Do you think your life is complicated? Do you find yourself rushing around and always running out of time to get these done? Do you wish things were just a bit easier?
You’re not alone.
According to YouGov, “More than three in ten (31%) Americans say that if they could wave a magic wand and fully simplify one part of their life, [finances] would be it” [source]. There is a clear connection between how we spend our money and the stress we feel in our lives.
We know we should make wise choices with our money, but oftentimes we still buy things we don’t really need.
When I stopped buying these 10 things, I was able to simplify my life. You can, too.
1. Stuff that Clutters the House
Here’s something I learned – just because I have money to buy something, doesn’t mean I should. Much of the stuff I could afford, such as sentimental knickknacks, found their way into my home. Before I knew it, every surface was covered in nostalgic clutter, not to mention dust that needed to be cleaned. Every time I entered my house, I felt overwhelmed and felt the need to clean. As a result, I learned that a cluttered home equals a cluttered mind.
Now, when I am shopping and see something that I can afford, I don’t immediately add it to the cart. I consider whether it will spark joy in my life and what the real cost is. It comes down to this: Do I need it or it will simply add clutter to my home? If it adds clutter, it no longer comes into my home.
2. Cheap Products
Have you ever heard someone say, “Buy Cheap, Buy Twice”? This well-known saying is packed with truth. Let’s use clothing as an example. Sure, you can purchase two sweaters at the big box store for the price of one designer sweater. However, will those two sweaters last more than one winter season? Probably not.
Cheaply made goods may seem like a smart shopping choice at the moment because of price, but in the long-term, that purchase can end up costing you when you have to replace those items sooner than you expected. It is wiser to buy one well-made item than two cheaply made ones.
Free Workshop – Join our free Simplify Money Workshop
The *only* way to save money is to spend less than you earn. That means you need to decrease your expenses or increase your income.
We want to help you do both.
Join our FREE Simplify Money Workshop to learn the fundamentals of growing wealth. Because when you can spend less than you earn, your money has no choice but to grow. You will build your savings and pay down debt.
What’s more? We’ve got a bunch of free money-hacks to share with you:
- Hacks to lower your monthly bills
- Hacks to spend less on debt
- Hacks to start investing
- Hacks to increase your income by $20/month (with no extra effort)
This workshop has everything you need to accomplish the cardinal rule of personal finance: keep your income over your expenses.
Join our free 5-day Simplify Money Workshop, and start growing your wealth today.
3. Home and Seasonal Decor
We love home decor, don’t we? So it’s not a shocker to discover the home decor market is a $200 billion industry [source]. But unless you have a big budget and a huge home, you likely don’t have the space to store and stock up on home decor for every season and holiday. Simple, yet elegant designs, can cost hundreds of dollars.
Rather than spending all that money on the latest home decor trends each new season, do it yourself! There are so many cute, inexpensive DIY craft ideas for home decor. Check out 11 DIY Dollar Tree Home Decor Crafts to get some ideas.
4. Cable TV Subscription
When you sit down to watch TV, do you waste time searching through your cable channels for something to watch? Do you mindlessly click through show after show hoping to find an interesting program? You’re not the only one. There has to be a better way, right?
Instead of browsing endlessly and spending a big chunk of change on cable, consider cutting the cord and subscribing to a streaming service that offers the content you actually want to watch. These days, we want to watch what we want on our schedule, which makes streaming services a good option and they can be significantly cheaper than cable TV subscriptions.
Use Trim to Cut Unnecessary Subscriptions
Take advantage of Trim if you don’t have the time to cancel your subscriptions one by one. Trim is a computer program that analyzes your spending habits and finds ways to save you money, including canceling old or unused subscriptions, such as cable. Trim also identifies recurring payments and asks if you want to keep the service or cancel it.
Please note that Trim takes their payment immediately. For example, if Trim saves you $10/month, they will request their 33% fee ($40) right away. But you keep 100% of the savings after that.
5. Aerosol Sprayers
Aerosol sprayers are not only bad for the environment, but they are also bad for your wallet. The EPA reports, “Ounce for ounce, spray-on product sold in aerosol cans is roughly twice the cost of bulk product. You pay for propellants in every aerosol can you purchase. Most aerosol cans contain 10-15% propellant by weight” [source].
Quit paying for propellants and pay for what you need. You can help save the environment and your bank account by switching to reusable spray bottles, like the Flairosol: The Original, Continuous Ultra Fine Mist Spray Bottle, Multi-Tasking Marvel for Hair, Skin, Home, Pet Care, and More.
6. Foods With Excess Packaging
Single-use food packages are so cute, aren’t they? They might seem convenient, but are they really? They are more expensive, and your trash can fills up quickly because of them. Consider yogurt. You can purchase single-serve yogurts or the large container. Not only will you save as much as five times by buying the large container [source], but you can also choose your portions and use your dishes, so you aren’t filling up your trash can unnecessarily.
When you go grocery shopping, keep this in mind. What foods can you purchase that take up less space in your kitchen and trash can? Fruit and vegetables, or foods that aren’t individually packaged. Notice anything? Foods with less packaging tend to be better for you!
Ibotta – Cash Back on Groceries
Buying food in larger packages will save you money, but have you discovered food from the grocery store is still super expensive? So how do you save even more? Try the free Ibotta app that pays you to buy groceries. Open the app, snap a picture of your grocery receipt, and Ibotta will transfer money into your Ibotta account.
To grow your savings, deposit that Ibotta money directly into your bank account. Or get a free Gift Card to Amazon or Walmart.
Download Ibotta because it’s easy to use, and because it’s the highest paying ‘cash back on groceries’ app around. You’ll also receive a $20 welcome bonus just for using the app.
Want to hear even more ways Ibotta can save you money? Check out our Ibotta explainer video, here!
7. Empty Calories are Expensive Calories
Speaking of foods that are better for you, it’s time to think about all the empty calories you consume and how they are making your life more difficult. We get empty calories mainly from eating candy, chips, processed foods and drinking soda. These foods and drinks offer little to no nutritional value. As a result, people tend to overeat and gain weight … and that will not simplify anything!
Instead, shop wiser. Nuts, seeds, and fruits are nutrient-dense snacks that will help keep your hunger at bay. Broccoli, spinach, salmon, sardines, and Greek yogurt are other nutrient-dense foods to keep on hand. Look for healthy foods that won’t have you feeling hungry an hour after eating.
$5 Meal Plan Makes Dinner Decisions Easy and Inexpensive
Cooking at home is great, but many say planning dinner every night is the worst! If this sounds like you, there is a simple solution: The $5 Meal Plan. You won’t have to worry about what to cook, what ingredients to buy, or how to cook the meals. The $5 Meal Plan is a weekly service that sends you the recipes, a detailed shopping list, and recipes. They do the thinking for you, so all you have to do is follow the plan. Each meal will cost around $2 or less.
8. Plastic Sandwich Baggies
If it isn’t already clear, I love reusable products. You probably already tote reusable bags when you shop for groceries, so why not use reusable bags in other areas of your life. One of my favorites is reusable sandwich bags. I stopped buying plastic sandwich bags when I realized how much simpler it is to use reusable ones.
Reusable sandwich bags are better for the environment. The plastic bags will not be filling up landfills, and you will reduce your carbon footprint. If that is not enough of an incentive, reusable sandwich bags will also save you time and money.
9. Plastic Food Containers
I finally stopped buying plastic food containers when I discovered glass. My glass containers are superior to plastic ones. My plastic containers were constantly getting stained, would warp in the microwave, and couldn’t go in the dishwasher. You don’t have to worry about lingering stains or smells with glass containers. Plus, you can wash them in the dishwasher.
The benefits of switching to glass food containers are similar to using the reusable sandwich bags. You will save money, they will last longer, and the glass will not melt in the microwave (and it will dry in the dishwasher, unlike plastic).
10. Any Single-Use Kitchen Gadget
Do you own several different single-use kitchen appliances? These take up a lot of space and require more time and effort to clean and store than their multi-use counterparts. For example, why one a separate rice cooker, steamer, and slow cooker when you can own an Instant Pot that does all three? Or trade your separate stand mixer, food processor, and meat grinder for a KitchenAid Stand Mixer that does the work of all of these.
Kitchen appliances that are multi-taskers will reduce clutter in your kitchen and simplify your life.
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Michelle Salater is a freelance finance writer with a passion for personal finance education. When she’s not in front of her computer, she’s reading biographies and exploring remote areas of the world. She also freelances for Wooster Media Group LLC.