10 Things You Shouldn’t Buy When You Are Struggling Financially

Are you struggling financially? Here are 10 things you shouldn’t buy when struggling financially and getting your finances in the right direction.

One thing is for sure, 2020 has proven to us that things can change overnight. It hasn’t been an easy year or experience for many.

Now, if you have been having issues managing your money before 2021 and continue to do so, the first thing you must do is reduce your spending and avoid spending on things you don’t need.

Be smart about how you are spending your money and make sure you find the best deals and save as well. Online shopping, we recommend Capital One Shopping.

Often, when we struggle financially, the majority of the time is our fault, and the only way to tackle it is to make changes.

I speak from experience!

After learning and accepting the hard fact that I created the financial mess I was in, I had to step up my game and change the way I viewed money and wealth and change my mindset.

When I sat down and took an honest look as to why I was struggling financially, even with a good-paying job, the truth was that it was me.

And even as I was struggling financially, I continued to spend money on things I shouldn’t have spent money on.

My reasons?

  • Habit.
  • Consumerism.
  • To show off.
  • Ignorance.

If you are struggling financially, wasting money on the things below will affect you even more. So instead of making these purchases, find an alternative that will save you money rather.

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When struggling financially, avoid spending money on the items or services below.

New Books and Buying Magazines

Suppose you are spending money on new books. Of course, you don’t have to spend money to enjoy a good book, and if you do, there are many ways to get books for free or at a reduced price.

The solution to this problem was to visit your local library, find them free online as eBooks, buy them used, or ask to borrow the book if your friend or family has it.

Love magazines? Please don’t buy them!

Do people still read magazines? Yes, people still read magazines.

Printed magazines are not as popular as they used to be, thanks to digital. A once $46 billion year industry is now down to $28 billion because people purchase physical magazines and digital.

Now, if you are paying for a subscription for magazines, then it’s time to stop and save that money elsewhere.

In an era of the internet and information overload, you can get news and drama online for free most of the time.

Music & Movies

The same can be said for music and movies. Head over to your local library and find a good selection of DVDs you can rent out.

Pluto TV is a free app with movies and shows and doesn’t ask for a credit card or bank information.

Why is Pluto TV free?

Pluto TV is free because it is supported by advertisers, which means it has commercials and ads.

Even YouTube has a large selection of free movies you can stream on their website. The same can be said for music; you can listen to music for free on the radio or free online.

There are tons of streaming services online where you can listen to music for free. If you are an Amazon Prime member, you can stream music for free and watch movies and shows as well.

Bottled Water

Stop purchasing bottled water as this is a massive waste of money and bad for the environment. Millions of plastic bottles are thrown away daily!

The bottled water industry in 2020 sales exceeded $36 billion, up from $34.6 billion in 2019. ( source). Billions of dollars are made from water and if you think that certain water is better than others, well, let me say that’s consumerism at its best.

To save money and mother earth, stop buying bottled water and buy an excellent non-plastic reusable bottle.

Many bottles come with filters, and some with fantastic insulation keep the water nice and cool for hours.

Don’t buy K-cup

Besides buying bottled water, you should avoid spending your money on K-cups if you have financial problems.

When you buy K-cups for your particular coffee machine, you pay way more for coffee than when you purchase grounded coffee.

According to the NY Times, K-Cup coffee costs roughly $50 per pound! So instead of purchasing K-cups, use reusable k-cups and avoid wasting money on them.

Checking account

I have to say that I am not shy of closing a bank account when fees go insanely high. Some of these major bank institutions are out of their minds with their monthly fee to, um, maintain your money.

Can you find banks that will give you an account for free? Yes! You have to look online. There are out there!

Many banks are now requiring minimum direct deposits a month and a certain amount of debit transactions. In addition, there are other restrictions you must follow, so please make sure you shop around for banks.

If you are looking for an entirely free fee bank, I use Capital One 360 and recommend it to anyone. I used this bank account for my Christmas savings. So far, I have never had any fees, and I am pleased with them.

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Monthly Subscriptions

When it comes to monthly subscriptions, you can find just about anything now has monthly payment. These include subscription boxes, streaming services, memberships, and so much more.

Subscription boxes are trendy, and chances are you have seen them promoted all over the place, even from your favorite star to YouTube influencers to social media ads. Still, the truth is that when struggling financially, they are the first thing you need to stop.

Subscription boxes are not a need, and even if you are purchasing food items or pets, when you calculate how much you spend on them an entire year, chances are you would not spend that amount of money at all.

Since the pandemic, there has been a higher increase in subscriptions boxes that deliver fresh food, and the majority of times are organic. So again, make sure you do the math and find out if this is worth investing your money when struggling financially.

The same thing can be said about streaming services. It seems like every other month. There is a new streaming service popping up with a monthly fee.

Here’s the thing to keep in perspective these services cost between $5-$14 a month with a guaranteed price increase. In addition, depending on your mobile plan, you will require internet, and that’s another expense to add to this.

You know how cable and satellite have way too many channels we can’t all watch. The same can be said about these streaming services. Do you need all of them? When you add them up, you might be surprised you are paying for cable services and satellite.

Therefore, subscription boxes are not a need and should be avoided when struggling financially.

Attack major home improvements when not needed

This sometimes makes no sense, but it happens. When in debt, let’s take a loan and remodel the kitchen, the bathroom, or anything that needs to be renovated in the house. First, why are you accumulating more debt?

It is understandable if your sink broke and you need one. If your tub has a hole and it caused water damage.

Emergencies are understandable, but completely changing a room when you are have having a hard time managing your money makes no sense.

If you don’t have the money, then a remodel is not at the top of the list. However, you will be able to do any remodeling you want after taking care of your finances.

A new cell phone

Instead of buying a new phone, there is nothing shameful about buying a used one. No law states that you need to upgrade your phone every two years.

Cell phones are expensive, and most of the time, cell phone companies are now making you pay for your phone via installment payments.

If you don’t have money, you don’t need a new cell phone. You will be OK without a new cell phone.

If your old phone can still make phone calls, send texts, and do the basics, then you don’t need a new one.

Save the money and pay your debt.

If you are ready to switch from your expensive phone contract, I recommend you check out

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A new car

If you have debt and are struggling financially, please don’t buy a new car. Can you afford it? Why would you do that yourself?

When you are struggling financially, buying a new car is such a terrible mistake. Your credit might not be the best, you are struggling financially, and now you are adding monthly payments.

Avoid buying a new car until you are financially available to do so. Then, when you do finish, you will realize that buying a new car might have been a terrible move after all.

Get your hair colored professionally

Box hair color will be your friend when you pay your debt and try to take care of your finances.

If you are struggling with your finances, paying to have your hair done professionally is not intelligent.

I had to quit going to the hair salon because I couldn’t afford it when paying off my debt.

I learned to trim and color my hair on my own. That saved me money that I used to pay my debt. Once I was done, I budgeted to have my hair color done professionally, but not always. I kind of like to use my money for something else.

I know I said ten things not to buy, but I had to add this one below last minute!

Get a manicure or pedicure

Pedicure and manicures are not needs but want, and if struggling financially, you can avoid them until you can add them to your budget.

There are affordable ways to have your manicure and pedicure at home, and it will save you money and give you time to focus on other essential things to help you get out of your financial struggles.


When it comes to financial struggling, not one size fits all. But, of course, there are many other things you can skip on that will help you keep your money and place it where it is needed.

The road to managing your money and living the life you want is not easy at all. It starts with us and analyzing why we buy the things we do and make changes. Consumerism is high in this country.

We spend because society wants us to spend money. The reality is that you will be OK with the items mentioned above, and you will be alive. They are not needed.

During your financial struggles, what thing or things did you stop buying in order to help you financially?

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2 of 64 comments
  • Chip Chip on Dec 21, 2023

    Mint mobile, $15 a month, after 3 month trial, paid yearly, saves big $. Take your owned unlocked number to them. Recommend the Samsung A14 ($200, unlocked to all carriers). Also go grey, do color lifter to get the brown out. I'm snowy white and people just love it, I do to. Work with your grey. Lean into it, don't fight it. Save big time. CL loror lifter and 9N white. Perfect solution for white grey.

  • Abd67543878 Abd67543878 on Dec 27, 2023

    I'm with you on most of your suggestions. However, I did buy a new car in 2021. I looked at used cars but all too often after a year or so you end up paying big for often frequent and necessary repairs. I was done with that; my very kind and helpful repair guy (who often didn't charge me full fees) finally told me my car wasn't safe anymore.

    So I researched and finally purchased a small model new car. But I saved for the biggest down payment I could muster. And, the saving grace was getting a very low APR on the car loan. So, my monthly car loan amount is quite low. And, I have the peace of mind of a new car!