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. Overpriced Car Insurance: Save up to $610/Year
Here’s the thing: your current car insurance company is probably overcharging you. But don’t waste your time hopping around to different insurance companies looking for a better deal.
Use a website called EverQuote to see all your options at once.
EverQuote is the largest online marketplace for insurance in the US, so you’ll get the top options from more than 175 different carriers handed right to you.
Take a couple of minutes to answer some questions about yourself and your driving record. With this information, EverQuote will be able to give you the top recommendations for car insurance. In just a few minutes, you could save up to $610 a year.
3. 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.
4. Pointless Apps: Let This One Pay You up to $83 When You Win Solitaire Games
Lots of us already play Solitaire on our phones for fun or just to pass the time. Want to see if you can win money at it?
There’s a free iPhone app called Solitaire Cash that lets you play for real money. You could get paid up to $83 per win.
You might be thinking: There’s got to be a catch. This is definitely one of those spammy apps, right?
Wrong. There really isn’t a catch. Sure, you can pay to play in some higher-stakes tournaments, but there’s no pressure. And, in fact, there aren’t even any annoying ads.
With each game, you’ll battle it out against at least five other players. Everyone gets the same deck, so winning is totally a matter of skill. The top three players who solve the deck fastest can win real money — anywhere from $1 to $83.
Over on the App Store, it has over a million downloads and more than 15,000 ratings, averaging 4.7 stars (out of 5).
To get started, just download the free app and start playing your first game immediately.
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.
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 protected]) 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.