10 Items to Stop Buying Today: How to Become a Minimalist and Save Cash

How to Become a Minimalist and Save Cash: 10 Items to Stop Buying Today
IStock/gilaxia

Less is more, or at least that’s the case for those of us that yearn to live more minimally. Whether you want to save money, live more sustainably, or you’re sick of the clutter gathering in your home, minimalism is getting more popular everyday. After all, what’s not to like? You get to save money for a rainy day and you don’t have to pick up your home quite as much. If you’re looking to reduce your shopping list and save money at the same time, here are some items that you don’t need to buy.

1. All purpose spray

Even if you buy eco-friendly brands, it’s difficult to know what’s really in all purpose cleaning spray. Instead, stop buying it entirely and make your own. Fill an old spray bottle up half way with white vinegar and the rest of the way with water. Add five to ten drops of lemon essential oil and you’ve got a great all purpose spray made for pennies. Keep refilling it as you need more. It works great for surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom and even on glass.

2. Paper towels

Paper towels are a massive waste of trees, not to mention they can also be costly. Stop buying them altogether by saving rags and ripping up old towels. Keep a crate full of old rags so you never run short and then throw them into the wash as needed.

3. Toner

Toner is great for opening up the pores before you moisturize your skin. But you don’t have to buy expensive skin toner to enjoy the benefits. Save the spray bottle from your empty container and make your own toner by adding one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar per ounce of water. Add it into your skincare routine by using it after you cleanse your skin and before moisturizing.

4. Vegetable broth

Never buy vegetable broth again. It’s just so easy to make your own. Add any left over vegetables and peelings to a cookie sheet and roast at 350 degrees F for 15 minutes. Then fill a large pot half way with water and add in roasted vegetable scraps. Bring to a boil and then turn down to a simmer for two hours.

5. Shave gel

Shave gel is a completely unnecessary toiletry. When you’re shaving your legs use conditioner instead. It keeps your legs just as moisturized without the added cost. Just lather a teaspoon of your conditioner in your hands and massage it into the legs before you shave.

6. Wrapping paper

Wrapping paper is a big waste of resources and money. If you’re looking to save it, it’s easy to store enough wrapping paper so that you don’t have to buy it again. First of all, when you receive a gift, be careful removing the wrapping paper so that it doesn’t get ripped. You can also wrap up presents in old newspapers and magazines. Reuse a funky bow and you’re set for the holidays. Same with gift bags, never let them go to waste.

7. Canned beers

Cans and bottles are very recyclable but that doesn’t mean it’s okay to overuse them. It’s much greener (and more fun!) to take your beer growler in for a refill. Exchange your beer growler each week for a new one and try all sorts of local beers on tap. You can take it  to Whole Foods or other grocery stores or you can visit your favorite local brewery for a fill up.

8. Herbs

Herbs are expensive and they always come in those tiny and terribly wasteful plastic containers. Even if you’re not a gardner, starting your own simple kitchen herb garden is way easier than you think. Here’s how:

1. Choose plants depending on available sunlight. For example, basil, rosemary, and thyme require full sunlight. Chives, mint, and parsley only require partial sunlight.

2. Choose a good potting soil and get planting. Ceramic or clay pots are a great place to get started planting. If you’re not the best at gardening, keep it simple and start with the young plants rather than seeds.

3. Don’t over water. Stick your index finger into the pot up to the first knuckle to see if you have to water. If it’s dry, water, but if not, wait a day.

9. Tomato sauce

Like vegetable broth, tomato sauce is just so easy to make that you don’t need to buy it. Not to mention that it’s made with items you likely already have in your pantry.

Simple Tomato Sauce

Ingredients

1 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large can or jar whole tomatoes
2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1 tsp. nama shoyu
1/2 tsp. sugar
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Garnish with fresh basil

Directions

1. Sauté garlic in olive oil until fragrant.

2. Add canned tomatoes, using kitchen scissors to cut the tomatoes into smaller pieces. You can also use diced canned tomatoes, but I don’t think that they taste quite as good.

3. Add remaining ingredients. Turn up to a boil and then down to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes. Add veggie sausage, for a vegetarian meat sauce, or add 1/4 cup cream for a vodka sauce.

10. Body lotion

Instead of buying very costly lotion, experiment with using coconut oil instead. Unlike body lotion, with its mysterious list of ingredients, coconut oil only contains one ingredient. After bathing, massage a small amount of coconut oil into the skin. Use long strokes on the arms and legs and circular strokes on the joints. Don’t overdo it because you’ll end up feeling too greasy. Coconut oil can also be used to oil pull by swishing one teaspoon of oil in your month for up to 30 minutes. This is great for whitening your teeth on the cheap!

What are your favorite ways to save cash? Do you have some DIY tricks? We want to know about it! Drop us a line via Twitter @OrganicAuthorit

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Sara Novak
Sara Novak

Sara Novak is an independent journalist who reports on health, science, yoga, and travel. She was a writer for Discovery Communications from 2006-2013 and her work has been featured on Discovery Health, Popular Science, TLC, Animal Planet, What to Expect, TreeHugger, and many more. She’s also a certified yoga teacher. When she's not churning away on her laptop, she can be found atop her yoga mat or walking the beach with her husband, baby boy, and two lovable cocker spaniels.