Buying things is fun.
Sometimes. After years of working with a strict budget, I've kind of lost my zeal for shopping in most cases (sometimes I still get the bug). I do, however, love a good deal and I do love finding alternatives to higher priced items to try and "rig the system" in my favor.
So, here's 10 things I've compiled that you simply do not need to spend your hard-earned cash on....or can substitute for something cheaper.
Hopefully this will help people shave some extra from their zero based budgets!
1. NEW BOOKS/MAGAZINES
This is a hard one for me to put first, mostly because I am a book junkie. I freaking LOVE a brand spankin' new book. I got some money for Christmas and I bought myself 2 books that I'd had my eye on for some time. Typically, however, unless it's a forever-favorite, I sell the book after I get done reading it.
But, buying magazines in bulk is huge waste of $$. They're mostly trash and any news or ideas to be possibly garnered from them can be retrieved from the internet. Since the advent of Pinterest I've largely stopped buying magazines (though I did shell out some spending money for the Newsweek Hamilton special)
Books. Well, that's what libraries are for.
2. BRAND NAMES (IN MOST CASES)
I always try to find alternatives to brand name items. In MOST cases, a suitable substitute can be found that will save you a few bucks.
Cereal is a big one. We are a big cereal loving family but that shizz is expensive. Our kids are totally okay with Malt-O-Meal bagged cereal, and some of their offerings are actually BETTER than the original.
I still buy Special K, but that is typically pretty reasonable for a big family-size box, because, I'm guessing, most kids hate it.
Through research, I've been able to find acceptable, inexpensive alternatives to:
My Face Lotion (used to be hooked on Cetaphil, now I buy the CVS knock-off. It's identical) Saves about $3 a tub!
Toiletry items such as Shampoo for the kiddos, razors, and even makeup. Lord knows I am not about to shell out $25 for a blush or $45 for some foundation. I'll research the main ingredients and drugstore that stuff.
Most Food: Most food items have an off-brand alternative that is workable. I have SOME exceptions to this where I've tried the off brand and it sucked. It's all personal taste I guess.
3. NEW CHILDREN'S CLOTHING
Personal opinion time. I think new kid's clothes are a wild waste of funds. They destroy them, they grow out of them SO fast, and there are so many places to get gently used items at a fraction of the cost.
Most if not all of the new items my children have were received as gifts or purchased by their grandparents for fun. Typically, a few times a year, I go to consignment shops like New to You Kids or Once Upon a Child and stock up for the kiddos on cute stuff. If I turn in boxes of THEIR gently used items, I get cash or credit towards my purchase.
Thankfully, I have 3 girls, so you know hand-me-downs are going down in this house.
4. LOTTERY TICKETS
I've covered this in it's own blog, but you'd be much better off just removing a $5 from your wallet and setting it on fire.
5. GYM MEMBERSHIPS
I'm going to go ahead and put a big caveat to this. I spend my weekly allotted "fun money" on a membership to CrossFit ($20 a week). Because it's my one time of the week that I get to myself to lift heavy stuff and sweat out any frustrations I may have. That's where I choose to filter my spending money.
HOWEVER, research has shown that a large majority of Gym Memberships go underused or completely unused. Many of them are also very hard to get out of and drain bank accounts on a monthly basis.
If you think you're not going to get the most out of your gym membership, find ways to work out for free at home.
6. BRAND NEW CARS
As soon as you drive that new car off the lot....it loses value. FAST. Value on new vehicles drop like a ROCK. Don't believe the car-salesman spin that they are an "investment".....cars are a huge money waster so you're best off doing your utmost to get a good, used vehicle. If you can buy a beater with cash, even better. Until you are debt free, that is.
And, take it from me, check the gas mileage before you plunk down cash because the SECOND I can unload my gas-guzzler of a baby-bus I'm doing it. Because HOLY. CRAP. But, the baby-bus is definitely a beater of a car. It had pieces starting to fall off of it the day I bought it LOL....but it was a cheap route to a 3rd row seat, it's a solid car in most respects, and it gets me from point A to point B. I traded in a 2011 vehicle that I had purchased new (dumb.) for a 2009 used vehicle that I negotiated the bejesus out of. Yes, the car is 8 years old, but it's fine and dandy for my purposes.
This goes for LEASING a vehicle as well. If you think this is saving you money because the monthly payment is lower (Payments! ACK!) ....think again. It's actually the most expensive way to own a vehicle.
7. BARGAIN SHOPPING DEALS
Here's the thing, this is where people get in trouble on days like Black Friday. They buy things they would NEVER normally buy because it's "such a great deal". It's NOT a great deal if you don't need it!
Just because something is 80% off doesn't mean you need to buy it. Some people have a hard time passing up a good deal no matter WHAT the item is....it's like an addiction.
Walk away, keep your money in your wallet.
Don't even get me started. I was a smoker for 11 years. I was one of those idiots who kept saying "Oh, once they reach $5 a pack I'm gonna quit". Nevermind that they were KILLING ME.
Cigarettes have no freaking redeeming qualities. They stink, they WILL kill you eventually, they are terrible for everyone AROUND you, and they are ungodly expensive.
Suck it up, white-knuckle it for a few days, and quit. It's the best thing I EVER did.
9. KNICK KNACKS
Oh Joanna Gaines, we all want to embrace your ship-lap laden farmhouse style. I love it too. So says my Pinterest account. But, it is SUCH a waste to go out and spend, spend, spend on things that just sit on a shelf waiting patiently for you to dust around it every few weeks.
We recently cleaned house and I mean CLEANED. HOUSE. and I'm finding knick knacks are the first thing to go. I have a few that were my Grandmothers that I'll probably never part with....but outside of a select few decorative items that will probably get the pitch when we move....it's such a waste of funds.
The older I get, the more I find I want CLEAR. SPACE. free of any knick knacky crap.
10. LANDLINE PHONE
You Just. Don'T. Need. It.
Seriously, I don't know anyone who doesn't have their phone with them at all times. It's an epidemic. So stop wasting on a landline. We had one for awhile because we thought it was important that our daughters have a set home phone number. I noticed that no one ever really called us on it....and if they did, I let it go straight to the answering machine because I hate the phone in general and everything it stands for.
If you want to reach me, message me on Facebook or text me like a normal person. :)
The phone sucks. Get rid of it. :)
There's plenty of other items you can probably add to your own list of things you just don't need to buy. This is mine. Lists will change based on things you consider important.
But, part of reaching financial freedom and DEBT freedom is perhaps evaluating WHAT you find important and WHY. If it's important to you to have a brand, spankin' new vehicle that drops in value if it's breathed on wrong....WHY?? Is it for your own self-satisfaction that you "deserve it".....is it to impress others?
This is a time to really look deep inside and see what makes you YOU. What can you rid your life of to help you on your path?
It's scary, but free-ing at the same time. I highly recommend it!