It’s 2024, so it’s a good time to look at your spending — more specifically, what can you stop buying?
What should go on your “no buy” list for 2024? Consider cutting expenses that provide little value, have cheaper alternatives or enable bad habits. For example, eliminate subscription services you don’t use, stop ordering takeout when you can cook or quit buying expensive morning coffees and make your own.
Even small spending changes add up over time. Going into 2024 with an eye on cutting wasteful costs can set you up for financial success. So take a few minutes to identify some things to stop buying and redirect that money to what matters most to you.
Here are 13 things to stop buying in 2024.
Not only are plastics eating away at the planet, but they’re unnecessary and a waste of money. Rather than single-use plastic water bottles, sandwich baggies and straws, find non-disposable products you can wash and reuse. Some estimates predict that it could take up to 1,000 years for plastic bags to become organic matter, according to a report from the Toronto Environmental Alliance.
Jumbo-Sized Food Packages
We are suckers for the seemingly great deals on food at the warehouse stores, but unless you have a super-large family, use your will power. That bag of avocados looks like a bargain compared to the per-avocado price at the grocery store, but if you wind up throwing them out, that bargain is a bust.
According to Feeding America, nearly 38% of all food in the country is wasted, amounting to a loss of $444 billion per year.
Who says a beautifully presented gift has to be given wrapped in colorful paper? Quality wrapping paper is pricey, and that paper can clog the landfills. It’s not all recyclable, either. According to Zero Waste Canada, Canadians produce 540,000 tons of gift wrapping and shopping bag waste per year. Additionally, Greenpeace found that just one kilogram of wrapping paper generates 3.5 kilograms of carbon dioxide during production.
Instead, reuse your clean paper lunch bags to wrap small gifts and finish them off with twine or yarn and greenery — and save the “ribbons” to use again! For larger gifts, buy a festive recyclable grocery bag as the gift bag, and you’ve given a second present that the recipient will use throughout the year.
Birthday and Greeting Cards
It really is the thought that counts when it comes to sending someone a nice birthday greeting, thank you note or congratulations on a big life event, but no one said you had to do so in a formal card and envelope. Sites like 123cards.com have a plethora of e-cards to choose from, with more designs than you are likely to find on display at a retail store.
On Jan. 21, 2024, USPS is raising the price of a Forever stamp from 66 to 68 cents, so save yourself some money and go electronic with greetings.
From streaming services to meal kits to online newspaper subscriptions, it’s a real jungle out there. In fact, Americans spend an average of $133 per month more than they even realize on unused memberships, according to CNBC, citing survey data from C+R Research.
Use a tool like Rocket Money to see what you currently subscribe to and where you can make cuts. However, be aware that some apps may charge fees for subscription cancellation.
Gas (Without an App)
AAA shared that, as of early 2024, gas prices are $3.08 a gallon on average in the U.S., but why settle for the average when you could get it cheaper?
A variety of apps will lower the price each time you fill up, including GasBuddy and Upside.
Store-bought surface, bathroom and glass cleaners are loaded with harmful chemicals that may be toxic to breathe in over a long period of time.
There’s another option to get the same fresh feeling around your house without putting yourself in harm’s way — and you can save money in the process. Go DIY with your own concoction, such as a mix of vinegar or baking soda with water and some essential oils for a bright finishing scent.
The resale market is having a huge moment right now. According to a report by secondhand clothing platform ThredUp, the global secondhand market is expected to nearly double by 2027, reaching $350 billion.
Given the popularity, sites like ThredUp, Poshmark, eBay and even Facebook Marketplace are great spots to get deals on gently used clothing — some still with tags — rather than pay the markup for brand-new apparel.
When you find yourself in need of some quick cash, resist stopping at the first ATM you see, because you could pay for the convenience. A 2023 GOBankingRates survey of bank ATM fees found that $2.83 is the average bank fee for using a machine outside of your bank’s ATM network in the United States.
Check your bank’s app for the location of local branches; after all, if you’re in an unfamiliar area, you won’t know there’s a branch just a block down the road. Or stop into a local drug or grocery store that offers cash back with a purchase, buy that shampoo you need and get an extra $20 back at the register.
Travel insurance was a big focus during the COVID-19 pandemic, when restrictions prevented people from traveling if they contracted COVID-19. But now, with the easing of the virus thanks to vaccines, you can consider skipping the insurance.
“You generally don’t need travel insurance if you’re not putting down large non-refundable trip deposits or if your health plan will cover you at your destination,” Forbes advised. Many credit cards you pay for travel with may have their own protection policies, too.
With the availability to watch live TV through services like YouTube TV and Sling TV, there really isn’t a need to hang on to your costlier cable plan anymore. The average cable TV plan costs about $83 per month, but a basic YouTube TV subscription is just $72.99. By switching to YouTube TV, you can save around $10 per month compared to traditional cable packages.
Supplement the service you choose with a streaming service like Netflix or Hulu, and you’ll come out way ahead at the end of the year.
Morning Coffee Runs
It has been reported over and over again, but it’s true: Those $5 lattes five days a week can really drain your wallet. Consider making coffee at home and bringing it with you in a reusable cup. You’ll save over $1,000 a year.
Even grabbing coffee two to three times a week instead of every day can lead to big savings.
It’s easy to toss things in your cart at the grocery store or online retailer without thinking. But those small purchases add up substantially over time. Give yourself a cooling off period before purchases. Wait 24 hours and see if you still want or need that item. Chances are the urge will pass, and you’ll keep the money in your wallet.
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