Let go of things that no longer serve you and save money along the way
As a self-proclaimed minimalist, I’ve learned to let go of things that no longer serve me, both physically and mentally. Since I set out to save £10,000 in less than a year to buy a motorhome, It’s been a journey of discovering what’s truly important to me and what I can live without. In this beginner’s guide, I’ll share 10 things I no longer buy to save money and simplify my life.
What we’ll cover
- A few notes on how to stop buying things and minimalism
- The 10 things I no longer buy as a minimalist
Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below and I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.
A few notes on how to stop buying things and minimalism
It’s important to note that everyone’s journey to minimalism will be different. Before adopting this minimalist lifestyle, I didn’t pay much care to how I spent my money, and it took an overly ambitious goal to get me motivated to really pay attention to my spending habits and be more mindful of where my money went.
Please do keep in mind that you don’t have to give up everything at once or live in a sparsely furnished home. You don’t even need to change your spending habits overnight if that feels like it would be too much change at once. Start small and gradually let go of things that no longer serve you. The true exercise here is to think a bit more deeply about every purchase that we make, why we are making it, and if the added value it brings is worth the trade.
Remember, being a minimalist isn’t about depriving yourself of things you love, but rather about being intentional with what you bring into your life. By being mindful of your purchases, you can save money and live a more fulfilling life. Much more fulfilling than a life that is full of stuff that doesn’t actually contribute to the life that we need to be happy.
Minimalism is about acknowledging the beauty and value of our possessions by reducing them, not by piling them on, but also, it is about choosing what things we do want to own and take care of, that will add to our quality of life.
The 10 things I no longer buy as a minimalist
1) Bottled Water
Buying bottled water is not only wasteful but also expensive. As a minimalist, I opt for a reusable water bottle instead. Not only do I save money in the long run, but I’m also doing my part for the environment.
What I own: the Brita Bottle and filters (I have the one in pink)
2) Fast fashion and clothing in general
I only buy new clothes if an item I already own is too old/damaged to be worn any longer. I have spent about a year building a capsule wardrobe, which was one of the best things I could do, as it has eliminated decision fatigue, and has created a lot more space in all my wardrobe and drawers. Now I know exactly what I own, and I don’t need to buy anything else unless something breaks or doesn’t fit anymore.
And when I do need to buy clothes, I make sure I get a high-quality product that I know will last me years. My favourite place to go is Thrifted, where you can buy second-hand clothes from high-quality and durable brands. I would rather invest £60 in an excellent pair of Levis jeans that will last me 10 more years, rather than pay £10 for pair of trousers made with cheap materials that will disintegrate after 7 washes.
I haven’t bought anything from any fast-fashion stores in years, and I don’t miss it at all.
3) Paper books
This was a hard one to let go of because I love hard copy books to flip back and forth and wear down. However, on average I read 3 books per month, and buying hard copy books in this economy wasn’t making the cut for me anymore.
So, I invested in a Kindle book reader and subscribed to Kindle Unlimited: with less than 10 quid a month I can read as many books as I want from their Unlimited collection, and when I do decide to purchase a book that isn’t included in the membership, it only costs me on average £5-6, as opposed to £15 or more.
Furthermore, as a non-native English speaker, I do appreciate the built-in dictionary so I can immediately look up any words I don’t know the meaning of.
Do I miss flipping physical books back and forth? I do, yes. But does this new device make my life easier, take up less space, and make my reading habit incredibly cheaper? Absolutely.
And of course, if you don’t desire a Kindle, you can look up your closest library and read to your heart’s content, for free!
What I own: The Kindle book reader (2022 release)
4) Coffee on the go
Listen, I am well aware of those boomer millionaires that say that Millennials can’t afford a house because they drink Starbucks. Of course that’s bollocks – not drinking Starbucks alone isn’t going to save you enough money for a down payment. But… this article’s author makes the point that not getting their favourite coffee order would deprive them of “high quality” coffee and that cutting down small day-to-day expenditures doesn’t really make a difference. And, I mean, sure, but it depends on what difference you are after.
I stopped buying coffee and breakfast on the go altogether because it may not buy you a house, but it does add up. And I’m not talking about the occasional transaction when you’re meeting a friend for coffee, I am talking about the regular spending you incur if you purchase your Starbucks every time you go to the office.
If coffee + Starbucks costs you around £6.50 in this economy, and if you go to the office 3 times per week, that’s £78 per month, which is just under £1,000 per year. Will that buy you property? No. Will that buy you a nice holiday somewhere? Or a training course that can advance your career? Or a new computer that doesn’t die on you while you’re working? YES. Which one adds more value to your life: overpriced coffee, or a nice holiday? That’s what I thought.
What I own: Tassimo by Bosch coffee machine (I buy the Kenco Colombian coffee pods in bulk: £0.26 per coffee!)
5) Beauty products
This is something that I changed during the pandemic, where everyone had to stay at home and there was absolutely no reason to put on any makeup. I soon realised that not wearing any foundation, powder, or concealer cleared up my face, and I got used to what I looked like with no makeup on. Now, it feels weird when I do wear it.
I stopped buying beauty products altogether, and the only beauty items I keep are coconut oil for my skin, and concealer, mascara, and eyeliner for special occasions.
I realise this may not be for everyone, as many consider makeup a form of art and self-expression, and that’s okay. But as a minimalist, I realised that I had no issue letting go of beauty products, as I am much happier with how I look like “naturally”.
6) Brand-named products
I’m sure you know by now that Nurofen and store-brand ibuprofen have the exact same active ingredient, and that brand names charge more due to their initial research and development costs they need to recoup.
Very simply, I will not pay x5 more for virtually the same product. And this is often the case for most off-the-counter drugs, and grocery products, too. The store brand option is often just as good, but costs a fraction of their big brand-named counterparts.
7) Deliveroo and other food delivery
My reasoning behind this is the same as the point I made about coffee on the go: ordering delivery on a regular basis just isn’t worth the cost for me.
Is it convenient? Sure. It is good? Most of the time. Is it worth its cost? No, I don’t think it is. I live in London, and the cost of eating out is already very high to begin with. If you add delivery costs and tips to the riders (they are freaking heroes), it is just too high a price for me to make it a worthwhile purchase.
I stopped ordering food, and always cook my own. It does help that I love cooking and am pretty darn good at it, if I can say so myself!
8) Cigarettes and alcohol
Of all the things I stopped buying, cigarettes and alcohol have certainly been the hardest, but the benefits that I have received have been the best and most effective on my quality of life.
I quit cigarettes about 10 years ago, when I realised they were just too expensive for me to keep having this vice. Even if I bought tobacco that I rolled up myself, it was still a stupid way to spend my hard-earned money. And of course, my health and quality of life have sky-rocketed as a consequence of not smoking anymore, and hey, I don’t smell like an ashtray.
I will be blunt: there is no good reason for anyone to smoke, and it is a disgusting and dangerous habit. There.
With alcohol, I just reduced how much I drink of it. My husband and I only buy one bottle per week, rather than three or four. We sleep much better, wake up earlier, and our wallet is heavier for it.
9) Excessive home decor and non-practical household items
I have never been of the decorating type, perhaps to a fault: it has taken me ages to arrange my living room for it to feel homier, and it took a full kitchen renovation to have me thinking about how to decorate it.
I chose to keep it very simple from a furniture standpoint, and added a few particular items of colour here and there to tie it all together. And I had not idea how much plants can add to a home!
I don’t buy any items of home decor that I don’t absolutely adore, and that would only end up taking up space and attracting dust.
10) TV license and most subscriptions
I stopped paying our TV license because in our household we never watch live TV anymore. And at one point I was subscribed to so many streaming services! I had them all: Netflix, Disney+, Amazon, NOW TV, Apple TV, Apple Music, Spotify, and maybe a couple more.
I slashed them down to only having a couple of them that I stream the most, and I subscribe to the others only if there is a particular movie series that I want to watch (Ted Lasso, anyone?!).
Cutting down on streaming and subscriptions has saved me a few hundred pounds per year, which isn’t massive, but I would rather have £300 in my savings than a bunch of services I’m not even using in full.
In conclusion, becoming a minimalist has taught me to let go of things that no longer serve me and to focus on what truly adds value to my life. By adopting a minimalist lifestyle, I’ve not only saved money but also reduced my environmental impact and simplified my life.
With these changes, you’ll not only save money but also reduce your environmental impact and simplify your life. Give it a try and see how it feels!