We all have a mental list of things we know we shouldn’t buy. We try to stay away from custom lattes, fancy boutiques, and limited edition sneakers. However, there are routine purchases that many of us make that can easily ruin our budgets. It is surprisingly easy to look over these commonly bought items. These habitual purchases can cost you upwards of $1,000 extra per year. If you eliminate these 7 things from your budget, you are going to be shocked at just how much money you save!

#1 Books

Buying new books from the store adds up quickly. Books can cost up to $25-$30, especially if you are investing in a hardcover. Depending on how many books you read, this habit could cost you upwards of $300 per year.

Alternative: Get a Library Card Library books are free. This can save you hundreds of dollars over the course of just a few months. Not only can you pick up novels, you can also grab cookbooks, magazines, and other publications that would normally cost you a fortune.

#2 Prepared food

While it may seem more convenient to purchase food that has already been prepped, you are only going to be racking up your grocery bill where you could easily save, Buying pre-diced onions is much easier than enduring a crying fiasco. However, you pay double the cost if you buy produce that is pre-washed and chopped.

An article by CBS News calculated that a pound of kale costs $2.80 and rises to $11.67 when bought pre-washed, chopped, and stemmed. That’s 317 percent more expensive! A few bucks here and there may not seem like a big deal, but it adds up quickly.

Alternative:

Instead of buying portioned, prepared food, buy in bulk. Buying in bulk is always a cheaper way to purchase the basics. While the initial investment may seem a little steep, it will pay off over time.

5 Grocery Hacks That Will Save You Hundreds

#3 Paper Towels + Napkins

Having to buy rolls and rolls of paper towels is not a good use of your paycheck. Not only is it terrible for the environment, but it’s also a poor choice for your wallet. Investing in a pack of high quality reusable towels will save you money in the long run.

Alternative:  

Invest in reusable cloths to use for all your towel needs. Maintaining environmentally friendly habits will help the planet and your wallet. Here are more eco/budget-friendly hacks that will save your bank account

#4 Branded Food + Products

Paying for popular brands can come at an unnecessary premium. You are ultimately paying for the marketing/branding of the particular product you choose to buy. You may be paying extra without even noticing which is causing your budget to be slightly off.

Alternative:

Buy generic Generic brands are usually slightly cheaper than branded products. While it may not seem like a huge difference, it can add up overtime.

#5 Drinks At Restaurants

Buying a glass of wine at a restaurant can cost you as much as buying a whole bottle (maybe even more depending on where you dine). And if you are going to have more than one beverage with a friend or partner, you might as well throw away any hopes of a cheap bill. Sometimes drinks can cost as much (or more) as the meal itself.

Alternative:

Have drinks at home Instead of getting drinks with dinner. Start your evening with happy hour at home. You can make a signature cocktail along with a DIY cheese platter. This is a frugal way to enjoy a pre-meal beverage and appetizer without the expense.

#6 Cleaning Products

Buying branded cleaning supplies is more expensive than people realize. Not only are you paying for the brand, but you are also paying for unnecessary additives that you don’t need in your cleaning supplies. In the world of DIY, there are plenty of ways to get around buying cleaners.

Alternative:

Make your own Make an all-purpose cleaner from water, vinegar, and lemon. This classic recipe is perfect for disinfecting surfaces at home. It also eliminates chemicals and harmful fumes from your house making it a win-win.

#7 Sale Items

While snagging a good deal may seem like a financially savvy move, it can cost you more than you planned. You may walk in a store expecting to spend $20, when you come across a buy one get one 50% off sale. Before you know it, you’ve spent $100 on “sale” items and have gone way over your budget.

Alternative:

Buy what you need While not all sales are bad, be wary of the ones that convince you to buy more than you planned. Buy only what you need and if there is a brand or similar product that happens to be on sale, by all means go for it.

Try eliminating these 7 items from your budget and see how much you save. You might be surprised with the results! For more budget tips, click here.