How I’ve Saved Almost $5,000 From Not Buying Stuff

26th January 2017

A couple months ago, I watched a documentary called The Minimalists. 

I wasn’t expecting it to inspire and motivate me as much as it did. Immediately after watching the film, I decided that I wanted to get out of consumerism and become more responsible for my purchasing decisions.

I got serious about saving money. The first step was to look at where my money was going. Then I set a goal. I had a goal to get to $5,000, and now that I’m almost there, my goal is to get to $10,000. Setting up goals makes this process a lot more fun. It ends up being somewhat of a game or a challenge, which I love.

I’m going to include what I did to cut spending and save money, how much it will save my yearly, and what you can do instead to replace the item.

Read further to find out how I’m stashing $5,000 into a savings account and moving toward $10,000 in savings.

Find out how I've saved over $5,000 as a 23 year old. Save money, budgeting, and setting up an emergency fund was very important to me.Related links:

1. Hair

I stopped getting my hair cut and colored. I went every 2 months and would get it colored 3x a year.

Savings: $1,170

What to do instead: This might be a bit extreme and I know hairstylists are going to hate me for saying this, but I started cutting my own hair. Actually, my boyfriend started cutting my own hair and he’s been doing a great job. Haha!

 

2. Clothes

I would go clothes shopping 1x-4x a month.

Savings: $2,400

What to do instead: Stop buying clothes and wear what you have! I seriously have probably 100 shirts and dresses to wear. Get out of the consumerism scheme! If you must buy, go to thrift stores. There are also events in most cities where you can sell or buy items from other residents in your city.

If you regularly shop online, I recommend using Ebates to get cash back. It’s seriously silly NOT to use, especially if you do a lot of your shopping online. Get some money just for signing up here.

Find out how I've saved over $5,000 as a 23 year old. Save money, budgeting, and setting up an emergency fund was very important to me.

 

3. Makeup

I was buying mostly high-end makeup from Sephora. I’ve decided to go most days without makeup. I used to be afraid of going out in public without makeup on.

Savings: $600

What to do instead: Buy from cruelty-free drugstore brands such as NYX, ELF, Milani, Wet n Wild, Pixi, and tons more. Drugstore brands are really stepping up their game and getting just as good quality as high-end makeup.

 

Find out how I've saved over $5,000 as a 23 year old. Save money, budgeting, and setting up an emergency fund was very important to me.

4. Cable, Netflix, Hulu

I was paying for both Netflix and Hulu at one point.

Savings: $300-$500

What to do instead: Rent movies and TV series at the library. The library has pretty much anything you’d want to get. You can also request or reserve movies and TV series at your library, too.

 

5. Car

I’m getting rid of my car, which means eliminating gas, insurance, and maintenance costs.

Savings:

What to do instead: If you can’t get rid of your car, negotiate with your insurance agent to lower your premium. I did this a year ago and ended up saving $20 a month from it. They’re trying to get the most money they can get, and I found out that the extra $20 was not necessary at all.

 

6. Thermostat Usage

We rarely ever have our thermostat on since we live in Austin, TX. We keep windows open and live in an apartment that gets really good shade in the summer, eliminating AC costs.

Savings: $360

What to do instead: Get a programmable thermostat.

 

7. Gym

We ended our gym membership.

Savings: $280

What to do instead: Workout in the park, rent workout DVDs from your library or download free health and fitness apps on your phone.

 

8. Restaurant Outings

I would go out 4+ times a week to get food.

Savings: $2,200+

What to do instead: Sign up for $5 Meal Plan and get monthly meal plans, grocery lists and recipes sent to you. You’ll save so much money and eat healthier by eliminating restaurant outing costs.

Find out how I've saved over $5,000 as a 23 year old. Save money, budgeting, and setting up an emergency fund was very important to me.

9. Phone

T-Mobile recently had a deal where you could sign up 2 people under your contract, with no extra fees at all. Which meant that 4 of us are dividing a $190 bill into 4.

Savings: $600

What to do instead: Pay attention to special deals, especially Black Friday deals. Phone companies usually have the best deals going on during Thanksgiving time. T-Mobile also offers the best plans, especially if you travel often.

 

10. Coffee

We stopped going to Starbucks every day and when my sister asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I said Keurig!

Savings: $1,700

What to do instead: Purchase a Keurig AND reusable cups for the Keurig. Individual cups are not only costly but terrible for the environment. Seriously, look it up and find out how harmful they are to the environment. 

 

Find out how I've saved over $5,000 as a 23 year old. Save money, budgeting, and setting up an emergency fund was very important to me.

11. Generic brand

I buy all generic, never name brand.

Savings: $250+

What to do instead: Generic is usually just as good as name brand. Also, hit up Asian grocery stores to get rice and other cheap food.

Use Ibotta to get cash back on purchases at stores such as Walmart, Target, Whole Foods, Best Buy, and tons more. Get $10 for signing up here.

Check out this convenient way to save money on groceries. The steps are so simple and can end up saving you a lot of money each time you go to the store.

 

12. Getting rid of stuff

Selling my clothes on Poshmark, and thrift stores in my city.

Savings: $200

What to do instead: Stop buying new clothes and start using what you have or selling what you don’t use and buying new clothes with the money you’ve made from selling.

 

13. Entertainment

I cut movie, restaurant, and event spending.

Savings: $450+

What to do instead: Find free events on Meetup.com. I also get on Swagbucks when I’m bored and want to make extra money. It’s really easy to use and it passes time between breaks or when I’m on a train or bus.

Find out how I've saved over $5,000 as a 23 year old. Save money, budgeting, and setting up an emergency fund was very important to me.

 

I hope you all enjoyed reading! You are fully capable of cutting your spending and saving money, so start now!

 

Find out how I've saved over $5,000 as a 23 year old. Save money, budgeting, and setting up an emergency fund was very important to me.

What have you done to cut down on spending?

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15 thoughts on “How I’ve Saved Almost $5,000 From Not Buying Stuff

  1. Marette Flora

    Two areas we need to cut back on are cable and phone. It just sucks that we are in contracts. I, too, have stopped buying clothes and only buy makeup to replace something I used up. I am going to try some of these other tips you mention as well.

    Reply
    1. Alexis Post author

      Ah, contracts hold a lot of people back. I switched from AT&T to T-Mobile back when T-Mobile was paying for customers to leave their contract. They paid to break my contract which was almost $500, I believe.

      Reply
  2. Holly

    I do many of these but I just can’t stop the coffee! I guess at some point you have to decide that something is YOUR TREAT and that’s just how it is.

    I’ve never paid for hair coloring but I do like a good cut. I have added my haircut to my budget and plan it out every 2 months.

    Reply
    1. Alexis Post author

      I felt the same for awhile, I couldn’t let coffee go. You must, though! It’ll save you so much money.

      Reply
    1. Alexis Post author

      On Netflix and I believe their website also shares where you can watch it. Please watch it and tell your readers about it!

      Reply
  3. Dyana

    I was in the same boat and always asked myself, “Where is my money going?” When I started doing my own hair, working from home, and making all of my coffee I had an ah-ha moment. It’s still a little difficult to save with two small children, but I am still saving! I would love to check out that film!
    Dyana recently posted…Monthly Debt Check- JanuaryMy Profile

    Reply
  4. derek

    Unbelievable.

    That is a crazy amount of money.

    Good for you!!

    Just yesterday I asked my wife how much $$ we’ve saved since she went natural with her hair. Her reply? $1,920. (In about 3 years time) DAY-UM!

    Reply

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