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Most of us don’t live, ahem, as frugally as we should. Instead, we overspend on items that we don’t actually need—and while there are some instances where it’s okay to splurge, like a leather jacket that will never go out of style, there are others you should just save money on. These 10 items are a good place to start cutting back.
1. Professional Hair Treatments
A cut and color is one thing, but any treatment promising you thicker, softer, shinier locks is a waste of money. Your hair will probably look lustrous, but your wallet will look slim, which is silly considering there are tons of at-home treatments (like Madison Reed) that work just as well for a fraction of the price.
Things like coconut oil, raw egg, and avocado are incredibly efficient at adding shine and moisture to dry locks, and you can apply them from the comfort of your home (bonus, in your sweatpants). If you’re not into using food as a treatment, then you can still save money by purchasing an at-home treatment from the drug store. Organix has some great options for keratin and coconut oil treatments that will only cost you about $15.
I know how important that caffeine fix is. I also know how hard it hits the bank account after a week-long streak. Bistro coffee isn’t actually any better than a good grocery-store brand, as long as you know how to fix it up. You can take that $30 you’d normally spend at Starbucks to purchase a large bag of coffee grounds, your favorite form of creamer, those fancy-flavored syrups and sweeteners from the store, and drink off of it for at least three weeks.
The bonus of skipping a daily trip to the coffee shop? You can actually control what goes into your coffee and guarantee that you like the way it tastes. There’s no chance of it all being messed up by an under-or-over-caffeinated barista.
No one can tell the difference between pricey mascara from Sephora and the drugstore brands. You might think that there’s a stark difference in the appearance, but there’s literally not. My $7 Maybelline Falsies mascara looks just as thick and dark from where you’re standing as whatever Dior/Chanel/M.A.C. mascara you’ve been wasting $30-$40 on.
Some pampering is okay every now and then. Weekly trips for manicures and pedicures is pushing the budgeting envelope, though. You don’t need to have your cuticles managed by a “professional” all the time. It’s just as easy to tend to your nails and nail beds at home yourself, and there’s less chance of infection from poorly cleaned tools or someone clipping a little too much off. You already own nail clippers (if you don’t, go to the store now), polish, lotion, and have a sink or tub to soak your feet in. Just buy a pumice stone to scrub your feet and you’ve got your own personal salon.
5. Eating Out for Lunch Every Day
I know it’s hard to pack a lunch every morning before work, but you can pack it at night before bed, so there’s really no reason to eat out every single weekday. It saps your wallet of life and likely adds too many calories to your daily intake. I promise that it’s not hard to plan your lunches and prepare them ahead of time. All it takes is a little time, and as a reward you can use more of your money for the essentials, like rent and shoes.
Socks are awesome. I love socks more than I love sweatpants. I’m still not going to spend $20 on one pair, though. Socks are one of those essential clothing items you don’t actually need to spend a small fortune on. You can find quality socks from Target, scout’s honor, and they’ll leave you just as satisfied as the designer pair hiding inside your boots. Besides, that label isn’t doing you any favors when it’s hidden beneath shoes and pants.
7. Bottled Water
Props for making an effort to sip responsibly. However, purchasing disposable water bottles multiple times a day, even just once a day, isn’t responsible for your wallet or the environment. It’ll cost more up front, but it’s wiser to purchase a reusable water bottle and carry it in your purse to refill throughout the day.
8. Home Decor
A nice dwelling means you’ve made it, right? It can also mean an empty bank account. There comes a point when you’re buying things for your home despite the fact you don’t actually need new pillows, fancy cutting boards, three more coffee cups, or that trendy lamp. If your home is already decorated, and you still like the way you decorated, then why do you keep spending money on items that will just clutter your home? If you’re looking to spruce things up, rearrange the place every once in a while. I like to to decorate my apartment too, but I also like having money to buy gas.
9. Food Delivery Services
Don’t be lazy. It’s super convenient to order delivery, but it’s also super expensive. The price of food from the restaurant, plus the delivery fee, plus the tip you have to pay the delivery person simply isn’t worth it. You have to wait on the food anyway, so you might as well go pick it up yourself—or, you know, just cook your own food and save even more money.
10. Music Streaming Services
You know the radio is free, right? I love a good streaming sesh when I’m at work as much as the next girl, or when I’m at home, but I refuse to pay for it. Yeah, ads suck. There’s this thing called volume, though, that really helps you make it through them. You really don’t need to pay for a subscription to Pandora or Spotify when there are free options available to you. If you’re living above your means, then this is one of the first expenses you need to reevaluate.