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Do you ever buy something only to wonder later on why you just wasted your hard-earned money on it?
I used to do that a lot. Not just impulsive purchases (and there were plenty of those), but stuff that at the time seemed important and useful only to eventually figure out… it wasn’t worth the money, at all.
I have slowly come to realize, if it’s something that isn’t providing purpose or value to our lives, then it’s not necessary.
And several things I had convinced myself were providing purpose or value weren’t, they were just wasting money… and in essence, time.
It’s a lot more enjoyable to spend that money and time on experiences than it is on pointless dribble that isn’t adding joy to our lives.
So, in the spirit of trying to improve our lives by having less mindless dribble to waste our time and money on, I thought I’d share a few things I have stopped wasting my money on since simplifying my life.
10 Things I Stopped Buying Since Becoming a Minimalist
Cable/ Satellite TV
When we lived in the suburbs, we didn’t spend for cable because we didn’t need to. Streaming services are abundant and we had plenty of high speed internet to go around. We paid $10 for Netflix and our internet bill and that was it.
Then, we moved out here to the great wide open and it is great, except…
We have very limited data and very slow internet service. It’s coming around, but right now our options are very limited and very little.
So, we signed a contract for satellite TV when we moved in. I hung on thinking… it gives us something to do when we’re relaxing or it’s pouring down rain or whatever.
Then, the attitudes started in with the kids, they wanted stuff they saw advertised on TV, and the bill kept going up up up.
So, we ditched it.
It was missed for about 2 days. Then, we found other things to do like playing games, or watching DVDs. I’ve also discovered the beauty of free TV.
Over the air TV is awesome. It brings back the 90s to me, those programs I used to enjoy as a kid before TV went to absolute crap anyway. No internet required, no streaming service just good, old-fashioned TV the way it used to be.
For now, DVDs, a game of Mario Kart, board games, and plenty of time outside and we’re doing just fine. Saving us over $1,500 a year! That’s pretty awesome, if you ask me.
I’ll start this off by saying I’m an absolute music lover. I love all kinds of music, but we don’t pay for it.
I used to have a very extensive collection of CDs when I was younger (before the era of digital music). And I did spend a good deal of time listening to them. Now? Not so much.
We don’t buy CDs, we don’t buy digital music. Ever.
If anyone has a particular song we want to listen to, we use YouTube. We listen to IHeartRadio a lot or pandora. We even occasionally just listen to regular ol’ radio over the air.
It gives a little background noise, it gives us something to listen to (that’s not constantly the same exact thing over and over). And it’s completely free.
I’ve never actually subscribed to the newspaper, to be honest. And the only magazine we’ve ever had a subscription to was ZooBooks for the kids that I got for $9 with a groupon….
That being said, the news is free. You can read it online or watch a local channel (there’s where that antenna comes in handy for over the air channels). Magazines are very pricey and most of them have availability online as well.
It creates less waste and I don’t have random newspapers and magazines sitting all over the house. So, we choose to read the news online from local news networks. And magazines have never really been my thing.
Professional Portraits/School and Sports Photos
Gasp! I know. But have you priced those things lately? They’re ridiculous! And well, they’re fake.
I love taking photographs, but I enjoy the candid, unposed ones best of all. They’re real, they’re authentic. No one has props and fake smiles plastered across their face. They capture our family in the moment. And that, to me, looks better and is priceless.
That being said, I do occasionally pull out the camera and take my own professional style portraits that are posed. But, I prefer capture those memories on film in the moment than a fake, unauthentic picture with props and pretend smiles plastered on my kids faces.
I’ve never been a huge cafe person to begin with. But, I haven’t bought coffee from Starbucks or any other cafe in years. It would be a really rare occasion to find me standing in line at a cafe anywhere.
We brew our own coffee daily. I make it a point to make sure we have our coffee pot and fresh coffee when we go on vacation, too. Starbucks is expensive and coffee from home is good. Plus, I can make my own yummy coffee drink at home, if I really want to indulge. I just can’t justify spending $7 for a coffee when I can buy a whole pound of organic coffee for $10 and make many, many cups.
In true minimalist fashion, we really enjoy taking our kids places. Zoos, museums, aquariums, national parks, etc. And they all have conveniently located souvenir shops that you’re almost forced to go through at most of these places.
And souvenirs are cute! They make you feel like you’ve captured the memory when you buy a t-shirt that says Mount Rushmore on it. But… they don’t. And, they’re so overpriced! We went through a souvenir shop the other day (by force, not choice) and headed straight for the door, but my daughter saw a stuffed toy so I glanced at the price tag. $40!! That’s insanity.
No one is stealing that memory from you and that t-shirt or cheap plastic crap didn’t capture the memory for you. So, we choose to keep the memories we’ve created, take pictures and not fill our house with more overpriced junk.
Junk of all kinds. You know what I’m talking about. You buy something cheap because it’s cute, whether it’s something for your kid, yourself, your spouse, your home, whatever. You get it home, a week later it’s in the trashcan.
So, I have started trying to be incredibly intentional about my purchases. If it’s something that isn’t going to last, whether it’s clothes, decor, whatever… I don’t buy it. I don’t need to fill the space just because it cost a dollar. I can wait, buy something quality that I love and it will last.
Make sure you’re questioning your motives when you pick up a random object to buy. Is it quality? Is it going to last? Do I really need this? Where will it fit in my home?
And never forget the 1 in 1 out rule. If I buy something, generally something else is going out when I get home. And for the bigger purchases, wait on them for a week before pulling the trigger. It really helps you make a well-informed, thought out purchase of quality items instead of impulsive buys that won’t last.
Nope, nope, nope. I make one or they simply don’t get one. None of them can convey what I want to say anyway. Besides, they get tossed into the recycle bin when the day is done.
Why would I throw $5-$7 into the recycling bin? So, sometimes I make a card or write a letter or a poem to give the recipient. It’s more personal and it’s loads cheaper since it’s going into the recycle bin anyway. On the off chance I do purchase a greeting card (for a child’s birthday, for instance) the dollar store is where it’s at.
Knick Knacks and Trinkets
Do you love dusting? Buy all the trinkets. If you’re like me and hate dusting, then why create more work for yourself?
Knick knacks are made to just sit around. And sitting means they have to be dusted and they have to be moved to dust under/around them.
It takes me minutes to dust all of the furniture in my house because it’s not cluttered up with a ton of knick knacks. I have 5. They’re all frogs my mother gave me. My girls each have 1. We are not, by any stretch, knick knack people.
All. That. Plastic. I carry a hydro flask around with me everywhere. I keep it full, drink plenty of water, and I don’t need to buy a bunch of plastic bottles.
Buy a reusable bottle if you haven’t, the waste those plastic bottles create is depressing. The planet will thank you for it.
We live in a society that is obsessed with more, so it’s difficult to go against the grain and think of your life in terms of less. But, you get so much more out of it when you let go of all that excess that is not only in your life currently, but comes in every single time you buy something unnecessary.
We routinely go through our stuff to decide what is no longer serving us that we can donate to someone else that it will serve. I’m far from an extremist, I like to have things, I just want them to be purposeful and something that fits our lifestyle.
No sense holding on to things that don’t serve us or fit us, no matter how much we want(ed) them to.
What are a few things that you could stop buying that would help make your life more simple and less cluttered?
Other Minimalist Posts You’ll Love:
- 32 Tips on Becoming a Minimalist
- How to Downsize: 9 Tips to Live Smaller
- How to Make Time to Declutter