I have been meaning to write this series for months and months. As a large family on two incomes that vary from month to month, we have to be very mindful with what we spend our money on. People assume it is the big things that make the difference in your budget but actually it is the small things that add up to make a big difference. This post is about the things we stopped buying to save money.
This list will vary from house to house, because we are all willing to compromise on different things. What I have realised though is that there is a lot of consumer items we are told we need when we really don’t.
Stop Buying These 9 Things Now and Save Money
Paper Towel. We haven’t bought paper towel in years and I can honestly say we have not missed it once. We have recycled kitchen towels we use to mop up spills.
A range of cleaning materials. I used to buy kitchen cleaner, bathroom cleaner, all purpose cleaner, window cleaner, toilet cleaner. Every month I would spend money on all of these items. I started cutting down and would buy all-purpose cleaner and now I just buy dish washing liquid. We use a homemade mix of vinegar, lemon juice and/or essential oils. We clean everything with it. Not only are all these cleaning materials unnecessary but they are bad for the environment. When it is on sale, I buy a few products from SoPure.
Take-away Coffee. Yeah I see you rolling your eyes saying NEVER! My Seattle Coffee was my weekly (often bi-weekly) treat. Each coffee was R40, so R80 a week and R240 a month. Doesn’t sound like a lot of money but over a year that is R2880. I don’t never buy take-away coffee but now it is a rare treat and I always use my own mug. Using your own mug is not only kinder to the universe but you also get a discount at most outlets.
Bottled Water. Why are you buying bottled water? I know there are some areas where the water is not drinkable but for the most part we can all drink the water out of our taps. There is no need to buy single-use plastic for something we have access to! If you do live in an area where you can’t drink the water, take your own bottles and have them filled at one of the many water outlets all over.
Ready-made Meals. I know they are convenient but they are also expensive and very often they aren’t even that nice. If your weeks get crazy (like mine are at the moment), find quick meals you can make or take a few hours out of your Sunday to make meals in bulk.
Cookies and other baked goods. We bake as part of school once a week, so there is always something “nice” for them to snack on. Baking does take time but my sugar cookie recipe literally takes 10 minutes in the beater and you can just roll the dough into a sausage and slice it. Trust me this works out much cheaper than buying cookies or cupcakes.
Bakery Bread. Did you know that the bread made fresh in the bakeries of your supermarket is cheaper, sometimes by 1/2 than the sliced branded bread? It is! And it is often nicer, especially when you buy it hot and fresh. I was baking our bread but then my bread maker died and I haven’t replaced it yet. If you have a bread maker then use it to make delicious homemade bread.
Ready Cut Veggies and Salads. Cutting butternut is a mission but buying a whole butternut and chopping it up is so much cheaper than buying a bag of cubed butternut. It is also kinder to the environment because you can compost the skins and pips. Same goes for lettuce, cauliflower etc. Buy them fresh, without the packaging, it is cheaper.
Take-away and eating out. Eating out for us is a rare treat and we seldom go as all 6 of us because it just works out so expensive. We did make use of the Entertainer App last year which is really great because they had a lot of “buy one get one free” deals which then made it a little more affordable.
I know it sounds like we live a life without joy but we really don’t. We just live a lot simpler now and are very aware of what we buy. When we do eat out, we really appreciate and enjoy the experience.
If you are working with a tight budget or want to save money, focus on cutting out the smaller items. When you start to look closely at where you are spending your money you will realise just how much get’s wasted on things you don’t really need.