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How To Stop Wasting Money

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how to stop wasting money

Have you ever felt like there’s too much stuff that you don’t have? For many people, there’s always some vital item or product that they must have. Sometimes, it’s an essential part of their lives, like clean water and electricity. In other cases, it might be more important to them than it is to you, like makeup or digital watches.

That said, there are times when people think they have to buy something that doesn’t matter at all. Sometimes, the pressure is more about keeping appearances than it is about necessity. If you want to know how to stop wasting money, here are nine things that you should reconsider buying.

What should I avoid spending on?

1. Bottled water

You see it in every store and supermarket in the country. There are options that range from 100mL to 1L or more. In any case, you can find so many water bottles available in your local area. In some cases, like remote countries or desert lands, they might be much harder to come by. However, in general, you’re likely to see a bottle of water ready to be bought. Sometimes, you can even see bottles that come from the Alps or other exotic areas.

how to stop wasting money on water bottle

Why it’s not worth it

So, this might sound controversial but I think that bottled water is not as useful as it seems. As said before, in remote areas or places with drought, bottled water is a necessity. In those cases, it’s essential to have a place to get bottled water, especially if the main source has dried up or is not sanitary.

That said, bottled water in general isn’t that much different from tap water. While they may go through different filtering methods, both types likely come from the same source. However, bottled water ends up using more plastic and costing more money than an average water filter. By buying different types, whether a small bottle or a large gallon, you end up spending a lot and harming the environment.

What should I buy instead?

If you want to know how to stop wasting money on water, get yourself a water filter instead. By using it on your sink or faucet, you can instantly get a refreshing drink. Plus, with a filter, you’ll minimize the amount of plastic you buy and throw away. You end up helping the environment and you avoid wasting a lot of money to get some water.

2. Expensive food and drinks

Are you the type of person who enjoys stepping out and buying a delicious meal? Do you frequently go dining with friends or family at a fancy restaurant? If so, you might be spending a lot of money on getting high-priced food and drink. You might be the one who likes having a delicious steak or a set course from places with Michelin stars.

Why it’s not worth it

Before I explain what’s wrong with this habit, let me clarify what this tip means. I’m not suggesting that you act like a miser and avoid going out altogether. Enjoying a nice meal and splurging your cash on something delicious and fancy isn’t bad at all. In fact, when done occasionally, it can be a refreshing gift for your day-to-day efforts!

However, note the word occasionally. If you get your treats once in a while, that’s good and healthy. If you keep going out and buying fancy meals every week, that’s excessive. Not every dinner has to be a medium-rare steak with wine or champagne. Plus, if you constantly eat high-priced food, do you think you’ll appreciate it as much? I sincerely doubt that a weekly is as effective as a rare reward.

What should I buy instead?

To know how to stop wasting money on expensive food and drink, you need to understand your habits. How do you prepare your meals or meal options every day? Do you go with the flow and buy what’s nearby? If so, you might be buying expensive meals because you need a ready and filling option.

Save yourself the hassle by trying out meal prep routines. Meal prep allows you to store up a weekly or monthly supply of ready-to-eat food. You can use microwavable containers to preserve these meals until it’s time to eat. Plus, with meal prep, you can also plan what food you eat and how much you take. It’s a good way to control your diet, your consumption, and your eating habits in one go.

For drinks, it’s better to stick with water and avoid the fancy beverages that waiters or fast food chains recommend. Yes, having a casual sip of beer or soda isn’t bad. That said, you don’t need to drink all your calories down. Unless it’s a special occasion, restrain yourself from grabbing a fancy drink next time. Not only does this protect your health, but it also improves your savings.

3. Cosmetic products

People might not like this suggestion, but let’s carefully examine how cosmetic products work. Ideally, cosmetic products help you look fresh and vibrant whenever applied. Things like lotions, moisturizers, and even lip gloss can upgrade your look to be more professional and appealing. Whether you need this for a date night or an office presentation, cosmetic products do help keep appearances–sometimes literally.

how to stop wasting money on cosmetics

Why it’s not worth it

Knowing how to stop wasting money means knowing what makes the product unnecessary. In this case, cosmetic items are usually marketed as the most important part of your wardrobe. Things like colognes and facial creams get treated like a cure-all for any scenario. 

However, many of these things use oils and other natural ingredients that you can get elsewhere. In addition, some of the chemicals used can harm your body more than you expect. Of course, not every brand is dangerous and sticking to one or two can help you minimize your spending. However, if you buy several pieces of lipstick or oils from different stores, you only put your money in danger.

What should I buy instead?

Solving the need for cosmetic products can be as simple as sticking to one option. If you buy a lotion or a lipstick, use that as often and as consistently as you can. By sticking to one product or item at a time, you can make the most of it before expiration.

For example, if you have a body lotion gifted from a relative, think about using it whenever you go to work. It’s better to use it now than to let it rest in a cabinet. Keep in mind to consult a dermatologist before you use unfamiliar products, though. The last thing you want is to consistently use a lotion that irritates your skin.

4. Addictives

Addictives are items that feed an addiction or craving in your lifestyle. Common examples include cigarettes, coffee drinks, and alcoholic drinks. Even snacks or beauty products can be addictive when people become obsessed with them.

how to stop wasting money on alcoholic drinks

Why it’s not worth it

Unlike the other examples, I think that an occasional smoke or coffee drink should not even be considered. The reason why I actively avoid coffee, even if I get judged or ridiculed by people, is because I know that it’ll start an addiction. I know that as soon as I get one, I’ll start wanting to spend more. Sometimes, the simplest trick to self-control is to avoid the vice altogether. So before you go and drink that cup of joe, stop for a second and ask yourself if you can say no.

What should I buy instead?

While I don’t advocate buying these items, I understand that people have different lifestyles. Some have been smoking for years, and others have lived comfortably with coffee or alcohol. Instead of changing your lifestyle, I’d recommend limiting it and the expenses it brings. There are ways to make these items less addicting and more affordable in your life.

For example, if you enjoy coffee, think of how you get it. Do you go to a high-priced establishment to buy a $5 cup to start the day? If so, have you considered getting your own coffee machine or buying a smaller, cheaper alternative? Sure, it might not taste the same but it can still feed what you need. Plus, if you want to break out of the habit, reducing your intake of coffee or other addictives can help you curb the habit immediately. Sometime, the best way to learn how to stop wasting money is to take small portions or pieces out.

5. Vitamins and supplements

For many people, tablets of Vitamin C, D, and other kinds are what they need to function in life. In those cases, I completely understand their medical importance. What confuses me is when people go and use these tablets as cure-alls for their problems. It’s different if someone needs Vitamin D tablets to sustain their body compared to somoene who drinks them because they don’t go out of the house often.

how to stop wasting money on vitamins

Why it’s not worth it

If history has taught us humans anything, it’s that those who don’t learn are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. We’ve spent years calling different things as cure-alls, especially vitamin tablets and supplements. The fact is that it’s not going to be effective for everyone. Like any good medicine, these things must be taken for the right reasons and the right problems.

For example, if you drink Vitamin C because you don’t eat a healthy diet, is that really the answer you need? It might fix your vitamin deficiency but it won’t change your life or improve your health. In fact, it could become a dangerous addiction that causes illness or pain.

What should I buy instead?

Look at the reason for these vitamins first to know how to stop wasting your money. You have to learn what makes them so important. For example, Vitamin C can boost your body’s ability to fight against infections and heal from wounds. If that’s the case, is a supplement enough? You’d be surprised how a good diet, one with vegetables and fruits, can actually fill your Vitamin C needs.

6. Branded clothes

By themselves, branded clothes can be a big fashion statement. Items from Gucci, Prada, and other famous names are as stylish as they are comfortable. In many cases, people want to join the trend and feel special or confident. That’s why it’s hard to explain how to stop wasting your money if you only care about a good wardrobe.

how to stop wasting money on branded clothes

Why it’s not worth it

If history has taught us humans anything, it’s that those who don’t learn are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. We’ve spent years calling different things as cure-alls, especially vitamin tablets and supplements. The fact is that it’s not going to be effective for everyone. Like any good medicine, these things must be taken for the right reasons and the right problems.

What should I buy instead?

Remember that song “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis? In the song, the duo explore a thrift shop to find different clothes, from fur coats to pajamas, for a quick and affordable buy. Interestingly, this approach isn’t as silly as it sounds. A thrift store can carry multiple types of clothing, some in good condition and ready for a new owner. So before you bust your wallet at the Gucci store, check the thrift shop to see what’s available. It’s more fun to learn how to stop wasting money when you find cheaper options elsewhere.

In addition, you can always go and borrow or rent clothes for special occasions. You don’t need to make a custom tuxedo for a wedding, especially when you don’t plan on attending several in a year.

7. Jewelry

In the past, I would say I was a fanatic for jewelry, specifically watches. It makes sense why people like them, too. Whether it’s earrings or bracelets, a good piece of jewelry adds style and finesse. Like a good Gucci suit, it can make you stand out and look like a confident and classy individual.

how to stop wasting money on jewelry

Why it’s not worth it

Think of jewelry like a good Gucci suit to know how to stop wasting your money. While good earrings or watches are useful, how often will you wear them? I soon learned that no matter how many Rolexes or Breitlings I bought, I could only use one at a time. In that sense, why should I go and buy tens or hundreds if I can only enjoy one?

What should I buy instead?

Looks can be good, but efficiency is king. If you want to make the most of your jewelry, look for something that fits your style and needs. For example, buying a set of earrings that can mix and match with your entire wardrobe is a big win. Looking for items that can fit most, if not all, of your clothes is a big win.

In my case, I shifted away from fancy watches to go with a smartwatch. Not only does it feel comfortable, but it does a lot more than tell time. Sure, a Rolex looks beautiful and snazzy. However, a smartwatch can tell me my heartbeat, alert me of incoming messages, and even keep track of the weather. Doesn’t that sound more useful and effective?

8. Tech items and equipment

Whether you need a new phone or a set of items for a YouTube channel, buying the latest tech is a common habit. People like to go and buy the latest model of their iPhone or smartphone, sometimes with no other reason than to keep up with trends. Others might buy apps or programs because it looks fun or interesting, even though they have something that works. For instance, a graphic designer might buy a laptop with Windows 11 even if they have one that uses Windows 10.

how to stop wasting money on gadgets

Why it’s not worth it

As with fashion or food, not every trend or update is as essential as you think. You might not know how to stop wasting your money because you care about the newest toy. The truth is that technology of all kinds can be useful. In many cases, your laptop can last for a decade, even if it doesn’t have the newest graphics card or storage drive. Ultimately, there’s a fine line between useful and trendy. Knowing the difference can help you spare some cash.

What should I buy instead?

Always look at each product first to see which one aligns with your needs. If you have an old laptop that doesn’t run well, then getting a new one is important. However, it’s not just about buying the latest item. Think carefully about your life and what you need to focus on first. If you want to know how to stop wasting money, remember to focus on what works best. Expensive doesn’t always mean worthwhile.

For example, you might be a computer programmer or a visual effects designer. If that’s the case, then getting a laptop with good RAM and updated software is necessary. After all, it’ll help you do your job better and faster. On the other hand, if you want a laptop to play games in your downtime, you don’t need to get a supercomputer.

9. Cars and other vehicles

If you want to know how to stop wasting your money, people might recommend buying a car or some other kind of vehicle. Having your own transportation sounds like an easy win. It allows you to go anywhere in the city or region. You can control how much gas or battery is needed. Most importantly, you can control how often you leave. For many people, a good vehicle is a vital investment in life.

Why it’s not worth it

To clarify, buying a car can be an incredibly useful and worthwhile investment. That said, like all the previous suggestions, the main concern is how it fits into your life. Someone who constantly travels to work or has to go to different areas of the state will definitely need a good car.

However, that’s not the same case for someone who works mostly at home or walks to the office. Again, a car can be a good purchase if it meets your needs. If it’s only useful on occasion, you’d only be wasting hundreds of dollars in maintenance and monthly fixtures.

What should I buy instead?

If you want to learn how to stop wasting money, think about renting or borrowing. Sometimes, the simplest solution is to go renting a vehicle when necessary. If you have to go out of the state, a rental car can help. You could also explore public transport options, like trains or taxis. Lastly, if you want something healthier and quicker, you can always secure a bike or go walking to your destination. Sometimes, the best answer is using your own human power. 

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