Wednesday 2 March 2011

Extreme Saving - 50 Things Not to Buy

Many people reading DIY Income Investor may be thinking: "it's all very well talking about how to invest money - but I haven't got any!"

As we underlined in 5 Steps to Maximise Your Wealth Potential NOT spending money is actually pretty fundamental to getting your Money Snowball rolling. What you don't spend you can save - and a penny saved is a penny earned (a bit more actually, if you paid tax on your income!)

So this post is a challenge (to me) to list 50 things that you don't need to spend your money on - let's see how far I can get... Follow me if you want to challenge your expenditure mind-set! It may seem a bit extreme - but hopefully you will be able to adopt a couple of the suggestions and bank the savings!

House and Home:
  1. New TV/DVD Player/Radio/Bed/Settee (in fact anything) -  join your local Freecycle and see the amazing free things available; alternatively charity/goodwill shops (such as the British Heart Foundation in the UK. which resells furniture and used electrical goods)
  2. Boiler/central heating/plumbing breakdown insurance - take a bit of time to find a good local plumber/heating engineer in advance and deal with problems as they arise
  3. Product replacement insurance (for your new gadget, TV, computer, etc.) - just throwing money away: under consumer law in most countries you have a warranty for a reasonable period - usually a year and possibly more; you can also get things repaired yourself, if it is outside the warranty period
  4. Cleaning products - just use lemon juice, sodium bicarbonate and vinegar
  5. Luxury toilet tissue - why would you want to spend extra on that (although 'recycled' is good)
  6. Heating (in winter) - just wrap up (I'm currently wearing a hat and fingerless gloves - really)
  1. Second car - do you really need it (maybe you do?); but consider an electric bicycle; good for shopping/commuting destinations 3-5 miles away.
  2. First car - if you want to retire at 33
  1. Branded food and drink - supermarket 'own brands' are OK
  2. Sweets & chocolates - you don't need them, really (well OK, once in a while..)
  3. Cakes - except occasionally, as a treat
  4. Fizzy drinks (sodas) - you really don't need them - not even Diet Coke!
  5. Sugar - if you don't put it in your tea/coffee and don't make cakes/puddings, why would you need it?
  6. Most breakfast cereals - full of sugar: try porridge/oatmeal cooked in the microwave with sultanas/nuts
  7. Supermarket ready-meals - learn how to cook it yourself
  8. Full price food - only buy reduced price food in the supermarket/grocery (makes for more inventive cooking)
  9. Meat - go vegetarian (and potentially live longer to enjoy the fruits of your savings)
  1. Gym membership - walk/cycle for free; if you need exercise try 10 push-ups followed by 10 sit-ups (repeat until you've had enough)
  2. Magazine subscriptions - there's more than you could ever read for free on the Internet
  3. Garden fertiliser - create your own compost from kitchen and garden waste
  4. New DVDs - you can pick them up from video rental chains used (in the UK Blockbuster sells off 3 DVDs for £2, if you don't need the box).
  5. New CDs - What you can't download/listen for free you can probably find in a charity/goodwill shop
  6. New books -  Free from a library or cheap from a charity shop
  7. Cable/satellite movie channels - watch your own (second-hand) DVDs
  8. Rental DVDs - why rent when you can buy for less (see DVDs)
  9. Luxury holidays - consider something more modest?
Personal Care:
  1. Haircuts - do it yourself; it's easier than it seems (but if you're starting, just cut a little at a time - the secret is to keep your fingers between your scalp/ears and the scissors)
  2. Beauty treatments (pedicure, manicure, nails, etc.) - do you/your partner really need it?
  3. Contact lenses - vanity, vanity
  4. New clothes - unless you really, really need it!
  5. Branded soap/shampoo - supermarket own-brand stuff is fine
  6. Deodorant - try Pitrok (or similar) instead: it works and lasts for years...
 Eating/Drinking Out:
  1. Full-price meals in restaurants - discounts are regularly available on a wide range of restaurant meals
  2. Drinks in restaurants - overpriced: just ask for tap water
  3. Drinks in the pub/winebar - have a party at home!
  4. Starbucks/Caffe Nero/etc coffees - make your own lattes: you can froth milk by heating it in the microwave and shaking it in a closed bottle (add flavour by mixing vanilla flavouring and a little brown sugar); add to strong instant coffee
  1. Gold - costs you money to hold
  2. Unit trusts - high expense ratios
  3. Complicated investment/banking products - high expenses/commissions
  4. Any deal/account that gives you free travel insurance - you'll almost certainly find a better deal, if you look
  5. Any bank current account that charges you monthly fees - plenty of accounts around that will actually pay you good interest
  6. Anything sold to you by a financial advisor - unless you really want to give him some of your money for something you could do yourself...
Family & Friends:
  1. Presents costing more than £5 (Birthday/Christmas/Anniversary) - but it doesn't have to be cheap, the thought put into it counts
  2. Cards costing more than £1 - ditto
Well, not quite 50 yet - but I might think of a couple more...or you might have some suggestions?

Happy saving!

I am not a financial advisor and the information provided does not constitute financial advice. You should always do your own research on top of what you learn here to ensure that it's right for your specific circumstances.