Every waking hour, consumers are bombarded with deals. Online and on TV, in magazines and on the sides of buses, ads show us objects we can't possibly live without. Except that we usually can. How do you suppose people managed before greeting card companies made birthday cards "from the cat" or "from me and the dog"? Before applesauce came in tubes? Before we started thinking our blankets needed sleeves? This list of things you don't need is by no means exhaustive, but it's a start.
1. Bottled water.
"It's more expensive than gasoline... $6.40 per gallon for a liquid I can get for free at home," writes Karla Bowsher at Money Talks News. If you live where the water tastes weird (howdy, Phoenix!), get yourself a filter. Bowsher's article lists top-rated models that start at under $20.
2. Paper plates.
for a picnic in the park, maybe. But why not get a set of unbreakable dishes for picnics, barbecues and visits from the grandbabies? That's certainly greener and ultimately cheaper if you shop thrift stores and yard sales.
3. Paper napkins.
Notice a pattern here? Reusable beats disposable any time. I got six cloth napkins for a quarter at a rummage sale; check post-holiday clearance sales, too. Or buy a fabric remnant and sew your own.
4. Paper cups in the bathroom.
if you're that concerned about germs, carry the cup to the kitchen each morning and toss it in the dishwasher. Note: Some people "cup" their palms and bring water to their mouths. Just sayin'.
5. Disposable hand towels.
I couldn't believe my eyes when I first saw these advertised. Neither could Mrs. Money of the Ultimate Money Blog: "The last thing we need is another disposable product, especially one that is pretty much useless and replaces something that has worked well for so many years." What she said.
6. Disposable flossers.
Bathrooms sure are full of, um, waste. Rolls of floss go on sale all the time. (Post continues after video.)
7. Name-brand OTC meds.
Compare ingredient labels for any over-the-counter medications you need; when in doubt, talk to the pharmacist. Tip: Know what things cost since name-brand pills might be cheaper with a sale plus coupon and/or rebate.
8. Sandwich bags.
No need to buy and toss, buy and toss. Put your PBJs in a reusable container.
9. Lunch bags.
They're still for sale, but I don't know why. Get yourself a reusable lunchbox or lunch bag. (I found mine in the free box at a yard sale.)
Your phone came with a ringer installed. Use it.
11. Diaper Genie.
A mechanized trashcan just for nappies? Throw them in the household garbage just as people did back in the dark ages.
Be honest: How many of your DVDs have been watched more than once? Now: Add up what you've spent on them. When your headache goes away, remember you can probably get DVDs free from the public library.
Libraries have books, too. Unless you plan to read a title numerous times (see "DVDs," above) why are you dropping $30 per hardback? Those best-sellers show up pretty quickly in used-book shops, yard sales and thrift stores.
14. Magazine subscriptions.
Are you reading the ones you have? Then why keep subscribing? Your favorites may be available for free at the library. (What swell places libraries are.)
15. Pet costumes.
Do I really have to explain?
First, put your bathrobe on backward. Next, congratulate yourself on all the money you just saved.