Cutting out these things helped me save huge amounts of money. You may think a few of these things are “must-haves”–I did too at one naive, materialistic point in my life. That was before I started realizing what little value these things actually provided.
- Apparel: clothes, shoes, jewelry – estimated yearly savings : $1098
The reason why I stopped buying this stuff is simple: I had too much of it. My closets were stuffed with clothes I rarely wore or even forgot I owned. Shoes are the worst for taking up space. You can’t fold them neatly or store them away discretely. And jewelry boxes/storage units took up so much space for pieces that were collecting dust.
When I became a minimalist, this was my first big project. I went through every piece of clothing, shoe, and jewelry trying to assess its value. I came up with a simple rule: if I hadn’t worn it in over a year, it has to go. HAS TO. No excuses.
Getting rid of all that stuff cleared up a ton of space, both in my home and in my head. Seriously, decluttering is so therapeutic. Owning a lot of stuff may seem fun and convenient, but it’s really not. If anything, so much time and effort is wasted trying to decide what outfit you’re going to wear, whether or not this colour clashes with that colour … blah blah. And then there’s the buying of things because you forgot you already owned a version of it! I’ve done this too many times to count.
Now, if I buy apparel, my approach is to only buy what I need, not because it looks pretty on the mannequin. I buy it because it will serve a purpose and be used, not just to “treat” myself. At the end of the day, no one cares about your huge closet but yourself.
2. Alcohol: wine, beer – estimated yearly savings : $720
One thing I realized as I got older: getting drunk is no longer fun.
It kind of sucks.
I used to be able to drink A LOT and be functional the next day. Now, just a few glasses of wine is enough to RUIN me the next morning. I don’t know about you, but I like mornings when I feel refreshed and energized for the day, not mornings when I feel like death.
I’ve also stopped ordering alcohol in restaurants and just opted for water. Not drinking doesn’t hinder the restaurant experience at all. And plus, water’s much healthier for you.
3. Takeout/Fast Food: lunches at work – estimated yearly savings : $2688
Cutting this out will save you the most money in the course of a year. After a month of tracking expenses, I was SHOCKED to find out I’d spent $160 on take-out lunches at work. This is absolutely ridiculous. I tried to remember the amazing feeling I had when I ate those lunches and couldn’t exactly relive them. Why? Because the lunches were amazing for only the fleeting time spent eating them. After a few hours, your body gets hungry again and totally forgets that euphoric feeling.
I’m trying to apply this concept with my minimalism. If a thing or experience I’m buying will only cause a fleeting moment of joy without benefitting me in the long run, I shouldn’t be spending money on it. It’s just not worth it.
4. Fancy Moisturizer – estimated yearly savings : $264
I was IN LOVE with Ole Henriksen’s moisturizer “Sheer Transformation”. I repurchased this tub about 3 times at about 66 bucks a tub. When the last one emptied, I got really lazy about buying another one, so I just decided to use the coconut oil in my fridge.
After a few weeks of using it… I have to say there seems to be no difference. If anything, my skin looks even better. This both infuriated and amazed me. Infuriated because I’d wished I realized sooner and saved myself a ton of money. I was amazed for obvious reasons.
Fancy beauty supplies in general are a huge money drain. I’m starting to realize that eating healthy, drinking tons of water, and being a happy human being does more for my beauty than any “truth serum” will.
5. Beauty Services: nails, hair, eyelashes – estimated yearly savings : $420
I went through this phase where I had to look POLISHED, so I got my nails manicured every month with shellac, got my hair cut at fancy salons, and even got eyelash extensions. Thankfully, I snapped out of it and have since saved huge avoiding the trap that are beauty services.
The thing is, you great once you get them, but the maintenance aspect is so draining financially. It takes up huge amounts of time and effort too: scheduling the appointments, going to the appointments, the awkward banter you have to go through with your manicurist, hair stylist, waxer… whoever at the appointments. Who has time for that? I didn’t… and have enjoyed a much simpler and carefree life because of it.
6. Sugary Snacks: cookies, ice cream – estimated yearly savings : $200
This one’s tricky… It’s so easy to put these bastards into your shopping cart due to their low price and promise of deliciousness inside. But the happiness is gone so quickly you’re left wanting to buy more and more. Giving these up is tough as we all live busy lives and want to indulge ourselves with a snack after a stressful day, but there are other, free, non-sugary ways to do that.
For me, if I’m craving cookies or ice cream, I replace that with a healthier snack like fruit or brew a tea. Teas are awesome for getting rid of cravings and are like a warm hug of love that ease my stress.
The total estimated yearly savings from cutting these things out : $5574
This is money you can put towards investments, items of better value that will serve you more over time, and savings for emergencies. By simply cutting out an item or service you realize is not adding significant value to your life, you could be saving for a better, less-cluttered future.
What things do you no longer buy and are a better human for it? Please let me know, I’m in constant search for new ideas to minimalize my life!