things I stopped buying

15 Things I Stopped Buying and Didn’t Miss

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This post was inspired by one of my favourite personal finance websites, The Financial Diet. Check out their version of the article here.

‘Don’t buy shit you don’t need’ – how many times have we all heard this six-word money advice? It sounds so simple, right?

The thing is, the definition of ‘shit you don’t need’ will differ greatly from person to person. What I think I don’t need and can cut from my budget is someone else’s necessity item, either required for their life/work or something they decided is worth the expense and thus budgeted in (instead of budgeted out).

Here are 15 things I have personally stopped buying and realised I didn’t miss.

#1 – A Car

Sometimes, the fact that I don’t own a car really surprises people around me. It’s considered a rights-to-passage-to-adulthood expense, something people buy as they start working.

I used to have a car. Not mine, my family’s. Am privileged enough to be loaned a car by my Dad, who is something of a car enthusiast. He enjoys buying still-in-good-quality secondhand cars. And I benefited from it. All throughout college and uni, I had no problems going around.

But after I lived in KL for a few years, I realised I didn’t need it, I can take the public transport to work. In 2014, I returned the car and never looked back.

Not having a car had its downsides, definitely. But I think it also led me to this career path. I think I became a work-from-home writer partially due to this reason. I’m thankful that the limitation guided me to where I am now. I love my work.

Shoutout to Grab, Uber (RIP Uber Malaysia) and now MyCar for helping me get around, when I need to!

Money saved: at least RM500 a month.

#2 – Water

That water bottle in my going-out bag have probably saved me hundreds of ringgit. The money-saving benefits are obvious here, especially when I eat at restaurants with pricey drinks, but I also like the time-saving benefits that comes with this habit. I don’t have to look around for water when I’m thirsty while I’m out and about. Time is money.

But also, it encourages me to drink more plain water. I think it benefited my skin a lot. It rarely acts up, so I don’t need to buy special skincare or makeup. My beauty routine is pretty minimal.

#3 – Sanitary Pads/Tampons

One of the best purchases I made is a menstrual cup. It saved me so much money, no joke!

Rough calculation on how much I saved so far:

  • Years used – ~5 years = 60 months
  • Usual sanitary pads expenses per month = ~RM5-10 (median: RM7.50)
  • Rough estimation of money saved: RM7.50 x 60 months = RM450

My menstrual cup costs around RM80, so you can see how much it paid for itself several times over. If you don’t like the idea of menstrual cups, there’s also the washable sanitary pads option. If you’re interested to try, look at the selection available at The Hive Shop.

#4 – TV Set

Everything I want to watch is online anyway. I bought a set last time, back in my rented apartment in KL, when I still had housemates. We didn’t use it much.

I do miss the bonding time when we did use it though.

#5 – Weight Loss Products and Services

Detox Slimming Tea. Slimming sessions. Fat-reducing pills. Weight loss shakes.

I tried them, and STILL the only thing that worked was good ‘ol watching the diet plus exercise.

Exercise especially benefited me A LOT. For in-depth write-up on that, see my [Personal] I Never Imagined Exercise Would Help My Career and Income, Until It Did article.

#6 – Hair Colouring Products & Services

things I stopped buying

I’ve done red, jet-black, blue-black and light brown. And my favourite hair colour is still my natural hair colour.

My sisters say my white hair makes my hair appear lighter in colour. I’m okay with that! Plus I think women with silver hair is sexy af.

#7 – Piercings

I used to have 7 piercings in my left ear. Took all but one out. It was a failed attempt at self-expression. I’m just not edgy enough to live with the inconvenience.

#8 – Red meat

Okay, technically I still sometimes buy them, but very, very rarely. Beef is expensive. And I know they take a lot of energy to produce and generate a lot of waste to the environment.

When the cravings do kick in, I simply plan social dates around it. Others can cook it much better than I can anyway.

#9 – Jewellery

things I stopped buying

I get enough jewellery hand-me-downs and gifts that I never need to purchase more of them. I still check out Lovisa at the malls though because God they’re pretty.

Btw, if you’re losing weight, don’t buy rings yet. Your fingers might slim down too. I can’t wear my rings anymore 🙁

#10 – Paper Towels

Reusable kitchen rags for the win! I bought 3-pack microfibre cloths from Tesco a few years back, and they serve really, really well as kitchen rags.

My system is:

  • 1 x clean one for hand-drying
  • 1 x for wiping counters and spills (after the clean one is slightly dirtier)
  • 1 x on standby, freshly laundered
  • Rotate all three

If there are bigger spills, I simply go to my bag of old clothes and cut out some rags to use. They get thrown away.

#11 – Contact Lens

Can’t justify the expense when glasses make much more sense. Plus I like my eye colour too.

Related: Hack: How to Get Below-RM100 Glasses

 #12 – Tote bags

things I stopped buying

Companies at events can’t seem to stop giving them away for free, so why should I buy them? I have like 10 now.

In the same context, I’m still using the reusable bags HappyFresh used to give out last time. I can’t recall the last time I bought a reusable bag.

#13 – Panadol

When I do need to get medicine for simple colds, I get the generic paracetamol, not Panadol, the branded version. Does the same thing but big price difference.

#14 – Clothes and Makeup I Don’t Think I’ll Wear Often Enough

Clothes-shopping and makeup-shopping take me forever. Whenever I see something I like, I will always ask myself if I will wear it enough to justify the expense.

It’s still fun to browse in shops and add stuff to my online shopping carts. Every time I didn’t make the purchase, I do a little joy-dance inside. I feel happy overcoming all their marketing efforts, you know? In a you-don’t-have-that-much-power-over-me sort of way.

Related: Save Money on Fashion: 5 Steps I Use to Optimise My Clothing Budget and My 5 Rules to Make Beauty Products Affordable

#15 – Home decor

Home decor, in my household, have the tendency to become clutter instead. I have no idea how people maintain living spaces full of knick-knacks. Is there magic involved? How do you find the time and energy to dust everything?

Things I Want to Stop Buying

There are still some things I can’t wait to stop buying. Paperback books, for example – I’m eyeing the Kindle Paperwhite (do you know where I can get them for a good price in Malaysia? My budget is around RM500). I also want to stop buying tobacco and fast food, for obvious reasons.

Then there’s all the plastic in my life that I want to significantly reduce. The zero-waste community gave me some great ideas. Maybe I’ll stop buying plastic toothbrushes (and use bamboo ones) and stuff with unnecessary packaging. I like the idea of switching to soap bars and shampoo bars too.

What Have You Stopped Buying?

What have you realised you didn’t need and stopped buying? What do you plan to stop buying? Share in the comments!

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    i KNOW there’s the option of having an e-reader BUT books are my drugs and i don’t wanna quit (even tho my bank account is begging me to stop)

    i can’t seem to quit buying books esp during big bad wolf / book fest. “It’s 50% off!”
    Plus, i dont smoke/do drugs/alcohol binge so it’s a good hobby right. and no, libraries are not a solution because the selection is very below par aaaaaaand i dont do book exchanges either because i cannot tahan giving/lending my precious babies to others.

  2. Stop buying bundles on promotion cheap products. Be it at supermarket, shopping mall or hygiene lots like watson and guardian. Just buy what you need for the next 2-3months. More than that, you’re risking expiry and using products of under quality. Plus you don’t want to be using your whole monthly income in one payment and be counting cents until the next salary. Just my 2 cents. Control.

    1. What kind of bundles? Is it the same or different than buying in bulk? Because buying in bulk is generally a good thing

      1. Lets say your personal hair shampoo is on super promo. Buying 10 bottles in a go is not a good choice. Bulk is only good if you have the capacity of using it in a given time frame. That’s why they work better for shops since they sell it out. Plus every 6 months or so new improved formula comes out with SAME PRICE and you will be left with previous version to finish up.

  3. I want to stop buying:
    – Extra groceries that will eventually rot before I cook. 🙁
    – Pad if I can successfully switch to menstrual cup! (Bought for 1.5 yrs dy, already give up trying lol)
    – Any single-use item that will end up in landfill.

    Btw, I bought bamboo toothbrush produced by Green Ideal Cottage, RM8 per piece for a set of 5. Shared it with my friends.

  4. I stopped buying:
    Pretty stationery – I use those my office provide instead. Works the same why pay more?

    Eye cream & Hair treatment – I am using a good face oil so I just dab it around my eyes and apply the ends of my hair instead of shelling more money on more products.

    Sunscreen – Buy a foundation with high SPF in it. Wear UV cut cardigan to cover my hands when I’m walking outside

    Accessories – I just wear a gold earring my mom gave me which goes with everything. Plastic and fabric earrings are pretty and fashionable but they don’t last which equals to waste of money.

    1. I’d agree with all except for sunscreen. I think it’s important to wear them even when indoors, and I don’t want to limit my clothes to only UV options.

      On pretty stationary, lol, I know what you mean. But sometimes I do get tempted by that pizza-shaped pen lol

  5. Nice write up! I got my Kindle 3 years back for about 500 ringgit from It was the version with no back light. Don’t think you can get the Paperwhite for a similar sum; if you could do splurge on the Paperwhite as it’s really no fun carrying a reading light along wherever we go especially if you like to read at bedtime.

      1. I have had Kindles for years…. Greatest purchase ever!! So many free books are available too …. Many sites give you this option. Plus you can save or print documents and send to the Kindle. Can borrow books from others for a short period of time so great way to read without cost. Thousands of books can be stored only get a Paperwhite because can be read anywhere at any time

  6. I asked my friend who studied in England to help me buy Kindle Paperwhite during BlackFriday sales last year. It was only £79, approximately RM430.


      That reminds me. My sister is going for UK+Europe trip. Omg I can ask her! Thanks for the tip!

  7. I absolutely hate, hate, HATE the judging looks, snide comments and downright scolding (all in the name of “for your own good”) I get whenever people know I don’t drive, even though I have a car. It’s pointless and so much hassle, especially if you live in the Klang Valley where there are so many public transport and ride-hailing options available. IDK, maybe to them taking public transport is equal to being low-class or whatever, but I find it saves me a lot of money and makes me more conscious of managing my time. Plus, it’s pretty fun (except when it’s raining cats and dogs) and you get to learn a lot about the city.

    1. Just smile and say ‘thanks for your concern’ and change the topic sis 🙂

      And yes, I agree. Learning about the city via public transportation is hella fun! I also love listening to music and podcasts in the train, so relaxing.

      (must admit – this is only fun because I work from home most of the time, so going out is a novelty. Probably not as fun if I have to do it every day)

  8. I have not stopped buying anything useless, I just avoid malls altogether. And if possible, I buy everything online. Save me the hassle to find parking, push a cart full of goods, carrying them from car park to home ( i live in a condo) and most importantly, paying for parking. Maybe, I need to rethink about the toy purchases for my kids.

    1. Reducing exposure to temptations is a GREAT strategy (which I should implement more haha). Thanks for sharing your tip, ayidun!

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