The past year has really brought home two indelible truths: we can get by with much less than we think we need and our impact on the environment can come back and bite us in ways we never expected. If you haven’t yet started making changes in your spending habits, this year is as good as any to become more mindful of what you’re buying. Not only will it reduce your negative impact on the environment and make you a more responsible citizen of the world but it will also save you money. To help you get started, here are 15 things you shouldn’t buy to save money in 2021.
Let’s say you spent $1 per day on bottled water. This can add up to $365 per year. And if you prefer fancier water brands, which can cost up to $4 per bottle, this can add up to $1,4260 per year. (Calculation is based on an average of 315 bottles per person, per year).
Water is free and safe to drink in most U.S. cities. But many people choose to pay for bottled water based on taste and convenience. According to Beverage Marketing Corporation, Americans spend $16 billion a year on it.
We realize that not all water tastes the same. You can utilize a reusable bottle whenever you’re out traveling. This is one of the easiest items to stop buying if you want to save money.
Extended Warranty’s On Electrical Products
The warranty you purchase is only useful if the product itself is faulty, and a lot of those warranties don’t cover the usual ways a product breaks (like a toddler pushing it over, or a storm frying it). These are usually covered by your house and contents insurance, so what are you actually getting for a warranty?
Over the span of a year you may find that you’re offered a warranty a few times and you should ask yourself, what are you actually getting for the extra dollars you’re handing over.
Paper Towels, Napkins And Disposable Dish Cloths
Are you still throwing out your dishcloth every time it starts to get smelly and gross? Cut that out and opt for washable dishcloths instead.
Paper towels are a small cost that can add up over time. Instead of buying paper towels, you can use old clothes.
If you’re worried about scratching paint or other surfaces, you can use microfiber cloths.
Again, less waste, better for the environment, saves you money.
If you have an energy drink habit, it’s time to kick it if you want to save money. Those things aren’t cheap, and chances are you eventually have to start drinking more than one a day to keep the buzz once you begin to tolerate them. If this habit is due to poor sleep, think of the money your sleep habits are costing you as an extra motivator to change them.
If you get a normal amount of sleep but still feel exhausted enough the next day to require energy drinks, make an appointment with your doctor. There are a number of health issues that could be causing you to feel drained, and one trip to the doc will be worth it if you can find out how to fix it.
Instead of using dryer sheets which are a one-time use, you can use:
- A dry towel
- A wool dryer ball
Both of these options will help absorb the moisture and reduce drying time.
They also don’t have the chemicals that are often in dryer sheets. If you want to give your laundry a fragrance, you can add a few drops of essential oil (e.g. lavender, lemon) on the dryer ball.
Pre-cut and bagged fruit and vegetables
Fresh fruit and veggies are essential items on your healthy grocery checklist but it’s time to stop buying them pre-cut or bagged, unless it’s an emergency. For one thing, it’s just more unnecessary packaging that will end up in the landfill.
There’s also the fact that you can never be certain whether those salad leaves were properly washed in clean water or whether the people handling those carrot sticks followed the proper hygiene protocols. Buying your fruit and veggies loose and then cutting them up yourself is not only better for the environment and your health but also for your wallet.
Paying for cable
Cutting the cord might seem like something only super savvy Millennials and tech whizzes can do without sacrificing a few of their favorite shows. But there are a bazillion TV and movie streaming services and other non-cable options out there now, the quality and variety of which will only keep growing in the years to come. Pretty much any streaming service is cheaper than paying for cable or dish, and you don’t get stuck with all the extra channels you never watch yet still have to pay for.
You can’t sit there and surf channels aimlessly any more, of course, but it’s not like doing that made your TV experience fantastic anyway.
This helps. It helps not only to pay debt but to understand what is important.
The road to financial freedom is not an easy one, but it is such a rewarding one. You will not only learn about your finances on this road, but you will learn about yourself and what’s important.