Frugal Living

7 Things You Shouldn’t Buy When You Are Broke

Are you struggling with finances? Trying to save money for a dream vacation? Here are 7 things you shouldn’t buy when you are broke.

Financial Tips for When You are Broke

Are you struggling financially? I’ve been there!

Are you trying to save money for summer vacation? I know I am!

Saving money can be so difficult and sometimes it feels like we’ll never get ahead. When my husband and I first got married we didn’t have a lot of money. We both came into the marriage with small kids: he had a 6 year old and I had a five year old. Neither one of us had high paying jobs and we learned right away how hard it is to save money. We’ve been on a debt-free journey for a while now, trying to pay off our debts. (We’re almost there!)

When you are broke, changing your mindset is one of the most important things to do when it comes to saving money and starting a budget.

Do you really need that new pair of shoes right now?

Do you really need that new car?

No, you don’t really need those things. The shoes can wait and the car doesn’t have to be a shiny new BMW. Changing your mindset to knowing the difference between a need and a want is key to saving money. Yes, you may want these things, but you don’t really need them.

Summer is coming up soon and I’m sure you want to take a break from all the hard work you’ve been doing. Maybe you don’t know how you’re going to afford to take a vacation this year. Well, keep reading because I’m going to share with you seven things you shouldn’t buy when you are broke.

7 Things You Shouldn’t Buy When You Are Broke

7 Things You Shouldn't Buy When You Are Broke

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Books and Magazines

I wrote a post all about how you can get books for free or cheap. There are so many different ways to get books nowadays, starting with your local library. They also have magazines you can check out, too.

You can also find magazines for free or cheap online. Some places that offer these magazines are Mercury Magazine, Value Mags, Best Deal Magazines, and Amazon.

Music and Movies

Movies can also be found at the library. Our library has two sections for movies – one downstairs on the adult level and one upstairs on the kid level. Red Box offers free codes when you sign up and sometimes they will randomly send codes to your inbox. Asking friends or family is another great way to score free movies. My daughter has been able to find movies on YouTube for free as well.

Music can be streamed for free online or on the radio!


While water is a definite need, it doesn’t have to be bought in bottles every week. Buy a tall water bottle that you can refill and carry with you everywhere you go. I use this one and I love it! My water stays cold all day. I have put ice in it and left it sitting out overnight and the ice was still there when I got up the next morning!! It also keeps your coffee hot for up to 12 hours.

Eating Out

My family usually only eats out once or twice a week, but I’d like to make it once or twice a month. Fast food prices have become ridiculous lately and I don’t really want to fork over a ton of money for a tiny cheeseburger and forgotten fries. (And these people expect $15 an hour??) One way to eat out for cheap is by using gift cards earned on survey sites like Swagbucks. (I actually used gift cards from this site to pay for my entire Christmas one year!)

I understand being busy and tired and not feeling like cooking every single night. One solution to this is to set aside a day that you have plenty of time and fix some freezer meals. There are tons of ideas on Pinterest for make-ahead meals. Instant Pots and Slow Cookers are also great to have for busy weeknight meals. Taking the time to prep your lunches for the week also saves a lot of time and money because you’re not tempted to go out for lunch.

Professional Hair Color

Boxed hair color is about to become your best friend. The last time I got my hair colored it was almost $100. I told myself I would never pay that price again! It’s been a while since I’ve had my hair colored, but I know that if I want to color it I have the option to do it myself in my own home. For less than $20!

New Phone

There is no shame in buying a used phone. No, you do not need to upgrade your phone every two years. Trust me, you’ll be okay not having a new iPhone every time a new one comes out. An old phone will work just as well and will do everything you need it to.

See also: Declutter and Organize Your Phone

New Car

I really wish I didn’t even have to say this, but if you are struggling financially, how are you going to afford a new car? Why put yourself through even more stress? Buying a new car when you cannot afford monthly car payments plus insurance will be a huge mistake. When you are broke, a new car is not an option!

What is the one thing you could cut back on to save money? What would you add to my list of things you shouldn’t buy when you are broke?

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7 Things You Shouldn't Buy When You Are Broke

Thank you for sharing!