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 may be someone else’s ‘worth it’ purchase – 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 became a work-from-home writer thanks to being car-free. I’m thankful that the limitation guided me to where I am now, because I genuinely love my work (on most days).

Shoutout to Grab, Uber (RIP Uber Malaysia) and various ride-sharing and car-hiring platforms for helping me get around, when I need to!

Money saved: at least RM1000 a month.

#2 – Extras

‘Extras’ is just a catch-all phrase I use to categorise ‘things I don’t need more than one’. For example, a water bottle. I have exactly one bottle, that’s it.

Another example is phone case – I only have one. Just don’t see the point in having more.

#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 save in 5 years’ timeframe:

  • Years used – 5 years = 60 months
  • Usual sanitary pads expenses per month = ~RM10
  • Rough estimation of money saved: RM10 x 60 months = RM600

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, I got the one from The Hive Shop and recommend it, the quality is good.

#4 – Starbucks

I go to Starbucks (or other coffeeshops) maybe like once a year, and mostly out of necessity, like when my home wifi failed on me.

If not mistaken, the last time I went to Starbucks for their drink was to try their Pumpkin Spice Latte. It’s ok, too sweet for my taste. Managed to satisfy the basic white girl in me.

#5 – Game consoles

God, I used to LOVE playing my PlayStation and Wii consoles. But I don’t think I can or want to go down that rabbithole again. I don’t want to start collecting game consoles again.

In any case, it’s not even a big deal. Steam is there whenever the mood for gaming strikes. This is enough, I don’t need to buy a RM3k device plus hundreds per game (and they don’t even sell pirated DVD games anymore, unlike last time… not that I condone pirating..)

#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 are sexy af.

#7 – Piercings

I used to have 7 piercings in my left ear. Took all but one out.

In all sincerity, it was a failed attempt at self-expression. I’ve accepted 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.

#10 – Home decor

As much as I like the idea of home decor, in my household they 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?

#11 – Contact Lens

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

Related: 3 Ways to Save Money on Your Prescription Glasses in Malaysia

 #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, add stuff to my online shopping carts and turn it into a fun little activity, before closing the tab.

In fact, 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.


#15 – Things I Can’t Afford to Pay in Full

And lastly, OF COURSE I won’t buy anything I can’t pay in full.

A house may be the ONLY exception, but for everything else, I will only consider purchasing IF I have the money to pay for it. If I don’t have the funds, then no putting the expense on credit card, no turning into instalments, no BNPL, nada.

Things I Want to Stop Buying

There are still some things I can’t wait to stop buying. Things like 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!

  9. I stop buying
    1) shawls / tudung branded or not.
    2) jewellery
    3) Pinggan mangkuk so called antique or not
    4) Curtain

  10. Most things except food and experiences (plants that I can’t kill).

    The general rule is I won’t buy/upgrade if what I have is not broken, or if an item has no actual use, or if they are nice to have.

  11. I stopped buying expensive makeup. I used to only use makeup from Lancome, Bobbi Brown, Mac, etc. Now downgraded to Rimmel, Maybelline, Loreal etc. Smh for how much I spent in my 20s & 30s.

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