How much time and money could you save by learning to stop buying stuff you don’t need? While an impulse purchase may initially seem like a great idea, just days—or even hours—later you probably find yourself regretting wasting money on something so fleeting. You’ll feel better about yourself in the long-run if you gain some self-control.
So, if you’re goal is to stop buying stuff you don’t need, here are 9 items you can cross off your shopping list.
1. Branded food products
Many of us typically by from brands that we recognise because we’ve had a good experience with that brand in the past. This affiliation warps our minds into thinking that we should stick with what we know. By ignoring that feeling, you could save yourself quite a bit of money.
There is a common misconception that by buying a generic or house brand that the product will be of lesser quality. This is not the case.
Take milk for example; the home brand (on a chain supermarket website) was $2 whereas the name brand was $3. I know that this doesn’t seem like a major saving but if you buy milk once a week, you’re saving yourself $52 a year. And with other simple tweaks to your shopping habits you could be saving a lot more.
2. Fast food
Fast food is not only the devil to our health but also to our wallets. More often than not, the reason people buy fast food is because it’s quick and easy. Say you only get 45 minutes for your lunch break, what do you do? You nip into the closest food court and buy a takeaway meal.
With the correct planning you can completely alter this situation. Instead of needing to rush to a jam packed food court, you could reach into your bag for a healthy, home-cooked alternative and enjoy it wherever you like.
By using the ingredients you have at home you are making multiple meals rather than spending the same amount of money on a boring lunch.
A great way to combat this is by meal prepping. Take one day at the start of your week (Sunday is a popular choice) and prepare a meal that can be refrigerated; common choices include: pasta, salads, sandwiches and wraps.
3. Takeout deliver services (like UberEats or Deliveroo)
With the introduction of so many new delivery services, many people are opting to just order online and have their food delivered to their door instead of making dinner themselves. Not only does the price of fast food add up, but with the addition of delivery fees you’re spending much more money on food than necessary.
A great way to rectify this is, again, by planning your meals. Instead of deciding on the night whether you’re going to whip up a steak or boil some pasta, if you’ve planned your meals in advance, and the ingredients are already stocked up in your fridge, you’re much more likely to stick to that routine than order out.
4. Bottled water
If you don’t carry a metal or reusable plastic water bottle around with you, start now! Everyone gets thirsty and what do you usually do when you get thirsty? You go and buy a plastic, disposable bottle of water…or you suffer, and we don’t recommend either.
By carrying a reusable water bottle with you, you’ll save yourself from having to constantly buy new bottles of water—which often happen to be a complete rip off. In addition, buying new plastic bottles all the time is terrible for our environment, expensive and wasteful.
Now I know for most of us, coffee seems like a necessity. But in all honesty it isn’t. Coffee is a luxury that a lot of us take for granted. We have hardwired ourselves to rely on it; and with the majority of adults getting less than 8 hours of sleep a night, we are all naturally going to be sleep deprived.
Caffeine helps us wake up, but if you went to sleep that little bit earlier you may not need that coffee in the morning and you could be saving yourself a significant amount of your income.
Most coffees set you back about $4 per cup; if you’re having one every day (which many people do), you are spending approximately $1400 a year on coffee. And if you’re having more than one coffee a day this number only rises.
Even if you don’t want to completely give it up, find an alternative: start brewing your own at home, invest in an espresso machine, or cut down to one a day.
6. Gym memberships
Gym memberships are one of those things you never really consider getting rid of because you’ve just “always” had it. No matter whether your membership costs $10 a month or $100 a month, by eliminating that expense you can save a substantial amount.
If you’re still looking to workout, consider cheaper alternatives. Many people utilise fitness videos on YouTube or spend time outdoors, working out in parks or going for runs. There are many alternatives to keeping yourself in tip-top shape than using a boring elliptical machine.
7. Reusable plastic containers
Instead of buying reusable plastic containers consider switching over to glass food storage, jars and stainless steel lunch containers.
These materials are much more sustainable, hard-wearing and long-lasting compared to plastic.
8. Useless Beauty Products
We all like to feel good about ourselves, and some people love to keep up with the latest make-up, hair and beauty trends. By all means, you do you. But before you buy your next beauty addition, ask yourself how much it’ll really change your life, the way you look or your beauty regime.
Many beauty products have huge markups and are marketed in such a way to make consumers believe they will add significant value to their lives. But this isn’t always the case—how many times have you invested in a beauty product only to find it barely made a difference to your appearance? Always check a product’s ingredients, and take that (over the marketing and branding) to understand exactly what you’re buying.
Next, make a list of everything you own in your makeup bag or draw, and ask yourself which items truly make a noticeable (positive) difference to the way you look. Invest in these products, and when you do, try and wait for sales if you can. Also keep in mind that certain beauty products have expiry dates or dry out, so don’t overbuy—less is more.
9. Full-Priced Items
Many retail products have such big markups, and these days, aren’t built or made that well. Seeking out good quality, meaningful brands to purchase from is the first step. But looking for sales and value for money is the next.
Download Honey, a web-browser add-on that automatically finds available deals, promo codes and coupons when you’re shopping online. You don’t even have to lift a finger—if a code is available, Honey will apply it at checkout and you can save on full-priced items without doing a thing.