We live in a society that begs us to spend money. You name it, someone has created a commercial or social media campaign telling us why we need their product. Or even more likely these days, some company has targeted you online and knows exactly why you “need” their product. It can get overwhelming.

While it’s good to spend money on certain items, it’s just as important to save money or choose alternative options when you can. We firmly believe you can get more out of life when you’re not spending money on these five things:

Whatever the Joneses are Buying

There was a saying years ago about keeping up with the Joneses. If the Joneses had a pool, you needed to get a pool. If they got a new car, you needed a new car. We created a generation of consumerism. Then the economy crashed and the Joneses (along with a lot of other families) were left with mortgages and debt that seem insurmountable. The lesson? You don’t need what the Joneses have.

Choose what’s right for you, your family, and your budget. Know what you value and align your money and your purchases with your values. The Joneses won’t have anything on you. 

Products vs. Experiences

My husband and I bought an older SUV and a camper instead of a new car. We want to create memories spending time with family and friends on camping trips. Those memories are invaluable to us. I guarantee we’re getting more from our used SUV and camper than we would from a brand new car with a big car payment.

Impulse Buys vs. Planned Expenses

When you come back from vacation, do you dread your next credit card statement because it will have vacation expenses on it? Many people do but it doesn’t have to be that way. Rather than making an impulse buy, plan for your next vacation by saving a small amount each month. Start saving $100 per month today and in a year, you will have $1,200 for your vacation. You’ll feel more relaxed when you come home knowing you paid for your vacation with cash instead of credit.

Want help figuring out your vacation spending? Check out our vacation planning on a budget blog post.

Books

How many times do you read a book? Unless you need it as a professional reference guide or a book collector, try borrowing books and DVDs from the library rather than buying them. Or see if a friend or neighbor will lend you their copy when they’re done with it. Even e-books and audiobooks usually have a lending feature, so buying the latest best seller isn’t always necessary. You may get it for free if you’re willing to be patient. 

Cable

With Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, and a host of other affordable services, it’s hard to justify the cost of cable. Try no-cable for three months and see how you feel. Many of my clients are happy without it.

Life doesn’t have to be filled with stuff and expenses. Get more out of life when you’re not spending money on the things you feel you need to spend money on. Instead, spend money on the things you value. Try borrowing books and canceling cable. Opt for memories instead of products and try saving for an expense instead of using credit. It’s about making choices. Choose wisely how you use your money.