Things I Stopped Buying To Save Money
I don’t know about you, but I always seem to have big financial goals that I want to achieve, and they never seem to go away, just get bigger and bigger!
I have big financial goals for this year (last year was paying off my debt and getting a car, which I managed to do!), but the goals for this year are a bit more hush-hush…I will reveal all in due course though don’t worry (or possibly after I’ve done it, in all honesty).
You’re Not Going To Win The Lottery. It’s Time To Sort Your Finances Out.
Fun Frugal Hobbies You Can Do Whilst On Your Debt Free Journey
Personal finance is a bit of a no-brainer in that mathematically speaking, getting more money into your account basically comes down to earning more, and spending less. Sounds simple, right?
I’m sure you know that it’s not that simple though, as spending can be emotional rather than rational, and we are all so different – whilst it may be easy for me to go without a cup of coffee because well, I hate the stuff, it may be something that you enjoy every day because it makes you feel more awake due to all of the hours that you work.
Be that as it may, I think we can all be guilty of buying things on autopilot and not really thinking about whether we really need them or not in our lives – so I thought I would share with you some things that I have stopped buying, in the hope that it can inspire you to do the same, or see that you may not need the things you thought you couldn’t live without!
Highlights at an expensive hair salon
I can’t believe how much I used to spend on getting my hair highlighted, and for some reason, I used to get a full head of highlights every 6 weeks as well…
From memory (and I just quickly checked a local hair salon via Google) it used to cost me around £90. Every 6 weeks!!! Crazy. As with the makeup, I just can’t justify spending that much on myself so often. I now do one of two things:
- Get my hair done by a mobile hairdresser. She is lovely, very good and I enjoy her coming over to the house to do my hair – when I’m waiting for the highlights to get to work I can do things like the washing up (joy, but I need to get it done!).
I typically get just a t-section to keep on top of my roots and get a full head possibly once or twice a year.
This costs me about £35 which includes her travel to me as well – this also includes a wash and style but I usually just wash it off myself to save time.
- Get it done at a local college (photo below of after getting it done). I’m lucky in that I have a college that’s very close to where I live, and it’s mega cheap – for a full head of highlights, wash and style it costs £29.
Whenever I recommend getting hair done at a college it’s often met with apprehension – but there’s no need, because they may be trainees, but their teachers tell them which colours to use, and watch them apply it. If there was a problem, the teacher would correct it.
They also have a proper salon as well so if you like a salon experience, you will get exactly the same treatment and surroundings as you would in a normal salon.
Just to quickly mention as well, the cheapest I’ve ever had my hair done was by a trainee at a local hair salon where they charged me £15 in total for a full head of highlights – it would have been only £10 but they charged me a bit extra because my hair was so long so they had to use extra colour on it.
Expensive Makeup (mascara specifically)
I used to buy expensive mascara – about £20+ a pop (if you’re interested in which one, it’s a Dior one) – to be honest, it’s really good, smells nice too! I am a huge fan of mascara because I am the sort of person who wears more than is humanly possible – I’m all about the eyes.
It was always important to me to find the best mascara because I am very fussy – I don’t just like my eyelashes to be long, but thick as well. Because of this, I did a lot of ‘research’ into finding the best mascara for me and decided on the Dior one.
Now that I can no longer justify spending that much on mascara, I go for generally the cheapest ones I can find! I typically get them from Lidl or the Boots own brand range – they are only a few quid each.
I highly recommend the cheap makeup ranges, but you don’t need to just use them exclusively – rather you could mix them up with more expensive brands, which is what I do. I spend more on foundation, but I only wear it when I go ‘out out’ – I just put on plain old moisturiser for day to day on my face.
I also spend more on eyeshadows – my foundation and eyeshadows are from MAC. I’m lucky in that my mum usually buys me vouchers for my birthday or Christmas so I buy it all then.
This Rimmel mascara* is a good one to try out.
I now only use a couple of things for my skincare as well that are cheap and work brilliantly – this daily moisturiser* which is the only thing that works on my eczema, and this oil* for my face which I put on at night.
When my ex-husband was living with us, we had allll the channels – sports, extra sports, movies, entertainment package etc – so when he moved out and I needed to cut down on expenses, I decided to get rid of the sport and movies, but I left the entertainment package because of my daughter watching the kids channels – until I realised that it was costing me £40 just for that!
Looking at just that one part of the TV subscription that we had (£40) that equals to £480 a year that I am saving, and I can use that money for something more worthwhile.
A great alternative is Amazon Prime video – I’ve used it and love it!*
When you aren’t watching TV all the time, you can find a lot more time to concentrate on ways of making extra money that bring in more cash and bring a lot of joy as well.
Expensive clothes for my daughter
I’ll admit it, I got sucked into the Instagram trap for kids clothes etc, and it cost me quite a bit of money! I was following accounts where they clearly have a lot of money to burn, and got to thinking “why doesn’t my daughter deserve to also wear pretty clothes, have the cutest little toys and a magical looking bedroom?” – this lead me to putting stuff on the credit card!
I have paid off all of my debt now, and I wish I hadn’t added stuff like this in the first place.
There are loads of cute clothing companies out there but unfortunately, they cost a lot – head to your local Next and if you get an outfit for your child, it’s going to be in the 3 digit category easily.
I now stick to cheaper brands of clothing for her, especially as she is usually doing something that makes her grubby – eating, playing with her guinea pigs, painting, colouring, playing outside etc.
To be fair it does really help that she is in school now so she wears her uniform every day and only needs clothes for the weekends and school holidays.
There are lots of cheap clothing ranges available, and there are enough selling sites bursting with second-hand (or new) baby and kids clothes, such as Facebook Marketplace or Gumtree – and these are great for selling your kids old clothes etc on too.
If you still have things that you need to buy, it can be really helpful to earn free gift cards to allow you to do so – Swagbucks* is a great place to do that.
I LOVE spray tans – there’s no better feeling than looking tanned, but when you get it done professionally it looks amazing – really dark and even, much better than I could ever do myself.
If you get it done in a salon, you’re looking at £30 minimum, but I used to get a mobile spray tanner to come to my house (so I didn’t have to get dressed after!) and it was also cheaper at £19 a time.
It helps that I hardly ever go out anymore…but I’ve stopped having spray tans.
I actually got bought a spray tan machine* for Christmas, so I can still have one but obviously have to buy the tan solution…however I need someone to do it for me, may have to teach my daughter how to do it!
I still like being tanned (I’m very fair skinned and it doesn’t suit me), so I do my own fake tanning using St Moritz (very cheap) or if I want to be really dark I’ll splash out on something like St Tropez*, but as I said, I don’t wear much of it, so it doesn’t cost me much at all.
Expensive toys for my daughter
I really don’t want to spoil her so this helps me to not spend loads, but it can be hard when all she wants is the new latest thing (at the moment it’s those L.O.L. surprise dolls* which are £10 each!).
Any parent will tell you, it doesn’t matter what you buy them, they will probably spend more time playing with the cardboard box that it comes in.
Now when I need to get her toys (for her birthday or Christmas for example), I head on down to the local car boot sale – in the past I’ve got a mixture of brand new or second hand but in good condition toys, and she doesn’t care that they may not be in their original packaging. I can get a bunch of toys for a few quid and therefore get her more than I would be able to normally.
Big fan of desserts in this house, and it’s tempting to spend a lot of money on them, but this really does add up quickly (I just love them so much!!).
Luckily, there is an easy way around this which is to make my own desserts (or I could eat less, but that’s madness!).
There are lots of nice frugal recipes out there – my speciality is apple crumble! There are other things that I make such as cookies, cupcakes, sponge puddings, cake…the list goes on!
I’ve been saving money on our shopping by using cashback apps as well, such as:
- Quidco ClickSnap
- Top Cashback Snap & Save
- Green Jinn
If you want to save more money on the food that you are buying, you should check out $5 meal plan*, where you can get meal plans sent to you to take the stress out of meal prep!
Ok, I know that I can’t be the only female guilty of this…tons and tons of toiletries – made up of body lotions, bubble bath etc etc…the pile grows bigger and bigger every year and I think that’s because we buy ourselves stuff, and then we get gifted various items at Christmas and birthdays too, so we don’t use it all up!
As I’m trying to not spend any money, I have not been buying any new toiletries – just using up what I already have, so I haven’t bought anything in a really long time. It does help that I’m very lazy and forget to moisturise sometimes!
Toiletries always sell really well at places like car boot sales or on selling sites, so it’s worth taking along any new ones that you don’t think you’ll use – and also you can see that you can buy them really cheaply at car boot sales etc if you do need to get some!
Drinks on nights out
Back when I had no money, I cut out every single expense, which I now know was a mistake – because it meant spending nothing on myself and being really lonely.
I enjoy going out with my friends and love dancing…music…being around people – but I was spending a lot of money on nights out in the form of new outfits, drinks, club entry and taxis – this adds up to an expensive night out.
The best way that I have found to save on drinks on nights out (as well as everything else) is to not drink at all but to drive in instead.
Driving means that I can save on two taxi journeys (they are about £25 – £30 each), I don’t drink which saves loads, and I can usually find free parking, which means I only have to pay a little bit for club entry unless my friends pay for me cause I’ve given them a lift.
Lots of people say that they couldn’t go out without drinking, and I must admit it’s not as fun – but you don’t get the dreaded hangover the next day, you can leave whenever you like (due to having the car there), but you still get to see your friends and have a good time.
I would recommend it to everyone, but it may take a few times of going out to get you used to it.
Brand new outfits on nights out
I’ve shared a few times my nights out on Instagram, see below:
You’ll see from the photos (may want to head over to my Instagram to check them out properly and also read all of the comments from people), that I have also shared other ways in which I’ve saved on nights out.
In the photo on the left, that whole outfit – apart from the ankle boots – are clothes that I have borrowed from my friend – free outfit! Got lots of compliments on that outfit and didn’t have to spend a thing, thanks to my lovely friend. She’s a bit taller than me but we made it work!
In the photo on the right, is an outfit that I bought on eBay for about £5. It’s from a brand called Oh Polly – if you know them, you know that they are quite expensive by high street standards, but are really good quality and have great styles as well.
As is the way these days, most people aren’t caught dead in a particular outfit more than once, so what is the point in spending loads if you are only going to wear it one time and then leave it hung up in the wardrobe?
I tend to usually buy my night out clothes on eBay – either brand new or second hand (the red dress was brand new with tags), but if you aren’t sure about buying second-hand clothes, just think – they have probably only worn it once!
This saves me a ton of money and my friends always ask me how much my outfit was because they are always gobsmacked!
What have you stopped buying to save money?
If you’d like a savings tracker like my completed one below, sign up to the Free Resource Library to get access to download it, and other fab free printables.
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- Start a blog with Siteground! This can start off as a fun side hustle, and have the potential to turn into a huge full time income (which is still fun!). Yes, you CAN make money blogging, and it’s the best thing that I ever did. To get started, read my post How To Start a Blog.
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- Mystery Shopping – I always thought these were a scam or a pain to do, until I got started! Since then, the free food and other items (e.g. clothes for me and my daughter) have convinced me otherwise! My favourite legit sites are rounded up for you here.
I’ve stopped buying magazines. I borrow friends Nd recycle. I get my fill if I have a gp or dentist appointment lol
That’s a fab idea! I don’t read magazines anymore, I just want to buy everything in there otherwise lol
interesting point of view, from I have budgetto stick I plan also coffe at cafe, dining out and book, for makeup and dresses I’m good for me is a little bit more complicated to resist to new books and office supplies (hello flying tiger)…but little change, small steps big results in long ways:D
Great post! I could really cut back on most of these too. I love the alternatives you’ve recommended so we don’t have to totally go without! I’ve never done the college salon treatments but this year I’ll give it a go. The students are all supervised so I can’t imagine it could go too wrong!
People get so nervous about college hairdressers but I’ve never known of there being a problem! I am dead fussy about my hair too 🙂
I love this article!! I honestly have to stop myself from buying nice new make up every month, it’s so much fun and so easy to spend a ton without blinking an eye! (My mom uses the Dior mascara – it’s so nice.) This is a really good reminder to cut out the unnecessary things – thanks! x
Definitely easy to do – thanks 🙂
I am (weirdly) proud to say I’ve actually never bought any of the items on your list, except for drinks. I so rarely wear makeup, not a big fan of clothes or toiletries (except for nice smelling soaps and shampoo. guilty!) and I usually buy a few clothes if they’re on sale.
Drinks, however, are a whole different story. But at least I can say I don’t really go out that often anyway..
I consider myself lucky to be this frugal, although many think it’s weird 😀
Haha fair enough! We all spend differently 🙂
A good list. Thing is, when I had to cut down (when we were in debt and started paying it off) I mad sure that I kept some things. You see, I have this belief that when it comes to money management we focus on the wrong thing: we focus on learning how to save when the mastery is to learn how to spend (a bit like eating – we don’t learn to diet, we learn to eat properly). What I kept was chasing marathons (cheap long distance running is a bit of a myth) and my expensive haircuts. Oh, and expensive perfume – I work on smell. Bottom line: cutting out is important but make sure to keep in your budget few luxuries you really enjoy.
I agree! I think cutting out/down on certain things can cause you to re-evaluate what’s truly important to you, and help you to realise that perhaps you DO need to spend money on something for your happiness, whereas in another area you may be perfectly fine without that thing that you thought you couldn’t live without previously 🙂
I’ve stopped buying bags, argh!
Brilliant Article. I cut right back on the supermarket shop, changed brands to the Supermarket brands etc and saved loads. Thanks for the tips – Really helpful.