The world is going through an unprecedented economic crisis. The pandemic has impacted the standard of living of the most socially well-off, and the Ukraine-Russia war has hit what’s left of the economy hard, causing chaotic inflation. Therefore, keeping enough money to make it to the end of the month becomes a real obstacle course to living decently. You can find yourself with a dry account while the end of the month is still far away… Fortunately, we can easily save money on a daily basis by not buying certain things. In fact, some things that we are used to buying automatically can be easily replaced by others that are much cheaper… …and others can be completely removed from our shopping list!
Here are 13 things I stopped buying to save hundreds of dollars a month. Check it out:
1. Fabric softeners and dryer wipes
Instead of buying fabric softener and dryer sheets all year long, think again! Not only are these products expensive, but they are also unhealthy because they are full of synthetic products. Fortunately, to soften your laundry, perfume it and remove static electricity, there are 2 super efficient and very economical alternatives. Instead of fabric softener in the washing machine, you can use white vinegar and essential oils
And instead of dryer wipes, invest in these hedgehog-shaped dryer balls.
These dryer balls not only soften your clothes but also save energy all year long. They rotate in the dryer, allowing the warm air to circulate better and drying the clothes faster.
2. Manicures and pedicures
Until now, I had a manicure about every two weeks. This represents a significant annual expense. And I’m not talking about specific treatments or nail polish for special occasions or pedicures. However, taking care of your nails is easy and only takes 20 to 30 minutes. In addition, it is relaxing.
I found a complete manicure kit for gel nails for under $50. I’ve been using it for 3 months now, and I can tell you that the result is impeccable. I use this kit once a week and it takes me about 20 minutes in total to do my nails. And it lasts for over 10 days even though I wash my hands frequently.
3. Make-up remover
I maintained a big brand makeup remover for a long time at over $15 a bottle. And this one only lasted one month. And on top of that, my skin was very dry. I searched for a long time for a more natural alternative and I adopted coconut oil! Coconut oil is a great makeup remover. Just put a little bit of oil on your fingers to melt it and apply it to your face, rubbing gently for about 1 min. Then wipe it off with a cotton ball. Since I’ve been using it, the condition of my skin has changed dramatically: it’s supple and hydrated. And I’m practically acne free.
4. Coffee to go
It’s nice to arrive at work with a big hot coffee bought at the local Starbucks. But it’s about $4 to $6 a day or more than $1100
over the year! And as I am totally addicted to coffee, I must pass. So instead, I got a coffee machine as a birthday present and now I make my own coffee at home. This machine makes cappuccinos as good as the store-bought ones and for a quarter of the price! It even froths the milk and makes it super tasty and creamy. I buy a big 2 kg package of coffee beans (that’s about 250 cups of coffee), for a price of 0.08 cents per cup. And to bring my coffee, I found this mug that keeps my coffee hot for 7 hours.
5. Lunches at work
Take-out lunches are one of the main expenses. For each lunch, I maintain between $10 and $15 (that’s between $3000 and $3500 per year). If you think about it, and with a little organization, these are expenses that can be easily avoided.
To that end, I bought this compartmentalized box to carry my picnic.
I have also gotten into the habit of freezing my leftovers. When I’m short on time, I maintain a ready-made meal that I just have to defrost.
6. Gym membership
Like any woman concerned about her health and body shape, I joined a gym where I paid a monthly membership of $45. I must admit that I didn’t go there very often. I thought it was a small expense and I even forgot to cancel my membership. It was when I calculated the annual cost that I got scared (over $490). But before I canceled my membership, I bought the equipment I needed to train at home.
Here is what I bought
7. Bottled water
Plastic water bottles are not only harmful to the environment but also cost a lot of money for nothing. With a distilling device, tap water is of very good quality and almost free in comparison. However, if you don’t like the taste of tap water use this pitcher with a filter that removes the taste of the water and the residues of chlorine or other additives present in tap water. The filter should be replaced regularly. The other solution is to buy a glass or steel water bottle to always have water with you.
8. Parchment paper and aluminum foil
Even though I don’t use a lot of it, it’s an unnecessary expense that comes up too often in my shopping cart. Plus, this paper isn’t great for the environment or your health. Studies have shown that regular use of aluminum foil can be harmful to your health. So I prefer not to use it anymore. Instead, I use reusable silicone baking mats that are easy to clean. To store my food, I opt for waxed fabric cling film.
9. Brand name clothes and accessories
I started by sorting through my closets and putting the clothes I no longer wear on sale. Then, I decided to stop buying clothes and accessories from big brands and I turned to cheap brands. They offer quality clothes at a much lower price. The only exception is sportswear, where I focus on comfort and safety, especially for running shoes. Specific brands offer shoes that last over time. It’s better than buying a new pair of cheap shoes every two months.
10. Household products
In my closets, I used to have 1000 cleaning products for the different rooms in the house. It takes up space, it’s expensive and it smells bad… Gone are all these products since I discovered what can be done with white vinegar. It’s not expensive and I can clean absolutely everything with vinegar and spread a nice freshener for fresh air: bathroom, toilets, work surfaces, fridge, floors… Compare it with all the products you have in your cupboards at a minimum of $2.50 a bottle and do the math!
11. Home air fresheners
If you find home air fresheners a real waste of money, know that air freshener sprays or caps are expensive and their synthetic smell is not pleasant. This leads you to recognize that it costs between 5 and 9 dollars for this product that you have to change every month or between 60 and 100 dollars per year. So you can give up and make your own natural air fresheners in glass jars. You put a little bicarbonate with a few drops of essential oil. The smell lasts for several weeks and you just have to stir the bicarbonate to reactivate the smell. It’s easy to do and very economical.
12. Ready-to-use spice mixes
Who among us doesn’t love spicy food? And I have to admit, I especially love some of the ready-made spice mixes like guacamole or fajitas. But these little packets are very expensive for what they are, plus they are very salty. Come to think of it, these mixes are very easy to make yourself, as they only contain a few basic spices to buy in bulk. I can now make my own blends and save money. Plus, I know exactly how much salt and sugar they contain. So you can buy the spices in bulk, and to store them, you can put them in special bottles and put them on the shelf of the right heat to keep them fresh.
13. Brand name drugs
Big Pharma obviously avoids spreading this information: generic drugs are just as effective as brand-name drugs. The only difference is their price. These drugs are identical in terms of dosage, quality, and effectiveness. They just don’t belong to a major brand! The pharmacist often “forgets” to ask if you want the generic version of the drug, so you pay full price. But, since I know this, I only buy the generics, including the pill. A box of 3 packs costs $38 and only $18 for the generic. That’s $80 saved per year!
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