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12 Things to Stop Buying That’ll Save You Tons of Cash

Cut these simple things out of your life and you'll be amazed at how much money you can save.

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Natural cleaning productsPhoto: Shutterstock

Cleaning products

So many of the store-bought cleaning products taking up your cabinet space really could be replaced with a few pantry items. DIY-ing your own cleaners is easier than you think—it’s mostly a matter of getting into the habit—and the right formulas really do work. (This list of 100+ household uses for vinegar is a great place to start!) Commit to replacing just one of your regular cleaning products with a homemade option. Get used to that, then keep going!

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Television cable

Cancel your cable bill. With services like Disney+, Netflix Canada and Amazon Prime Video, you can now watch almost anything immediately, and for a fraction of the cost of cable TV. Options such as HDTV antennas and YouTube TV work for those who love live TV, too.

Find out which streaming service is right for you.

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Impulse purchases

We’re not just talking about the items that catch your eye as you shop hungry or wait in the checkout line—but certainly resist those too. All the time we spend online makes it easy to see something we never knew we wanted and then, thanks to a few touches and swipes, have it heading our way within minutes. Make a rule that all items must sit in an online shopping cart for a minimum of one day before purchase. Bonus: Some companies offer you a discount when they notice you haven’t yet pulled the trigger. (Though be sure that in the end, need, not that discount, informs your decision.)

Want to regain control of your spending habits? Put these mindful shopping tips into practice.

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Unnecessary groceries

According to a recent study by Second Harvest, a Toronto-based food rescue charitable organization, 58 per cent of all food produced in Canada—35.5 million tonnes—is lost or wasted. That’s bad news for your wallet and the environment. Some tips to help: Plan your meals weekly, keeping what you already have on hand in mind, and make a grocery shopping list to support it. Stick to that list and shop smart when you do. Get creative with leftovers and using your freezer. (For example, a running stash of about-to-turn fruits and veggies make perfect smoothie starters.)

Check out these tricks frugal shoppers use to save big on groceries.

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Paper towel rolls on counterPhoto: Shutterstock

Paper towels and napkins

A 36-pack of microfibre cloths costs you about the same as a 12-pack of paper towels, but it will last you way longer. Invest in a stash of pretty cloth napkins, too. Keep a mini hamper under the sink to corral the dirties—and effectively keep paper products out of your kitchen.

Here are 12 things you should never clean with paper towels.

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Putting dryer sheet in the dryerPhoto: Shutterstock

Dryer sheets

Invest in a few reusable wool dryer balls instead. You’ll save money on repeat dryer-sheet purchases, plus you’ll cut down on dry-time by up to 40 per cent!

Beware of the ways you’re shortening the life of your washer and dryer.

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Greeting cards in storePhoto: Shutterstock

Greeting cards

All those $5 and $7 purchases really do add up. Switching to free e-cards instead can save you money on postage, too. Can’t stand the thought of not giving them something to have and to hold? If making cards is up your alley, go for it! (Hold an afternoon card-making session to build up a stash.)

Looking for a fun way to kick-off someone’s day? Send them one of these funny good morning GIFs!

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Vintage clothes on rackPhoto: Shutterstock

New clothes

Stop before you buy new and consider less expensive (and more eco-friendly) thrift and vintage items instead. When looking for current fashion, visit thrift stores. There are plenty of online alternatives to your local thrift store. Vintage items—those 25 years or older—are great for special occasions and statement pieces, especially. They’re easiest to score at local vintage stores or online at specialized sites such as the Etsy vintage section.

Here are 20 things you always snap up at a yard sale.

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Dining at a restaurant with friendsPhoto: Shutterstock

Meals out

Dining out is more than a $2,200 annual expense for most Canadian households, according to Statistics Canada. While no one wants to give up going out altogether, there are all kinds of ways you can bring that number down. Plan to take lunch to work or school more often. (Make it fun so it doesn’t feel like you’re skimping.) Go out during happy hour, meet for lunch instead of dinner, or opt for an appetizer potluck at home instead of an evening out once in a while.

Check out these budget-friendly three-ingredient recipes for inspiration.

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Signs of hearing loss - Handsome young man in black hoodie wears big wireless music headphones and changes audio tracks on smartphone, he smiles when looks at phone screenPhoto: Shutterstock

Apps and in-app purchases

Schedule some time to review your app subscriptions and quit any you no longer use. (Subscriptions that are automatically billed each month are easy to forget about.) If there are any you do use that have a particularly high in-app purchase rate—Candy Crush, we’re looking at you—research free or low-cost replacements. You could also set a monthly limit that you’re comfortable with, and disable in-app purchases once you’ve met it. And here’s an idea: Use apps to save money instead.

Find out 20+ thrifty tricks to make everything you own last longer.

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Bottled waterPhoto: Shutterstock

Bottled and canned water

If you haven’t already, it’s time to stop paying nearly $4 for a bottle of water when you can get it at home for virtually nothing. If you’re concerned about taste or quality, invest in a water filter and reusable water bottle. Canned sparkling water isn’t exactly cheap, either. If you’ve developed a fizzy-water habit, consider an every-other rule to help you cut back: Drink a glass of regular water between every can.

Find out what Canada’s ban on single-use plastics will mean for you—and the environment.

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Couple grocery shoppingPhoto: Shutterstock

Name-brand items

While it’s true that some generics items don’t compare quality-wise to their higher-priced brand-named counterparts, it’s also true that some generic products are literally identical. This is true of hundreds of items, including patent medicines, food, household items, and more.

Check out 50+ more proven strategies to save more money.

The Family Handyman
Originally Published on The Family Handyman