Did you know you could save $10,000 over a year with only $27.39 a day? No? I didn't either. When I first saw this circling around Instagram, I laughed. It made saving that amount of money seems so easy. And it was definitely an eye-opener to stop buying stuff I don't need! As a personal finance expert and writer, how was I not able to do it?! I wasn't spending that much on crap I don't need, was I?
The power of $27.39 a day: Motivation to stop buying crap!
All tea, no shade, my spending habits sometimes aren't the best. I'm human too and can easily justify $20 here or there at Target or eating out. I love take-out coffee more than anyone of my friends or family. Small daily purchases can add up to a large amount of money over time, and I think that's why that stung when I did the math.
$27.39 multiplied by 7 is $191.73 a week. $191.73 multiplied by 52? That;s $9,969.96! How's that for motivation to stop buying crap! Yup putting aside $27.39 a day, will net you almost $10,000 in a year!
15 Ways to stop buying stuff you don't need
I'm on a mission to stop buying crap I don't need, and I want to share it with you. Below are tips I've collected to help you do the same and hit your making's financial goals.
1. Figure out WHY you're buying the crap in the first place
The first step to not buying crap you don't need is to figure out why you're buying said crap in the first place. Now, I am not a stranger to buying out the Target Bullseye Section. I also know that I had a shopping addiction when I was younger, and I have a mental toolbox to keep it at bay.
Maybe you're not a shopaholic like me, and instead, you fall victim to the Diderot Effect. To stop buying crap you don't need, you need to figure out what you're buying it. Are you bored? Lonely? Trying to figure out how to fix something but not willing to look inside first? Sometimes the reason we buy things is ugly, but we can truly heal and work towards smarter money habits once we know.
2. Choose a financial goal for motivation
You need something to do with the money you're going to start saving, and it doesn't have to involve buying more junk! Instead, think of planning a trip, remodeling a part of your home, or even a bigger purchase you've been putting off, like a new car. When I know that I'm saving towards something specific, I can tell my Amazon shopping cart no.
3. Challenge yourself to take inventory of what you have
You would be surprised at how many pens you own. Or pairs of shoes you don't wear. Or cat toys. By taking inventory of what you have around the house, you will know exactly what you own and do not need to purchase. It will also inspire you to do the next step on our list.
4. Declutter what you don't need
After you've taken inventory of items in your home, start getting rid of all the crap you've bought over the years that no longer serve you. This includes excess items of clothing (no, you don't need the same sweater in five different colors), health and beauty items, kitchen supplies, and so on
Decluttering can be overwhelming, so I recommend starting with the 30-Day Minimalism Game. For every day of the game, you get rid of that many household items. So for day one, you'd give away one item, day two would be two items, and so on. By the end of this challenge, you'll have gotten rid of over 500 excess items from your home. You can donate, give away to friends and family, or even try to sell them on Poshmark, Mecari, or FB Marketplace.
5. Apply cancel culture to your email box
Go over your inbox and unsubscribe from all temptations! This means any store that sends you news on sales or flash offers, groupons, and even box store chains like Walmart or Kroger. When you don't know about a sale, you won't be tempted to shop a sale.
6. Find ways to fulfill yourself outside of shopping
Shopping, and even browsing, take up a lot of time, which you'll notice when you stop shopping for the hell of it. Find a new hobby or activity to fill that extra time with something productive, so boredom doesn't lead you back into the stores. Now's a great time to watch all those Youtube workout videos you've saved for when you "have time." For me, not shopping gives me a chance to use up craft supplies I've had hanging around.
7. Give yourself a 24-hour pause
When you see an item, you have to have, consider waiting 24 hours before purchasing. Giving yourself a 24 hour grace period allows you to think about your purchases instead of giving in to impulse shopping. Make a note of what you want, and wait to see if you still really need, or even want, it the next day.
8. Keep a wish list of items you want and plan for those
If you've given yourself a 24 hour time out (see tip mentioned above) and still want to make a purchase, put it on a wish list and plan for it. It's okay to want things and even buy them. It would be best if you planned to make them a smart purchase.
Put aside a small amount of money each paycheck and then wait to see if you can find a sale or a coupon. I know I mentioned unsubscribing to all newsletters that tempted you to shop, but for purchases you research and thoughtfully make, I encourage you to try your hardest to save money when you do.
9. Consider minimalism
If decluttering inspired you to buy less, then minimalism might be something to consider. Minimalism has different meanings to different people, but for me, it's about doing more with less. When you desire to own as few possessions as possible to make time and put aside money, it can be very freeing for what you really need or want in life.
Practicing minimalism may look like buying fewer items for your home, so you have less to clean. It can look like having a capsule wardrobe. It's not a one size fits all approach, and that's what can give you the freedom to stop buying crap you don't need.
10. Stay out of stores
You can't buy stuff when you aren't tempted in a store. Utilize online shopping for groceries and essentials. If random delivery drivers have you freaked out, you can also do grocery pickup, all within the safety of your car.
11. Utilize a cash budget
A zero-based budget, when used with cash envelopes, is a real-time and money saver. By prioritizing where your money should go beforehand, you can pull cash out for purchases that you've previously planned for. This helps you stay on budget because you only have the cash to spend, and once it's gone, it's gone. $50 a week for household items may seem like it's enough to make it rain on some holiday pillows, but when you account for items needed, like toilet paper and cleaning supplies, it may not be a lot at all.
12. Barter with a friend
Do your friends have an abnormal amount of crap? Perfect! Ask them if you can borrow an item you need or see if you can trade. This can work with clothing, kitchen items, and just about anything else you may need or want around your house. My friends and I often swap house decor and clothes. I've also bartered moving supplies, furniture, and cat items.
13. Check out renting an item that's needed instead of buying it
If your friends don't have items you can borrow, see if you can rent them instead. Home Depot and Lowes do this with tools, the library has almost everything media-related under the sun, and you can even rent clothing for special occasions.
14. Consider a fun money budget
One way to keep yourself on track and not derail any financial progress you've made is to consider a fun money budget. By allowing yourself some "me money" every pay period, you can enjoy yourself without feeling deprived. I use my fun money for lattes and eating out with friends, which makes me happy and adds to my life in a non-materialistic way.
15. Remember you're only human
Your own worst critic is usually yourself. If you fall off the no-buying crap train, extend yourself some grace. Imagine if your loved one made a mistake with their spending and bought something they didn't need. Would you be insanely angry and think of them as a failure? Would you beat them up mentally and say nasty things? No, I didn't think you would. Please be kind in the same way to you.
If you have to shop, don't forget these key things
Shopping is inevitable. Eventually, you will need an item or two that you can't do without or acquire through a borrow or barter method. We recommend the following if you have to have it.
Try to buy items when they are on sale. You usually know when you will need to replace an item in advance to be a proactive shopper and keep an eye out. If you can't seem to find a sale locally, look online.
Check out your local thrift store to see if they have what you need before going to the store. Thrift stores can be hit or miss when it comes to shopping pre-owned, so it's a good idea to go here if you are flexible in what you're looking for. You can also check out local consignment stores if it's for something bigger, like furniture. I scored an antique room divider this way for $100; new ones online are running over $300!
Remember apps, rebates, and coupons
I can't say enough about apps, rebates, and coupons for a reason: they help me save so much money! Check your weekly mailer to see if there are any coupons for household items. Don't forget about cashback apps for grocery shopping, like Ibotta. And utilize those credit cards for cashback. My Capital One card just offered 8% back for Sephora.
Buying crap you don't need is hard, but it's less hard when you create a plan to stop buying stuff you don't need. It's also a good idea to get an accountability partner that can help keep you on track as you adjust your spending habits. Remember, improving your finances is a work in progress. Stay committed and intentional - you've got this!