25 Cheaper Versions of Everyday Things To Use Instead

25 Cheaper Versions of Everyday Things To Use Instead

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Growing up with limited means, I understand the value of every penny. Not having the same things others did wasn’t always easy, but these challenging times educated me about valuable money-saving strategies.

Let me share some tips that significantly changed our family’s finances, and I hope they can do the same for you. These cheaper versions of everyday things can save money and pave the way for a more financially secure future.

1. Generic Prescription Medications

Pills, Drugs, Medication
Image Credit: Cristian Puscasu/Shutterstock.

Don’t pay more for brand-name medicines at the store. Look for generic brands that work just as well. Check if these medications contain the same active ingredients. When that’s the case, you can consider using them instead. They will have the same effect and save you significant money.

2. Store Brand Groceries

groceries
Image credit: oksanashufrych of Canva

Consider less expensive options instead of buying name-brand items at the store. Options costing less can be just as good and help save money. 

Store-brand groceries are usually produced and packaged by manufacturers that produce name-brand products. Aside from the packaging and marketing, there’s often little difference, so you’re essentially getting similar quality for less.

3. Library Books

Senior woman in library scaled e1693841463208
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Don’t spend more on buying new books when you’ll only read them once. Explore the library and borrow books you’re interested in instead. 

Library books offer the same content, providing knowledge and entertainment without spending extra cash. Doing so can help you save money and support your local library services.

4. Streaming Services

Blonde woman using her iPad and TV to stream a show
Image Credit: Pixinoo via Shutterstock.

Don’t use extra money to buy CDs or DVDs one by one. Instead, try using a streaming service. With these services, you can listen to music and watch many movies or TV series. All this for a small monthly price, and you avoid cluttering your home with too many CDs or DVDs. 

5. Refurbished Electronics

refurbished electronics
Image Credit: Elnur/Shutterstock.

Avoid using your extra money to buy new off-the-store gadgets every single time. Consider purchasing refurbished electronics. You can find lots of good-as-new gadgets in the refurbished section. These fixed-up electronics let you have the tech you like without paying full price for the items.

6. DIY Cleaning Products

Cleaning Supplies under kitchen sink
Image Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock.

You don’t have to keep buying cleaning products for every different surface in your home. Try making your own. Mixing a few things from around the house can clean just as well. 

Many homemade cleaning solutions are easy to whip up using common ingredients like vinegar and baking soda. These DIY cleaners help you save money and reduce the number of potentially harmful chemicals in your home. I use vinegar and salt as abrasive cleaning agents, for example, which helps save me tons of money on pricey cleaning supplies. 

7. Reusable Water Bottles

A woman drinks from a reusable water bottle while exploring outdoors.
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Stop splurging on single-use water bottles that are harsh on your pocket and the environment. Switch to reusable water bottles, which can be equally refreshing. A one-time investment in a good quality reusable bottle can save you money in the long run.

I love my Hydro Flask, and it basically goes everywhere with me! I’m saving at least $60 per month by not buying store-bought water bottles! On top of that, by not buying single-use bottles, you’re helping to reduce plastic waste, which is great for our planet.

8. Thrift Store Clothing

woman thrift shopping
Image Credit: SpeedKingz/Shutterstock.

No need to allocate more cash for brand-new designer clothing. Instead, seek out thrift store finds that are equally stylish and functional. Buying clothes from thrift stores can save money and help reduce waste. A win-win situation for your budget and the environment.

You can shop online for second-hand items as well. One of my personal favorites is a site called Vinted. I have found some truly great pieces there for much less than half of what I would pay for the same brand name new!

9. Free Online Learning Platforms

Young female gardener in glasses using laptop, communicates on internet with customer in home garden/greenhouse, reusable coffee/tea mug on table.Cozy office workplace, remote work, E learning concept
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

There’s no need to spend money on expensive traditional courses. Turn to free online learning platforms like Coursera and edX that offer quality education and skill development.

Free online learning platforms can stretch your budget while enhancing your knowledge and skills. By choosing these no-cost options, you save money and gain access to a wealth of information and learning resources.

10. Cooking Your Own Meals

Woman cooking
Image Credit: lenetstan/Shutterstock.

Eating out can cost you money. Consider cooking your own meals to cut back on food expenses. Doing so gives you control over your ingredients, making your meals healthier and often tastier. In addition, you’ll have extra money to stash or spend. 

11. Making Your Own Coffee

Barista Cafe Making Coffee Preparation Service Concept
Image Credit: Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.

Making your coffee is another cheaper version of daily things you can do. Rather than going to a coffee shop, buy a bag of coffee beans and make coffee at home. Buying coffee beans instead of coffee from a shop saves you cash over time.

It will also ensure you get your coffee exactly how you want it, and when you want it! For exactly this reason, my Nespresso machine was probably one of the best investments I ever made! 

12. Fixing Things by Yourself

Man Fixing Table
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Consider beginning to handle your small repairs in and around the house. Rather than calling a professional, consider picking up a toolkit to fix the issues yourself. It saves money and adds a handy skill to your skillset—a win-win situation. 

Remember that when the repairs are big and you have no idea where to begin, calling a more experienced acquaintance or asking for professional help would still be advised.

13. Energy-Efficient Gadgets

learning thermostat to reduce energy costs
Shutterstock

You don’t have to keep spending more on high-energy gadgets and devices. Start using energy-efficient alternatives, which can be just as good and functional.

Swapping to gadgets that use less energy helps cut your electric bills and works just as well. When you pick these money-saving gadgets, you keep some cash in your pocket and help make our earth cleaner and greener.

14. Local Farmers’ Markets

Farmers Market
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

No need to always go to expensive grocery stores. Try your neighborhood farmers’ market; it’s just as good and can cost less. Shopping at these markets can help you save money. You get to buy fresh, nice fruits and vegetables. Plus, you’re supporting the farmers in your community.

15. Using a Prepaid Phone

Shutterstock 1562290177
Image Credit: DenPhotos/Shutterstock.

Try to switch to a prepaid phone. Using this option is much more affordable and frees you from long-term contracts and overpriced monthly plans. Furthermore, with prepaid phones, there are no surprise bills. You get to call the shots and change your plan anytime. 

16. Reusable Shopping Bags

Google Play Shopping Bag
Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

Give up buying plastic bags every time you go shopping. Use reusable bags instead. They work just as well and are good for our planet, too.

You can find them in fun colors and patterns that match your lunchbox or outfit. Every time you pack your groceries in these, you cut down on the plastic filling up landfills and oceans.

17. Growing Your Food at Home

Caucasian senior woman plants green plant with berries in garden

Growing your fruits and vegetables at home may cost you money initially, but it helps save money on food later. Plus, you won’t depend on the store for fresh produce anymore, giving you more control. It also means cutting back on food expenses. Ultimately, you won’t have to shop much, letting you save money and reduce wasted food. 

18. Use Public Transportation or Shared Rides

Public transportation
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

Another option is taking the bus or train or sharing rides instead of filling your car with gas. Doing so might feel different initially, but it can help you spend less time getting around. This means you’re reducing travel costs and saving money on gas and car maintenance. Furthermore, this can also help reduce traffic and air pollution, making it good for the environment. 

19. Online Subscriptions

Person cancelling unnecessary subscriptions
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

There’s no need to constantly spend more on individual purchases of books, music, or films. Consider online subscriptions, which can be equally entertaining and cost-effective. Online subscriptions cost little and let you enjoy many books, songs, movies, and other fun stuff. By choosing these, you keep more money in your wallet and have many ways to have a good time.

20. Use Cloth Napkins 

cloth napkins
Image Credit: New Africa/Shutterstock.

Use cloth napkins over paper ones. They help you save money because you can reuse them after washing, making them good for your wallet and the earth. I simply throw mine in the wash after each use, and once they become too raggedy, I put them to use as cleaning rags for things like dusting!

21. Use of Public Facilities and Parks

public gym
Image Credit: Jerome LABOUYRIE/Shutterstock.

Opting for public facilities and parks over private gyms or entertainment venues can cut costs on exercise and leisure. Doing so can help reduce your spending on recreational costs in the process. Using public facilities saves you money and lets you use what your community offers. It’s about finding new ways to have fun and keep moving without spending too much.

22. Biking Instead of Driving

Biking in Amsterdam
Image Credit: FaceMePLS – CC BY 2.0/Wiki Commons.

When you opt for biking instead of driving, you won’t need to spend more on gas and car maintenance. Riding a bike costs less and can be a healthy and fun travel method. You can save money and get fit simultaneously by choosing to pedal instead of drive.

23. DIY Beauty Treatments

Skin Care
Image Credit: TimeImage Production/Shutterstock.

There’s no need to spend more on expensive salon treatments constantly. Try DIY beauty treatments at home, which can be equally effective and rewarding. DIY beauty treatments are lighter on your budget and can offer pleasing and satisfying results. When you opt for these cost-saving alternatives, you save money and enhance your self-care skills.

24. Secondhand Tools and Equipment

Old woodworking tools
Image Credit: Shutterstock.

There’s no need to spend more on brand-new tools and equipment. Try buying secondhand items, which can be equally useful and efficient. Secondhand tools and equipment are lighter on your budget and can offer reliable and effective solutions. When you opt for these cost-saving alternatives, you save money without compromising the functionality of the items you need.

25. Bartering and Swapping

Barter
Image Credit: Wiki Commons.

Instead of buying new, consider bartering or swapping for everyday essentials. Trade spices with neighbors, share baked goods, organize clothing swaps, upcycle furniture, borrow tools, or barter your skills for services. Be clear about your needs, set fair values, and be flexible. You save money, reduce waste, connect with your community, and have fun in the process.

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