15 Unnecessary wastes of money and things to quit buying to save money fast on a low income


Working in the service industry my whole life, money has always been tight. There are times when I had less than $10 in my account and more than a week to go until my next payday.

If you have also been in a similar situation you might have found yourself searching how to save money on minimum wage.

When you are stuck in a job you do not enjoy and don’t feel appreciated at, you will want to ‘treat yourself’ with dumb purchases to make yourself feel better.

But the truth is that these things you shouldn’t be spending money on will leave you even more broke and miserable.

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I have been there myself and I know firsthand how hard it is to stop the needless spending and how to avoid wasting money.

So in addition to making extra money in 2019 by taking Survey Junkie and Harris Poll online surveys for extra cash, I decided to also get a lot smarter with my money and add 15 things to stop buying in 2019 to my list of new years promises.


PS. Are you looking for even more great tips on saving money? Check out this awesome article:

10 Dave Ramsey Tips For Saving Money That You Need To Know About


These are the 15 things I no longer buy to save my money


1. Dryer Sheets and Fabric Softner

Instead of buying expensive dryer sheets and fabric softener I decided to invest in these adorable and cheap hedgehog dryer balls that are reusable and save me money and energy in the long run.

They work by tumbling in the dryer and lift and separate laundry, allowing hot air to flow more efficiently. The dryer balls also soften the fabrics eliminating the need of using fabric softener!


2. Manicures and Pedicures

Previously, I would spend roughly $30 every 2 weeks to get my nails done. And I have to admit – it was one of the dumbest purchases I would make.

The gel would look beautiful on my nails but it came at a cost of $780 a year! That’s not even taking into account the occasional pedicures I used to get at $40 a pop every month or two.

I decided enough was enough and researched for a DIY nail kit that would be simple to use and take less than 30 minutes while also being affordable enough to buy on a tight budget.

I found this gel nail starter kit that comes with a free UV lamp to seal the gel and costs less than $35 for the whole package! The 300+ 5-star reviews for this product also make the purchase extremely easy to make.

I use this kit once a week or once every 2 weeks depending on how rough I am on my nails and it takes me around 20 minutes to do my nails. I can honestly say it lasts around a week and a half on my nails and I am constantly washing my hands so they would probably last longer on someone with say an office job.

The starter kit comes with 1 free colour included and you can buy additional colours for about $6 a pop!


3. Makeup remover

I used to spend $18 for the expensive makeup remover that would last me about a month. While it left my skin feeling clean it also dried it out quite a bit because of the harsh chemicals in it.

After researching extensively for a more natural alternative, I came across one that I already had in my cupboard. Coconut oil!

Coconut oil is an excellent makeup remover. Just rub a tiny bit of oil between your fingers to solidify it, then slather it on your face and rub it in for a minute or so and wipe it off with a cotton pad.

Since I started to use it on my face for about 2 months the condition of my skin has drastically changed and is now much more moisturized and it even reduced my acne since the oil cleanses out your pores.

This is the exact coconut oil I use on my face.


4. Buying Coffees

Buying coffees at a cafe every day used to add $4-$8 a day to my daily spending. That’s a whopping $1044 – $2088 over the course of a year!

Since I am completely addicted to coffees I didn’t want to just stop drinking it(or switch to that nasty instant coffee!!). So instead what I did was ask my lovely partner for a coffee machine as my birthday present and I now make my own coffee at home.

This best selling coffee machine makes cappuccinos just as good as my local cafe for less than a quarter of the price! It even froths the milk and makes it super tasty and creamy.

All I do is buy a 2.2-pound bag of beans (which makes roughly 140 cups of coffee) Making the cost of a single cup of coffee less than 0.13 cents!

I also got this cute 20 oz personalized takeaway coffee mug to take my cappuccinos to work with me and it keeps my coffee hot for up to 7 hours! (Not that I could ever resist drinking it for that long)


5. Buying My Lunches

Takeaway lunches are amongst the main things frugal people don’t buy. I used to spend $5 – $10 a day on buying lunches on my work days adding up to $1305 – $2610 a year!

Instead, I now invested in this mega pack of 3 compartment reusable meal prep containers and make all of my lunches for the week on a Sunday.  I have also started putting any leftovers I have from dinner to these containers and freezing them to enjoy as a quick lunch whenever I am short on time.


6. Gym Membership

Even though I secretly hate going to the gym, I used to always keep a membership costing $12 a week *just in case* I ever wanted to go to the gym.

Spoiler alert. I never went.

Because I thought of it as such a small expense I didn’t even bother cancelling my membership. I didn’t even realize this pointless spending was adding up to $624 a year!

I finally cancelled my membership in March 2018 and since then have saved $528 by not paying for the gym. Instead, I now exercise by running with my dog and using the huge selection of free exercise videos available on Youtube!

If you want to make your at-home workouts more effective I suggest investing in some basic resistance bands that cost less than $10 and allow you to perform strength training exercises without any actual weights.


7. Bottled Water

Not only is bottled water bad for the environment but it is also one of the dumbest thing to spend money on (since it’s basically free from your tap!).

If however, you’re not a big fan of the taste of tap water or worry about the additives, I recommend this cheap water pitcher with a filter that reduces chlorine taste and odour and any other additives found in your tap water. The filter needs to be replaced every 40 gallons and the replacement filters cost about $5 a pop. (About the price of 2-3 bottles of water)

To avoid having to buy bottled water when you’re out and about (or at work) I recommend buying a stainless steel vacuum insulated bottle and carry it with you everywhere you go. This will keep your cold water cold for hours + plus they look adorable!



8. Cooking Foil and Baking Paper

Even though I was only spending a couple dollar a month of these I really cut out this expense for my health and also the environment sake.

Studies have shown that regular use of foil in cooking could be harmful to your health so I prefer not to use it at all. Instead, I use silicone cooking mats which are reusable and make cleaning up a breeze!


9. Brand Name Clothing and Accessories

I completely stopped buying brand name shirts, dresses, and accessories. The truth is, cheaper alternatives like Forever 21, Fashionnova and H&M offer clothes with equally great quality at a quarter of a price.

The only exception to this rule I make are exercise clothes and specifically running shoes and leggings.

I only ever buy Nike and Asics running shoes and leggings because they simply last forever! I’ve had the same Asics shoes for 4 years and they still look brand new, so to me they were worth the $350 price tag as opposed to buying $50 shoes that would only last me a couple of months.


10. Floor Cleaner

I stopped buying expensive floor cleaners to clean our tile floors because I discovered that using some hot water and regular old white vinegar works just as well!

The vinegar costs just $2 a gallon bottle and lasts for months. Previously I was buying floor cleaner for $15 and needed to buy a new bottle every 2 months.


11. Air Refresher

Air refreshers are a complete waste of money in my opinion. I used to spend $5 a month on them which adds to $60 a year.

Now I make my own air refresher using old mason jars, some essential oil, paper and baking soda. It is so simple to do and you can find a guide for it here!


12. Greeting cards

Greeting cards are a waste of money. How many greeting cards that you’ve received have you actually kept for longer than a day? Use the tags that come on the gift bags and write your message there.

Or if you’re crafty, learn how to make a birthday explosion box using cardstock, coloured paper and stickers by using this simple DIY guide by the Dating Divas


13. Organic Fruit and Vegetables

Here’s a shocker. There’s not that much of a difference between some organic and non-organic fruit and vegetables!

Organic fruit and veg always come with a higher price tag but the truth is you can get away with buying most of them non-organic. There are a few fruit and veg I still always buy organic though because of the high risk of heavy pesticide residue.

Some of these heavy risk food items include strawberries, spinach, apples, and tomatoes.

And the fruit and veg that is safe to buy non-organic are avocados, pineapple, onions, and broccoli.

Read more about the ”dirty dozen” here!


14. Pre Made Spice Mixes

I have to confess I used to be a slave to certain pre-made spice mixes! I love the fajita mix, curry powder mix and more.

But when I was looking for ways to cut down on my food spending I discovered that most of these spice mix only contained 5-7 ingredients that were really cheap to buy in bulk. So I decided to start making my own spices mixes and it saves me a lot of money and best of all I know exactly how much salt and sugar goes into my food.

You can find some awesome recipes for creating your own spice mixes here!

I like to store my homemade spice mixes in these cool magnetic spice jars on the side of my fridge for easy access.


15. Shaving Gel / Shaving Cream

I have to be honest and say I’ve actually been using this for years! This money-saving hack really changed my life when I discovered it back in 2016. I just buy the cheapest conditioner that I can find and use it instead of shaving gel. This leaves my legs silky smooth while also being able to save my money.

A bottle of $1 conditioner usually lasts for about 3-4 months as my shaving gel so the savings are huge!


16. Pharmaceutical Drugs With Brand Names

Here’s a secret the big pharmaceutical companies don’t want you to know: most generic drugs do exactly the same thing as big brand name ones.

Often times you’ll hear your pharmacist ask if you want the generic version of the medicine or specific brand. I used to always buy the brand name one but after learning this truth I now always buy the generic version. The specific medicine I buy every month used to cost me $17 a month but now I only pay $9 because I opted for the generic version! That’s a saving of $96 a year!

The generic drugs are equivalent to a brand name product in strength, dosage, quality and desired outcome but it doesn’t carry a specific brand name, therefore, is often a lot cheaper.


Hope you found some great ideas on how to avoid wasting money and things you shouldn’t be spending money on. Let me know which one of these is going to be the easiest for you to stop buying!

Things to stop buying in 2019 and things frugal people don’t buy to avoid wasting money.

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These money saving tips have saved me $500 a month by cutting out silly unnecessary purchases! Try these easy money saving hacks for moms and for families who struggle to get out of debt.