I’ve found myself to be heading for a middle-age status overnight and with that a realisation came. As a ‘real’ adult I get to push a lot of the peer pressure aside and focus on just being who I am and spending my money accordingly. So here it is, for your delight, a list of 34 things I have completely stopped spending my money on in my early and now mid-thirties, in no particular order.
Seasonal home decor
I have so many Christmas decorations that I could build a Santa’s Grotto…and yet I have no desire to build one EVER. And the other holidays, or seasons for that matter? No, not my thing. I don’t put fluffy chickens on my shelf for Easter, I don’t bring pumpkins into the house in Autumn unless they’re in the meal plan. Don’t get me wrong though – my house is nice and cosy, it’s just not colour coordinated with the outside world and I don’t have the inner need to get matchy-matchy with the seasons.
I’m sorry but what would I do with an apple peeler-corer, an avocado slicer and an electric salt and pepper grinders? Yes, i totally think these are gimmicks and amongst other ‘accessories’ which instead of making lives easier make clutter, they have no place in my kitchen. And I mean it.
Nothing against these, they’re just not really my thing. I will play free games on my phone sometimes, but the only time I will willingly purchase a computer game is if it’s a gift.
And low quality clothes in general. While just saying ‘polyester’ is stretching the truth a little (it’s a material commonly used in many things, not just clothes), I’ve given up the idea of owning cheap, disposable wardrobe long time ago and switched to materials which last longer and don’t make me feel like I’m wrapped in plastic in humid British weather.
I don’t have a car and right now I have no particular desire to own one. If I ever do, chances are it will be a plug-in hybrid anyway. Petrol cars are too expensive in the UK anyway.
Religious holiday greeting cards
If I want to wish you Happy Christmas, I’ll call you. I do send postcards and greeting cards and ‘Thank you’ cards to friends and family but I stopped sending physical cards for religious holidays – I’m not religious so there really is no point for me.
Plastic food containers
Since Ikea rolled out affordable glass containers, I’m slowly getting rid of all the plastic ones I have accumulated in my 20s. About 70% of my food storage is now glass. I am likely to keep some of the more sentimental ones (including a really pretty bento box from Japan), but unless it comes with a takeaway, I’m not spending money on purchasing plastic containers.
For a couple of years now I’ve been using reusable cotton rounds and face cloths to remove my make-up. They work great and I have no intention of going back to single use facial cotton.
As with face cotton, there are alternatives and I prefer the alternatives. I’ve switched to a menstrual cup years ago and I have no plans to switch back to tampons. I should probably say that I don’t spend money on menstrual cups either, they last a long time once you buy one.
Manicures & pedicures
Over the years of paying off debt and then saving intensely, I’ve learnt to do my own. I’ve also learnt just how harmful some forms of nail coverings can be and how easy it is to maintain my own hands and feet without the help of a professional. I don’t feel like I’ve been missing out – the last time I had a manicure and pedicure (aged 28 if I recall correctly) as part of a spa experience, it was a nice pamper but it was nothing that special. The only time I’d be willing to get another one is if it’s a part of an activity with friends, but we prefer hiking and boozy brunches to be honest.
Did you know that painting walls can be done without hiring a professional? Maybe start with neutral colours first as it’s a learned skill, but once you get a good technique going, you can paint that ceiling black yourself if you really want to.
Hair removal salon treatments
Here’s the thing. My body has hair. I hibernate that hair with at-home IPL device instead of letting a stranger rip it out of my skin with a strip of wax. I’m happy with that solution and have no plans to change it. If you hate waxing and don’t want to pay for laser hair removal, there are other choices, including just letting it grow.
What can I say. I like my animals alive.
Bottled still water
I’ll buy sparkling once in a while, but I live in Europe – we have drink-safe tap water here and I’ll just have that.
I don’t pay for Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal and whatever else you might have on your mind. I do use the free versions (I ignore the ads), or use YouTube to listen to music at the rare occasions that I do listen to music. I’m more of a podcasts person myself anyway.
CDs & DVDs
While, to the point above, I don’t pay for music, I do pay for movie and TV series streaming services and use them instead of owning physical discs.
Shockingly, I’ve given up watching public TV, cable and any other scheduled TV programming long time ago. If I want to watch a specific series or a programme, I still will, but I’ll either watch it under an online streaming subscription or I’ll pay for it separately through some or other on-demand service.
I don’t need it for my broadband to run and I definitely don’t need it to receive spam voicemails. Instead, people can just call my mobile.
We’re in a lockdown now so gyms aren’t really a thing, but even before my main activity was swimming and for that I don’t pay for a monthly or yearly membership, I prefer to use leisure centres and pay as I go.
I still paint my face sometimes, don’t get me wrong. but instead of foundation I will use a BB cream mixed with priming SPF – it just works better on my crazy skin.
I can now afford a hotel and the pleasure of not sharing rooms with strangers. The last hostel I stayed in was in Peru and it was more of a guest house – I paid for a private room because I’m just past the point of being willing to bunk with strangers.
I didn’t stop because it wasn’t good, I stopped because majority of skincare brands available in drugstores use palm oil and palm oil plantations are a hotbed of female exploitation. You can’t stop a circle of poverty and pain if you keep supporting companies fueling it, even in a small way.
Monthly phone plan
I pay somewhere around £12 a month for my mobile phone. This is a far cry from advertised ‘deals’ on newer handsets costing £30-£50 per month for contracts as long as 24 or 36 months. It made no mathematical sense to me, instead I purchase my own handsets and just use a ‘rolling’ month to month sim-only deal.
I’m old now, so I pay mortgage instead. However, there is a certain benefit to renting, namely none of the responsibility for repairs, building upkeep and bizarre insurance rules are on you. Enjoy while it lasts.
Supermarket ready meals
It’s fine if you enjoy the convenience of TV dinners, but over the years I’ve worked out that I prefer to have more control over the ingredients that go into my meals. For convenience I batch-cook for the week and just pull things out of the fridge as I go.
I used to really really enjoy a good physical magazine. Whether it was Vogue or Good Housekeeping, I’d leaf through them with pleasure. But over the last few years the level of advertising has really got me thinking that if I really want to pay for what in essence is a glossy book of ads, I might just as well go get the Argos catalogue instead. I will still on occasion buy a short term subscription to online versions of magazines such as The Economist or National Geographic, but long gone are the days when a monthly subscription arrives at my door.
Just like with polyester, I don’t like things which fall apart in second wash and what I really can’t stand is the stench of acrylic yarn. No, I have no idea why I’m so sensitive to it, it just smells very chemically to me.
Charity donations to organisations that are inefficient and ineffective
I will donate to charities, but not for them to waste my money. Because what’s the point? I won’t name the names but more than one comes to mind.
Overpriced cut flowers
I’m not the £40 per bouquet girl. I’m the £4.99 per bouquet girl. If you want to spend £40, we can do something more lasting with that money.
Printer ink and paper
I get that these are inevitable in some circumstances. I avoid such circumstances and I am yet to experience FOMO.
Planners and calendars
I used them during university (I graduated in 2011!) only to realise that I am not really into physical planners. I journal in a normal composition notebooks every so often, but I do not have the need for a physical planner. And if I want a to-do list or a schedule? I’ll set it in my phone or just note it down on a flyaway piece of paper.
Fitness and diet plans online
I have now given up entirely believing that an online paid-for service can actually help me more than a free version. it’s very sad, but they just don’t work for me if I am unmotivated, and if I am motivated free exercise plans will do the trick.
Fake gems just don’t hold the same attraction as they did when I was younger – instead I’d rather have less jewellery but only have pieces which are in some way precious to me and hold value for whoever needs to handle them when I am no longer alive.
Beauty box subscriptions
I used to really enjoy Birchbox and a handful of it’s competitors but guess what…I am yet to find a beauty subscription box that only has sustainable, vegan-friendly, clean cosmetics, is carbon neutral and operates as a BCorp. I’m not going to develop it, so if you are up for the task, feel free to run with that business idea and please let me have your digits so I can buy. Ta.
What has dropped off your own purchases list recently?