I’ve always been careful with how I spend my money and I’ve always been very frugal. But since I became a minimalist, there are many things I stopped buying completely.
So not only did minimalism and decluttering help me clear the clutter and create a peaceful, tidy home, but they also made me save a lot of money!
In this blog post, I write about 24 things I stopped buying as a minimalist.
My aim here is not to show off or to shame you if you buy some of those things.
This list is to inspire you to reassess what your true needs are, and encourage you to reduce your consumption in some areas of your life.
No one is perfect, and we should not try to be.
But we can inspire each other on our journey to mindful consumption and minimalist living.
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How to stop buying things you don’t need and avoid impulse buying
Decluttering is an important step on any road to minimalist living.
But it all does not end there.
We cannot make any progress in our homes if we constantly bring new things in.
We need to be more intentional about what we buy, and maybe decide that some things are just not worth purchasing anymore.
There is no right or wrong way to reduce our consumption and I cannot tell you what you should stop buying if you want to be a minimalist.
But whenever you’re tempted to buy something, make sure to think about it and ask yourself some practical questions:
- Do I really need it or love it?
- How often will I use it?
- Why/who am I buying this for?
- Can I afford to buy it?
- What purpose will this item have in my life?
- Can I wait for a week before purchasing it?
- Do I see myself using it a year from now? Five years from now?
Try to be honest with yourself.
You might realize that you may not even need some of these things.
For more helpful tips, my article about mindful shopping will help you avoid impulse purchases and consume more intentionally!
Applying all these tips to my daily life has led me to completely stop buying some things that I used to buy all the time in the past.
Not purchasing them anymore has saved me so much money and energy, so it’s worth reassessing our consumption habits from time to time!
24 things I stopped buying as a minimalist
I used to have all kinds of knick-knacks in my childhood bedroom before I moved out.
While I loved most of them, some didn’t spark joy at all.
Many were collecting dust and I did not even enjoy looking at them.
They’re just there, and we rarely think about whether we actually like them.
Now, I only display things I love and that I find truly beautiful.
And since I have more than enough, I decided that I don’t want to buy knick-knacks anymore.
2. Fast fashion
I’ve never been one to buy clothes every weekend whenever I was at the mall.
But in the past, I used to only buy fast fashion because it was cheap and easily accessible.
I didn’t have any thrift stores where I live, and sustainable clothing brands were not a thing.
Or at least, I didn’t know anything about how important it is to support ethical companies selling eco-friendly products.
For me, it means that I rarely buy any clothes anymore and I make the most out of the clothing I already have (most of which is very old).
When I need something, I try to get it second-hand (for instance, online or at thrift stores) or buy it from a sustainable brand.
I have an entire blog post about why you should quit fast fashion and how to do it, so check it out!
Over the years, I’ve accumulated different perfume bottles.
It’s silly, but I used to save them for special occasions, which meant that I barely ever used them.
I still have a lot of perfume left, so I’m not buying any new ones any time soon.
When I’ve used everything up, I don’t think that I will buy perfume again.
Almost all perfumes are full of harmful chemicals and are incredibly toxic and unhealthy.
But I also find that I like not smelling anything at all most of the time.
4. Shoes that hurt my feet
I’ve fallen several times into the trap of buying cute, trendy shoes even though they were not comfortable.
I thought that I would break them in and that I’d be fine.
But most of the time, the shoes remained very uncomfortable, and it was super annoying to walk with them.
I can’t count how many times I got blisters because of a cute pair of shoes!
I said no more!
Comfort is very important to me, so I only buy shoes that are comfortable now.
Because we can have shoes that are both comfy and beautiful (and sustainable!).
5. The latest tech
Technology is very expensive!
So a long time ago, I decided to stop buying the latest gadgets.
I don’t want to spend a large part of my income to buy just one thing, and I’m content with the devices I currently have.
None of them cost an arm and a leg, and both my phone and computer are 7+ years old.
This is money I can spend on things that matter more to me, like experiences or traveling.
6. Chewing gum
This one is very random, I know!
But four years ago, I decided to stop buying chewing gum.
I learned that gums contained many unhealthy ingredients and that constantly chewing them can be bad for our jaws and cause other issues.
Gums are also polymers, which are basically plastic.
As an environmentalist, knowing that this tiny piece of plastic will sit in a landfill for hundreds of years bothers me.
If I want to prevent bad breath, I now eat a piece of fruit instead.
I also love that I don’t have any gum packaging cluttering up my purse or bag anymore!
7. New books
When I became a minimalist, I completely stopped buying new books!
Books are some of the easiest things we can get second-hand, which means that we don’t need to buy them new anymore.
There are countless websites where we can buy used books at a fraction of their retail price!
We can also use the library, or get them from little free libraries scattered around our neighborhoods.
And for those who prefer a digital format, an e-reader is another amazing option!
8. Stationery supplies
When I left university several years ago, I still had many stationery supplies from my school years.
And since then, I’ve barely used any of them, apart from a few pens and notebooks.
So it’s been many years since I last bought stationery and I don’t plan on buying anything new anytime soon.
I do all my work on the computer, so I don’t need a lot of them anymore.
9. Things that are on sale
Don’t get me wrong, I love buying things that are on sale if I initially intended to purchase them.
What I mean here is that, as I strive to be more minimalist, I’ve stopped buying things just because they are on sale.
When we buy stuff we don’t need, even if it’s on sale, we’re not saving money.
We’re losing money.
Doing so is a money mistake that I wish I had learned from sooner!
10. Single-use kitchen appliances
Since we moved in together with my boyfriend five years ago, we’ve always had a tiny kitchen with little storage.
It means that we cannot have kitchen appliances that we can only use for a specific purpose.
I found that we would rarely ever use them, and the rest of the time, they would take up so much space in the cupboards.
Instead, we try to only have multipurpose appliances and items.
11. Ingredients I don’t know how to use
When I left my last job, I was gifted a lovely set of ingredients to make my own skincare and haircare products.
I really loved the present and the gesture!
Unfortunately, after trying several recipes, I realized that DIYing skincare was not for me.
I didn’t like using the products I had created and I ended up not using many ingredients.
I tried to use them up as much as I could, but I did not like some of them and did not know how to use them, so I had to toss them.
Which I hate!
I decided to never buy DIY ingredients again unless I know exactly how to use them and that I will like them.
In the past, I used to always buy a souvenir from the places I visited.
Whether that was clothing, a flag, or a knick-knack, I just had to get something!
When I traveled to Vietnam four years ago, I initially thought I would buy a beautiful straw hat.
But when I was there, I realized that the most precious things I can take back home are my memories and the pictures I took.
I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s so true!
So I decided against the straw hat, and I don’t regret it.
Since then, I have not bought a single souvenir and I prefer it that way.
There is nothing wrong with buying souvenirs when traveling, but it’s my personal preference not to!
13. Disposable products
When I transitioned to sustainable living and zero waste, I cut out most disposable products from my life.
I stopped buying plastic water bottles and switched to a stainless steel one.
I also stopped buying disposable razors and purchased a reusable stainless steel razor instead.
Of course, for some things, we need duplicates.
But for others, having several models of the same item can be useless.
Now, since I know what I own in my home, I consciously try not to buy duplicate items.
Duplicates can accumulate quickly, and they can take up a lot of room in our space!
15. Things I’ve not used up yet
If I’ve not used up a product yet, I will usually not buy a replacement until I run out of it.
I live in a small apartment, so I don’t have a ton of storage space.
I like using this rule when it comes to food and bathroom products, but also to clothing and shoes.
For instance, if I still have a perfectly good pair of sandals, I’m not going to buy another one.
16. Professional haircuts
After a hairdresser completely messed up my hair several years ago, getting a haircut has been a stressful event for me!
So last year, I watched a tutorial on how to cut my own hair and asked my mom if she could help me.
To be honest, I loved the result and we couldn’t even tell I cut my hair on my own!
I have done it several times since then, and let me tell you, you’re not going to see me at the hair salon any time soon!
Plus, it saves me money because haircuts can be pretty expensive.
17. Body products
Embracing mindful consumption has helped me cut out so many things from my life!
For instance, I no longer buy body products like shaving creams, shower gels, scrubs, or lotions.
This makes everything so much simpler!
18. Pre-made meals
When we are busy, it’s so tempting to get a pre-made meal and simply reheat it.
But since I’ve been working from home, I try to avoid those as much as I can.
I try to cook simple, healthy meals most of the time.
This healthier choice also helps me reduce waste in the kitchen because pre-made meals are often packaged in plastic.
19. Cleaning products
When I learned about the toxicity of conventional, chemical-laden cleaners, I decided to switch to natural, non-toxic products only.
I always make my own multipurpose cleaner and use simple ingredients to clean around my home.
I have an entire blog post about my sustainable and minimalist cleaning routine, so feel free to read it!
I sometimes like getting some magazines from the library, but I completely stopped buying them as I became more minimalist.
Magazines usually get outdated after only a few months, so we rarely reread them.
As a result, I don’t find it useful to purchase them and I prefer borrowing them.
They also contain many ads, which I’m not a fan of as they encourage us to consume more.
Plus, I don’t like the idea of buying magazines just to throw them in the recycling bin right after reading them.
21. Excessive gifts
I love showing my loved ones that I care about them and I want to give gifts they will truly enjoy.
But I had to learn over the years that it does not mean I need to buy many presents.
I remind myself that quality is better than quantity.
So I stopped buying excessive gifts, and instead, give meaningful presents.
I focus on getting something the person will really want and use regularly.
22. Things I can get for free
There are so many things we can get for free instead of buying them!
For instance, if I need something, I first see if I can borrow it from someone I know.
When I had to furnish my apartment and was on a tight budget, I also looked on Buy Nothing groups in my local area to see if people were giving away furniture.
I’ve gotten 5 chairs and a chest of drawers that simply needed a fresh coat of paint!
I even found a perfectly working drying rack on the street that people took out for trash day.
So before I buy stuff, I usually make sure to check if there’s a way I can get it for free first.
I’ve always loved purses and I used to buy them regularly in the past.
Since I did not invest in quality, I had to replace them from time to time.
But six years ago, my brother kindly gifted me a gorgeous leather handbag for my birthday, and it’s so high-quality that it still looks like new!
Plus, I love it so much that I simply do not want to use any other purse, so I do not buy them anymore.
I use the one I prefer, and I’m very content with it.
24. Bank fees
This one is not necessarily something I do not buy, but rather something I stopped paying for.
Several years ago, I switched to a bank that offered a free account with a free debit card.
It means that I now do not have any bank fees to pay each month, which saves me money in the short and long run.
I’ve always considered bank fees as a sunk cost, so I couldn’t be happier that I can now eliminate them from my life completely!
Final thoughts on these 24 things I stopped buying as a minimalist
I hope you found this list of 24 things I stopped buying as a minimalist helpful and that it inspired you to reassess your needs and wants.
Remember, you don’t have to stop purchasing any of these things if you don’t want to.
This list is here to help you decide whether you still want to continue buying certain things or not.
It’s here to encourage you to rethink the way you consume and to make you realize that you maybe want to cut out some things from your life as well.
If you liked this list, you might be interested in these articles too:
What are some things you stopped buying as a minimalist?
I’d love to read about what you’ve decided to live without!
And don’t forget to share this article with your friends to inspire them to shop more intentionally!