year by dropping these unnecessary expenses.
I used to be a major impulse buyer. You could say that I had a real problem delaying gratification (even though I knew in those moments I wasn’t serving my goals).
When you’re broke, or living paycheck to paycheck with nothing left over after paying the bills, it can be hard to decide where to cut expenses.
I’m willing to bet you’ve justified spending on some things because you:
- deserve it…you do work hard, after all.
- want it. Listen…I used to do the same thing. It’s my money and I want it now! Children behave this way, and we are not children.
- need it. I once bought a car because I had three kids, and I needed a third-row seat so that they wouldn’t fight. The ridiculousness of justifying a $30,000 purchase so that my kids wouldn’t fight in the backseat is very eye-opening!
Whatever your reasons for justifying your spending, know that you’re not alone. We’ve all done it.
When I first quit my job to stay at home with the kids, I had to be smart about spending. I realized I was only taking home about $500 per month after daycare, insurance, and other expenses, so I needed to save at least that much per month to justify staying home.
These 7 things I stopped buying save us nearly $15,000 per year!
Here are some things I stopped buying when we were struggling financially. By the way, we still don’t pay for most of these items because we realize we really didn’t need them in the first place.
1. Traditional Health Insurance
Please note that this is not considered advice for your medical condition. You need to look at your own financial situation before deciding to quit health insurance.
I used to listen to Dave Ramsey’s radio show nearly daily, and he frequently advertised Christian Healthcare Ministries as an alternative to traditional health insurance.
As our health insurance premiums crept up to nearly $900 per month (with higher and higher deductibles and lower coverage amounts), we started to research CHM plans.
We started out on the Bronze plan for our family of five. The cost was $135 per month. They’ve since raised rates slightly, but it’s still so much more affordable.
My son had an accident during a football game, and two surgeries later to the tune of $60,000 worth of medical bills, we only owed $1299 out of pocket.
I can say with certainty that switching from health insurance to a medical-cost sharing ministry is one of the best decisions we’ve ever made!
Annual Savings: $9,180 (on premiums alone with no claims submitted)
2. Satellite TV
Streaming television is becoming the norm now. Years ago, people thought you were nuts if you quit cable or satellite to rely on the internet to provide entertainment.
The fact is, Directv and Dish Network provide incentives to new customers while neglecting long-time, loyal clients.
Once your initial contract expires, there are really no incentives to stay with these satellite companies.
One caveat: You must have high-speed internet available in your area.
We switched from DirecTV to YouTube TV last year, and we are in love! On long road trips, we can use our phones to stream tv, and we have unlimited DVR available.
In case you can’t tell, I’m a huge fan of YouTube TV! It only costs $49.99 per month, and we’re able to get all of the sports channels we need during football season (along with some of my favorite movies and shows).
You can check out my full review of YouTube TV vs DirecTV here.
Annual Savings: $840
3. Hair Appointments
I absolutely love my stylist, and she is worth every bit that she charges! We must remember that our hair stylists are in business for themselves and trying to make a living. And cutting, coloring, styling, extensions, etc is an art.
But as a family of five, the costs add up really quick (even the barbershop visits for the boys).
I’ve been cutting my husband’s and son’s hair for 11 years. It’s really easy. You just use a really good set of hair clippers like these and use the lower numbered guards on the sides and the higher numbered guards on the top.
My girls’ hair is pretty easy to trim as well. They have long hair, but you must use hair cutting scissors!! Do not try to use household scissors on your girls’ hair!
But when it comes to my own hair, for the longest time, I did visit the hair salon at least 3-4 times per year, costing $120-$140 per session.
I’ve cut that down to once per year, and I have saved so much money as a result! The only way I was able to make this work was by choosing a balayage with a root smudge (darker color at the root).
That way, as my hair grows out, it doesn’t look bad (like it’s time for a trip to the salon).
Annual Savings: $1800
4. 6-Packs of Craft Beer
My husband loves Gumballhead beer from 3-Floyds Brewery. He doesn’t drink often, so he would buy a 6-pack at a time.
This is the most expensive way to buy beer, costing about $13 for six beers. Those six beers might last a couple of days, and if someone drinks just a few days during the week and on the weekends, they could easily go through two 6-packs.
My brother is a craft beer guy as well, and he had the idea to stop buying beer for the house, only having a drink or two when they go out to dinner.
We followed suit, and not only have both of the guys lost a few pounds, but we’ve saved money.
Annual Savings: $900 (assuming replacing two 6-packs per week and drinking two beers out once per week)
5. Manicures and Pedicures
I absolutely love a good mani/pedi. The hand massage and foot massage make you feel so pampered and relaxed.
But I’ve stopped getting gel manicures twice a month, and I use Essie nail polish instead at home.
During the winter, there’s no reason to get pedicures (unless your feet have cracking issues and you truly need it).
By opting for summer-only pedicures, I’m saving a good amount of money.
Check out Essie’s new Expressie nail polish colors! I’m in love with all of the bright, spring hues! Bring on the warmth!
[amazon box=”B07Y8Z8MPB” template=”horizontal”]
Annual Savings: $850
6. Name Brand (for the most part)
One of the things we stopped buying to save money is name-brand foods and toiletries.
The power of compound savings really adds up when you consider weekly grocery trips where most of us buy the same items over and over again.
We have found generic items to be just as good as name-brand (with few exceptions).
We will always choose Velveeta shells and cheese, and we don’t buy imitation cheese slices. We choose Kraft because the imitation is just gross.
Also, when it comes to toilet paper, we tried some of the cheapest toilet paper, and it’s just so thin and rough that we’ve found Walmart and Meijer’s generic Charmin to be much better.
Also, keep in mind that generic prescriptions and medicines (like ibuprofen and acetaminophen) work just as good as the name-brand. In fact, many of them are manufactured by the same companies!
Annual Savings: Give or Take $1,000
7. Shaving Cream
I’ve been known to do some radical things to save money and make money (like donating blood plasma for extra money).
We adopted two adorable baby kittens a couple of years ago, and I ended up being allergic to them…like really allergic to them.
After struggling to breathe for months, we found a new home for Loki and Hazel, but we forgot to rehome their cat shampoo.
Surprisingly enough, cat shampoo works great for shaving! And so does shampoo, body wash, and conditioner!
How many extra bottles of leftover shampoo, conditioner, and body wash do you have under the bathroom sink? Stop buying shaving cream! Use what you have, and you can eventually clean out and declutter in the process!
Side Note: Another way we save money is with a subscription to Dollar Shave Club. I know it’s really marketed to men, but when I tried my husband’s shaver, I was hooked!
Even though it’s a subscription, and they can send you new razor heads every month, I often skip a month or two because I don’t need new razor heads. That’s the best part about DSC!
Annual Savings: $24
When you add up the savings from just these 7 things I stopped buying to save money, we come up with annual savings of almost $15,000!
What could you do with an extra $15,000 per year? Could you pay off your credit card debt? Pay off your car or student loan? Could you afford to quit a job that you absolutely hate to stay home with the kids?
When I quit my job to stay at home with the kids, we had to come up with creative ways to save money until my blog took off and I started making money blogging.
Now, the blog is earning more than $3,000 per month every single month, and we’re saving $15,000 per year by cutting above expenses.
That’s more than $50,000 per year we save/make for me to stay at home doing what I love!
If you’re interested in learning how to start a blog, check out my tutorial. You can start a blog for just $2.95 per month, and if you sign up for hosting through my referral link, I’ll send you a free video training to help you get started.
So there you have it: 7 things I stopped buying to save money over the years!
By implementing some of these tips (or even just cutting some of them in half…mani/pedi’s for instance), you can save thousands of dollars and still live an amazing life.
Life is a collection of memories and experiences. There are ups and downs. I am so grateful for God’s grace and am on the journey to a renewed spirit, free of perfectionism. Perfection Hangover offers the sober truth – no filter.