20 Things to Stop Buying to Save Money (and the Environment)

20 Things to Stop Buying to Save Money (and the Environment)

I am always on the look out for things to stop buying to save money, as the cost of living gets higher every year in the UK. 

I have written this post, hopefully as we are reaching the end of the Covid-19 lockdown, but during this time I have had the opportunity to re-evaluate what’s essential for my family.  As our lifestyle was forced to change and slow down, it really helped us to focus on what’s important, and save money on the excess.

In this post, I want to share with you the things we stopped buying to save money. I hope this can help you to assess, and save money for your family too. 

And the by product from doing this? – It’s good for the environment too. 

So without further ado, here are 20 things to stop buying to save money UK (and the environment)

TV Packages

Are you and your family spending way too much time watching TV? Do you feel you need to watch all these programs just to get your value for money?

My family was guilty of this. 

At one point, we have a Virgin package including broadband, movies, sports and kids TV, Netflix, and Amazon Prime all at the same time which cost us over £120 a month.

When we sat down and worked out what are the essential needs – a high speed internet (£30 per month) and Netflix (£9 per month), we were able to save £80 per month! 

So now instead of watching TV after dinner, we go for walks as a family, which is a much healthier and an inexpensive way to spend quality time together. 

Magazine Subscriptions

Are you still getting those glossy magazines through the door on a regular basis? How often do you flip through a few pages and let it sit on the coffee table for months before it ends up in the recycling? 

If that’s the case, magazine subscription is definitely an item you can eliminate to save money and be better for the environment. 

With the way we consume information these days, you can easily find the content of your interest online. In particular, if you love magazines because of the pictures and graphics, use Pinterest instead.

Pinterest is a great visual search engine platform. Pin a few things of your interest, and you will start getting a plethora of related content right to your phone. 

For any money saving tips, you can follow me on Pinterest >> HERE << 

Fastfood

Stop buying fast food for the convenience!

I get it, you open the fridge 10min. before dinner and there are not enough ingredients to whip up a meal to feed a family of 4. The easy option will be to head to McDonald’s.

While it’s much cheaper than a proper restaurant, this can still quickly eat up a big whole in your wallet.

Instead, get meal planning. This will save you so much money rather than simply buying fast food for convenience, and way way healthier for the family.

Gym Membership

The Gym is a huge part of our family life and we would have said this was essential. 

But when it was taken away from us due to COVID-19, we realised that we can “survive” by finding other inexpensive ways to keep the family active.

We invested in some home gym equipment, go on frequent bike rides, and play games in the garden. Recently, I encouraged my 7 year old to go for short runs with me, and we’ve both enjoyed the one-to-one time we spend together. 

I know living in the UK, outside activities are not always possible, especially during the winter. But with the money you saved from ditching the Gym membership, you can invest in a treadmill or a spinning bike to get you through those dark rainy days. 

There are also plenty of home workout videos available on YouTube that you can follow for FREE. 

Coffee from the Coffee Shop

things to stop buying to save money - coffee

Not going to lie, this one is REALLY hard for our family, but we are working on it. 

Both my husband and I LOVE Starbucks coffee. We got to a point where we made several trips a week to Starbucks.

When we finally did the math on how much we spent on Starbucks a month, and multiplied for the year, it was a shocking £972! 

So now instead, we treat ourselves to Starbucks once a week. For the rest of the week, we get nice coffee and make it at home. 

Buying Lunch at Work

If you are still buying lunch at work, this is another area that you can potentially save big over time. 

Do you know on average Brits spend £6.08/day eating lunch? However, a packed lunch can be as little as £1. 

That’s £1350 saved a year. 

So next time when you cook dinner, make an extra portion, so you can pack it for lunch the next day. 

Buying Without Cashback

When you are purchasing online, always try to get cash back. 

How? 

By using cashback sites. A few popular sites are TopCashBackQuidco, and Ohmydosh, together they cover thousands of retailers.

On average, we save £200 a year with cashback on various things we buy online. 

So be sure you log in to those sites before making your next purchase, collecting cash back while you are spending. 

Bottled Water

things to stop buying to save money - bottled water

Buying bottled water on a regular basis is a complete waste of money and bad for the environment.

Do you know…

  • It’s estimated that for a family of 4, you can save £967 switching from buying bottled water to drinking straight from your tap. 
  • It also takes 2000 times more energy to make a bottle of water than produce the same amount of tap water.
  • For every single plastic bottle, it takes 1000 years to decompose. 

If you don’t like the taste of tap water, invest in a good filter and stainless steel water bottles for the family. By doing this, you are not only saving money but also the environment.  

Hard Copy Books

Stop buying hard copy books. Especially those fiction books you read on holiday, and Children’s story books. 

I get it. There’s something nice about flipping through an actual book, but to save money, you can get a FREE library card instead. Not only will you save money, but think of the space you can save as well…

Pre-packaged & Pre-prepared Food

Are you paying for convenience when it comes to food items? I’m talking about those pre cut carrots, pineapples, bags of salad. They cost significantly more than the ones you prepare at home. 

While these items don’t cost much at the time, but it can easily add up if you buy them regularly.  

In addition, buying less pre-packaged food also reduces the plastic waste for the environment. 

Ramdon House Decor

Another category of things to stop buying to save money are those cute house decors. 

I use to visit TK Maxx and Home Sense on a regular basis. 

Most of the time, I walk in with nothing i need to buy, but come out with a few random cushions or candles for the house. On an extreme occasion, I decided that a huge £100 wall mirror was just the thing we need for the house. 3 years later, it’s still collecting dust in our garage. 

So the moral of the story here is that, unless you are looking for something specific and have a place for it, don’t just buy things cos they are cute… You will be happy knowing how much money you saved once you change this habit. 

Haircut

I am writing this post during the COVID-19 lockdown. So by now, you too probably have already discovered your hidden talent of being a hair dresser. 

While I’ve always trimmed my girls’s hair, cutting my husband’s was one (area) that we both were unwilling to explore before the lockdown. But when my husband had to choose between growing into something resembling a mushroom or an unpolished COVID cut, all of sudden, the choice was obvious. 

As out of my comfort zone as I was, after a couple of hair cuts, the cut got better and I got faster. My husband is even threatening that he is no longer going back to his hair dresser! 

As hesitant as I was, I just couldn’t refuse a £180 saving a year. 

Greeting Cards

I don’t know how Hallmark created this greeting card culture, that makes people spend a fortune on cards from birthdays to Christmas and every occasion in between every year… this is particularly an issue in the UK. 

This came to an end for me last year, when I walked out of cardfactory with £15 worth of cards for fathers’ day. While it’s a great gesture, these cards have a life of 2 days before they end up in the recycling bin. 

I just don’t see the point! 

So I made the unpopular announcement to our extended family and friends, we will be no longer giving out traditional cards on any occasion. Instead, we buy a dozen £1 lottery cards and give them away for any birthdays or occasions.

When many of them won a small prize from the lottery card they received, all of sudden, they don’t seem to mind for not having the traditional card anymore. 

Gift Wrapping Paper

Reduce the usage on gift wrapping paper. 

I will be honest, we are still working on this category of things to stop buying to not just save money but reduce the waste.  

My heart bleeds every Christmas after spending the entire evening wrapping up presents with rolls of wrapping paper, which get torn up in 5 seconds and go straight to the recycling bin… 

It’s just such a waste of money and resources… 

While I still don’t know what is the perfect alternative solution, I make an effort to save all the gift bags we receive and reuse them to give to others. 

Showering Kids with Toys 

Stop showering your children with toys for birthdays and Christmas. Not only this will save you money, but more importantly, this is a great way to teach them the value of money. 

This is another unconventional approach I took with my oldest daughter when she turned 5. Rather than getting 20+ small presents from her friends for her birthday party, we explained on her invitation that she had been saving money for a climbing frame in the gardern, and asked if her friends could make donations towards her climbing frame instead of buying her a present. 

At the end, she learned how to save for something she really wanted, and I avoided having to find space for 20+ small toys in our house. 

That is a win-win in my book. 

Fast Fashion

Fast fashion is a category of things to stop buying not only to save your money but also to save our environment.  

If you haven’t heard the term Fast Fashion – it is a modern term that describes the type of clothing that moves quickly from the runway to the store. It is on trend at an affordable price. 

So what’s the problem with Fast Fashion? 

Because it’s so affordable (often not well made), buying a few pieces of clothes for under £100 becomes a monthly habit. This quickly adds up to a big expense.

The clothing industry is the 2nd largest polluter in the world. By being a fast fashion consumer, we are creating demand for the industry to make quick and cheap clothes that is toxic to the environment.

So Instead, next time you purchase a piece of clothing, think quality over quantity, versatility  vs. single use. Don’t buy it just because it’s cheap. 

Upgrading Your Mobile

If you want to save money, stop getting the latest and greatest iPhones. When your mobile contract comes to an end, this is the perfect opportunity for the mobile company to sell you the latest phone and upgrade the plan. 

Instead, use the opportunity to ask for your usage profile and negotiate a lower monthly rate with the current carrier. The fact that you are at the end of the contract gives you an upper hand get the best deal. 

Extended Warranty for Electronics

Stop buying extended warranties on your electronics can be another way to save money. 

You need to decide what risk you are willing to take on what is basically insurance, but you can shop around to make this decision easier.  

As an example when buying a TV for £1000 you want some added protection, so rather than paying for an extended warranty, buy from somewhere like John Lewis.  They often match the price of other leading stores, give you a 5 year warranty and will deliver your shiny new TV (this is what we did).  

On the other hand a £300 tumble dryer doesn’t come with the same deal, so for added protection you would need to pay around £5 a month, £60 a year, for me this is not worth it, so here I will take the risk.

Souvenirs

Here are another set of things to stop buying to save money – Souvenirs, not just for yourself but others too! 

How many times have you bought a piece of holiday back and realised it doesn’t fit anywhere in your house. 

So next time when you want to buy a memento from the lovely holiday you just had, rather than spending money on souvenirs (aka overpriced $hit no one needs), take some photos instead. 

Just cause they are on sale… 

Stop buying things just cause they are on sale! 

Do you know that shops are constantly putting things on sale? – it’s called marketing strategy people. 

By putting on a sale and with an end date, it makes you visit the site and creates the urgency for you to buy $hit that you don’t need. 

So if you are on those mailing lists where you get an email every time there is a sale, hit that unsubscribe button. 

Your wallet will thank you for it.

Final thoughts on Things to Top Buying to Save Money… 

There is always a positive side of everything, even from a global pandemic.  For our family, it saved us tons of money by simply not having access to them, but more importantly, it made us re-evaluate our regular spending in life. 

I hope this list of 20 things to stop buying to save money helps you to eliminate the excess in your life and only focus on what’s really important. 

Once you start to look at where your money goes, you will find your opportunities.

There is an even bigger calling here…

You are also saving the environment by reducing your excess, waste, and footprint. 

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Savannah Rose

    I use to make a Starbucks trip everyday too! It was such a bad habit and I spent a lot of money. I bought an espresso machine so I can stop buying coffee, which limited my Starbucks trip to also about a week. But since the lockdown, I haven’t bought coffee at all!

    All great tips! Mindlessly buying products does hurt the pocket but most importantly the environment.

    1. Chloe

      Investing in a good espresso machine is a great way to save money on coffee for the long run. The lockdown certainly forced us to save a lot of money =)

  2. Brenda

    These are some really great cost-saving tips! Thankfully, there are several that I already swear by!! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Chloe

      Sounds like you are on the right track! Hope you learned a couple of new ones too =)

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