An obvious way to impact your personal economy is to save as much money as you can on the things that you buy. Smart shopping, paying attention to sales, couponing and so forth all go a long way towards accomplishing this goal. However, for those of you who are just getting into the “frugal living” game, it can be overwhelming at first. As a matter of fact, the first few times I set out to do it, it seemed so overwhelming to me that I just gave up! If you want to start living a better financial life but don’t know where to start, I say start simple. Listed below are ten things that you virtually NEVER need to buy. And this is by no means a comprehensive list.
In no particular order, here are ten things that I have stopped paying money for:
If you invest in a good set of dish towels or wash clothes, you really don’t need these at all. They are convenient, but by no means necessary. Additionally, by not buying them, it helps out the environment.
Up until recently, I was addicted to plastic wrap. Any leftovers that I had went straight into the nearest container that I could find and were topped with plastic wrap. Then, I invested in a 10-piece set of Pyrex cookware (complete with lids) and bam, no more plastic wrap. Again, you’re also helping out the environment and there has also been research that you can be poisoned by some chemicals in plastic wrap (eg., due to melting in the microwave or slow deterioriation that can’t be seen with the naked eye).
Just wash it yourself. Up until recently, we did have water restrictions that prevented me from fully eliminating this expense, but once those were lifted, I went back to washing it myself. The expense of the water and soap that you use is minimal compared to the cost of an actual car wash. It’s actually kind of fun too!
To me, this was one of the biggest frauds perpetrated on the American consumer in a long time. A lot of bottled waters are no more or less healthier for you than any kind of filtered tap water (which offer some essential vitamins that bottled water doesn’t), and the amount of plastic trash generated by this industry is amazing. If you simply can’t drink tap water, invest in a water purifier. If you need water on the go, put it in some sort of reusable container.
Pre-Cut Fruits and Veggies
I know it’s simple and convenient (especially when you’re entertaining) to just stop off at the grocery store and pick up a platter. Or, if you’re eating on the go, to buy smaller amounts of these. Simply put, this is a huge luxury, and there’s no reason why you can’t cut them yourself. The mark-up for pre-cut fruit is unbelievable, so you’ll save a lot of money on your grocery store bill by avoiding them.
It’s been a long time since I’ve ever paid for one of these. The simplest way to get around it is to tell whatever company you’re dealing with (internet, cell phone, cable) that you’ll take their “deal” or service if they waive this fee. It works every time for me.
For those of you that have or need a blue tooth cell phone, there is no need to ever pay for the headset. A quick internet search should almost ALWAYS yield one company or another where you can get one of these for free.
I have recently really gotten into this. Over the past few months, I have eliminated the need for buying dish soap for my pots and pans, toilet bowl cleaner, glass cleaner and I am about to eliminate a few others. Again, a quick internet search will give you “recipes” on how to make these yourself. The recipes usually involve completely natural ingredients, which will also make your household safer and more environmentally friendly.
Download Tools to Improve Your Computer
Anytime you search the internet for this, you can probably find hundreds of tools that will supposedly “speed up” your computer, or get rid of an unwanted file or something else that might be slowing down your computer for a fee. Guess what? If you search a little harder, you can also find these tools/fixes for free.
With the price of a stamp currently at 44 cents, this can actually have a pretty decent impact on your annual household budget. If you’re not already paying your bills online, start. For local bills that you don’t pay very often (i.e. for doctors visits), consider hand-delivering them. Also, most invitations and/or personal letters can usually be handled through email now. Just as a small example, say you pay 10 bills per month and you had been using about 5 other stamps on a monthly basis. Eliminate this and you could save yourself $80 a year.
In short, there is money out there just waiting to be saved. And I am sure there are lots of you out there already of the “saving” mindset that can add many more items to this list. Have something you want to add to this list? Share it with our readers below…
(photo credit: elwillo)