10 Things You Can Stop Spending Your Money on Right Now

By: Eliana Sagarin

When it comes to spending, it’s all about balance. By eliminating a few unnecessary items from your life, you’ll save money while also reducing your impact on the planet. It’s a win-win.

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1. Food Waste

US families waste $1,500 on food that gets thrown away or uneaten. It’s not only bad for your bank account, it’s downright terrible for the planet.

Challenge yourself to use up everything in your fridge before going grocery shopping. Veggie scraps can be transformed into easy-to-freeze sauces or vegetable stocks. Stale bread makes excellent French toast or croutons.

Before you go for your next grocery shop, make a weekly meal plan so you can be assured everything you buy is put to good use. Try to have a snack before you hit the grocery store: according to scientific studies, it will help you make more focused, healthy selections. 

Try to have a snack before you hit the grocery store: according to scientific studies, it will help you make more focused, healthy selections.

2. Paper Goods

Upgrade your cleaning game by buying a set of cloth napkins. They look nicer, are machine washable and won’t end up in a landfill! Replacing as many paper products with reusable, cloth alternatives will cut down on waste and be good for your wallet. Spend less paper on paper!

3. Coffee

Now, we’re not asking you to cut corners on your daily cup of morning (and afternoon and evening…) fuel. By investing in a high-quality coffee-maker with some fair-trade beans, you’ll end up saving a ton of money and reduce your carbon footprint in the process. On the go? Keep a travel mug handy, lots of coffee places offer a discount if you BYOM (Bring Your Own Mug).

4. Bad Plastic Storage

Plastic food storage can be a decent short-term reusable solution, but they aren’t built to last. Consider investing in some glass or stainless-steel storage solutions for your leftovers and lunches. These alternatives to plastic are durable and are super-recyclable once they’ve lived a long, sustainable life.

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5. Cable

Cable TV prices have reached an all-time high, with the average American spending around $100 on cable per month. Making the digital switch from cable to Netflix, Hulu and HBO Go subscriptions will save you around $70 every month -- and you won’t even have to wait to watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones.

6. Subscriptions

Is your spam folder filled with subscription e-mails from the place you bought glasses three years ago? Is a pile of magazines collecting dust in your guest bathroom? We get it. Cancelling subscriptions, digital or paper, will clear your inbox and your life of unnecessary junk.

Once you clear out the 5-year-old Bon Appetit magazines, consider donating them to a local school or community center—magazines are great for art projects – collages and papier-mâché galore!

7. Gym Memberships

Hear us out. A gym membership is 100 percent worth it if you put it to good use. But not everyone reaches their full fitness potential at the gym. The numbers speak for themselves. Only about half of those with gym memberships make it to the gym more than 100 times a year.

If you’re trying to keep up good habits, but can’t commit to heading to the gym, start a running group in your neighborhood, browse the thousands of workout videos on YouTube or download a fitness app so you can keep track of your progress no matter where you are.

8. ATM Fees

Out-of-network ATM fees are reaching record highs, forcing you to pay for your money. Doesn’t make much sense, does it? When you pass by an ATM within your network, withdraw more cash than you usually would to avoid paying ATM fees later.

Do some research to find the in-network ATMs closest to your office, your home and the other popular destinations in your daily life so you can get cash quickly when you’re on-the-go without unnecessary hassle.

9. Bottled Water

Plastic bottles are destroying the planet and the cost puts unnecessary strain on consumer wallets. Drink water straight from the tap if it’s safe to drink in your area , install a water filter directly to your faucet, or invest in a filter water pitcher. There’s really no good reason to buy plastic water bottles.

10. Name Brands

Staying loyal to brands you love and believe in is how we “cast our vote as consumers,” but going generic can also be a powerful choice. Go through the products in your kitchen, bathroom and cleaning storage and start making conscious decisions on what brands make the difference and what can afford a downgrade.

For example, your favorite shampoo brand leaves your hair soft and healthy while also priding itself on being cruelty-free – that might be a brand worth supporting. Now think about the toothpaste you use, the spray you use to clean your windows or your nail polish remover.

What is the added value of these products? Next time you need a refill, give the generic version a try and see if it gets the job done.

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