In my quest to buy less and save more, there’s 10 things I’ve found that I can either live without or replace with something free/recycled/repurposed:
1. Salad Dressing– It can be difficult to find a dressing that isn’t expensive, yet doesn’t have preservatives, artificial colors and flavors, unpronounceable ingredients, etc. In the past, a bottle of dressing would get opened and then sit half used in the fridge until it was past its “use by” date. My goal is to make dressing as needed using basic ingredients I already have like olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and lemon juice.
2. Movie Tickets– I lived in a city where movie tickets were $15 each and the parking for the theater could be up to $20. While it’s less expensive to go see a movie where I currently live, I’ve gotten in the habit of waiting for the latest movie to come to Redbox so I can pay $2.14 for the same thing. To me, there’s not much allure to seeing most comedy/romantic/inspirational movies in a theater- my couch is more comfortable and no one’s charging me $7 for greasy popcorn. The occasional exception to this is when a blockbuster sci-fi movie comes out that is kinda cooler to see on a 50 ft. screen.
3. Nail Polish- Painting my own nails is a tedious process, so I don’t paint them that often. I realized I love all the colors when they are on the store shelves, but I only really wear a small handful of colors. Minimalizing my beauty supplies has been a great way to improve my skin and my bank account!
4. Dryer Sheets- The fragrance in these was irritating, and I read that they actually cause the fibers in your clothes to break down over time (hence, the softness). I bought reusable dryer balls instead, and haven’t noticed a difference.
5. Small Trash Bags- I reuse plastic grocery bags for trashcan liners instead.
6. Cat Toys- I realized my cats’ favorite toys were my hair ties that get dropped on the floor. They mostly ignore their little plastic jingle balls in favor of stalking and capturing hair ties.
7. Recipe Books- I had several of all sizes that mostly sat unused on a bookshelf. I realized there were several reasons for this: some didn’t have any pictures or serving sizes to go with the recipes, which made it unlikely that I’d try them, some were full of recipes that needed uncommon ingredients that were hard to find, some were designed for someone with much more advanced cooking skills than what I had. Pinterest and blogs are a more convenient (and free!) way for me to find new recipes, and bookmarking things doesn’t take up the physical space that all the cookbooks did.
8. Contact Lenses- I had these for awhile, but I knew for me, they were more of a “want” than a “need.” I see better in glasses, and I don’t wake up with my eyes dried out from when I forgot to take out my contacts. Buying glasses once and updating the lenses every few years saves money over buying contacts every six months. Check out my post on America’s Best to save money on eye exams.
9. Assorted Juices, Sodas, Milks, Sports Drinks, etc.- Unless there’s a good deal at the store, we drink water 80% of the time, only buying OJ to take vitamins with (it really helps mask the bitter taste) and root beer for my husband.
10. Weekly To-Go Coffee- I used to work a job that went late into the evening, so a 2pm coffee run was essential to making it through the rest of the night. I got into the habit of buying afternoon coffee 3-4 times a week- while I bought the cheapest possible at about $2 a cup, it still added up. I now buy coffee from Starbucks very occasionally, and use a Keurig instead (since even a small 4-cup coffee pot is too big for me). Besides coffee, I use it to heat a small amount of water and add my own hot chocolate powder or tea bags for tea (cheaper than buying the pods usually), or use the 6-8oz hot water setting for a single serving of oatmeal or instant soup!
11. Music Downloads- Ok, so this list actually has 11 items. With free apps like Spotify and Pandora, and websites like YouTube, I can pretty much find any song I want and play it for free.
What are some of the items that you no longer buy, and why? Comment below!
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