Everything has changed over the past year, and we’ve changed, too. We’ve learned some hard lessons. We’ve adopted some new habits and dropped some old ones — especially when it comes to our spending.
There are things we simply don’t buy anymore. We just don’t see the point — we’ve officially parted ways with these products.
Here are some things we’re just not buying anymore — and one surprising thing we’re buying more of.
1. Name-Brand Food
We don’t know about you, but we’ve been cooking a lot — like, A LOT — and we keep finding that the store brands or generic brands largely taste the same as the more expensive brand-name products. Or close enough, anyway.
Big brands spend big money to get their products in front of customers, whether through ad campaigns, partnering with rebate apps, or paying for prime shelf space at grocery stores. Meanwhile, grocery chains are using their cheaper private-label brands to target shoppers who care more about price tags than looks.
This is an easy way to save.
2. Expensive Phone Plans: You Could Pay as Little as
How long have you been with your current cell phone provider? Probably a while, right? Which means you’re probably paying way too much.
But we found a discount wireless company called Tello Mobile that offers plans starting at just $5 a month. How much are you paying now? Exactly. Imagine cutting that to just $5.
Tello recently switched to a nationwide GSM network, which means improved 4G LTE/5G coverage, faster data speed and a more stable network. It lets you choose a wireless plan based on how many minutes and how much data you want, and you can even use Tello’s coverage tool to see how strong its network is where you live. More than 7,000 customers have given it an excellent rating on Trustpilot.
Plus, Tello is super flexible. It lets you choose the plan that makes sense for you. Plans are priced based on how much data and how many minutes you want. For example, a family of four can get 2GB of data each, plus unlimited talk and text for just $56 a month total. Free hotspot and unlimited texts are included in every plan. Plus, there are no early termination or activation fees, no contracts or phone-exclusive plans and no tricks of any kind.
It’s easy to get started and see how much you could save. Tello makes it simple to switch and even keep your phone number. No need to even leave the house — you can do everything online. You can bring your own GSM phone or buy a new one through them. See how much you could save.
3. Overpriced Car Insurance: Save up to 9/Year
When’s the last time you checked car insurance prices? Probably not any time recently, right?
Don’t feel bad — we’ve all been there. But ideally, you should shop your options every six months or so. It could save you some serious money.
A website called Insure.com makes it super easy to compare car insurance prices. All you have to do is enter your ZIP code and your age, and it’ll show you your options.
Using Insure.com, people have saved an average of $489 a year.
Yup. That could be nearly $500 back in your pocket just for taking a few minutes to look at your options.
4. Groceries (Without Rewards)
Groceries account for a good chunk of your budget. Everybody’s got to eat. You may as well earn a little money back while your groceries are being bagged up.
A free app called Fetch Rewards will reward you with gift cards just for buying essentials like toilet paper and more than 250 other items at the grocery store.
Here’s how it works: After you’ve downloaded the app, just take a picture of your receipt showing you purchased an item from one of the brands listed in Fetch. For your efforts, you’ll earn gift cards to places like Amazon or Walmart.
You can download the free Fetch Rewards app here to start getting free gift cards.
Over a million people already have, so they must be onto something.
5. Overpriced Online Purchases
Wouldn’t it be nice if you got an alert when you’re shopping online and you’re about to overpay? That’s what this free service does.
Just add it to your browser for free, and before you check out, it’ll check other websites, including Walmart, eBay and others to see if your item is available for cheaper. Plus, you can get coupon codes, set up price-drop alerts and even see the item’s price history.
Let’s say you’re shopping for a new TV, and you assume you’ve found the best price. Here’s when you’ll get a pop up letting you know if that exact TV is available elsewhere for cheaper. If there are any available coupon codes, they’ll also automatically be applied to your order.
In the last year, this has saved people $160 million.
You can get started in just a few clicks to see if you’re overpaying online.
6. Credit Card Debt: Stop Paying Your Credit Card Company
We’ve stopped spending money on credit card debt, because it’s the most expensive kind of debt you can have, and your credit card company is just getting rich by ripping you off with high interest rates. But a website called AmOne can help you fight back.
If you owe your credit card companies $50,000 or less, AmOne will match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every single one of your balances.
The benefit? You’ll be left with one bill to pay each month. And because personal loans have lower interest rates (AmOne rates start at 3.49% APR), you’ll get out of debt that much faster. Plus: No credit card payment this month.
It takes two minutes to see if you qualify for up to $50,000 online. You do need to give AmOne a real phone number in order to qualify, but don’t worry — they won’t spam you with phone calls.
7. One Thing We’re Buying More of…
We’re buying more investments these days. Investing is how you build wealth, and it’s time more of us got started.
If you feel like you don’t have enough money to start investing, guess what? You really don’t need that much — and you can even get free stocks (worth up to $200!) if you know where to look.
Whether you’ve got $5, $100 or $800 to spare, you can start investing with Robinhood.
Yeah, you’ve probably heard of Robinhood. Both investing beginners and pros love it because it doesn’t charge commission fees, and you can buy and sell stocks for free — no limits. Plus, it’s super easy to use.
What’s best? When you download the app and fund your account (it takes no more than a few minutes), Robinhood drops a share of free stock into your account. It’s random, though, so that stock could be worth anywhere from $2.50 to $200 — a nice boost to help you build your investments.
Mike Brassfield (email@example.com) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He is absolutely, totally done buying certain things — like those fiery spicy hot dogs with spicy mustard on them, definitely no more of those.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.