10 Things I Don't Buy Anymore

Minimalism and zero waste share some core tennants, one of them being BUY LESS. After all the first word in the most popular eco-friendly phrase is REDUCE in Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

I have saved so much money, by just not buying stuff and only opting to bring the items that I truly love and need into my life.

Please check out the video under the header image to learn more about the 10 Things I Don’t Buy Anymore.

10 things I no longer buy from www.goingzerowaste.com #minimalism #nobuy #nospend #zerowaste #ecofriendly #gogreen

Some of these links are affiliate links for more information please see my disclosure policy!

1. plastic water bottles:

I’ve been plastic water bottle free for four years and counting! I’m honestly embarrassed by how much money I used to spend on plastic water bottles in college.

Now, you’ll typically find me carrying an insulated Dopper Bottle or a Klean Kanteen!

2. kuerig pods:

I’ve never owned a kuerig, but my boyfriend in college did so I would buy myself hot chocolate pods to use when I was over at his apartment.

If you've got a Keurig, why not switch to reusable pods, you'll save a BUNCH of money and your coffee will taste better because it's fresh!

3. pads & tampons:

Omigosh, I’m saving so much money by switching to reusables. Whether you wear a cup, cloth pads, or my personal favorite Thinx! Then you know that you too can be saving a bunch of money.

And, you’ll never have to worry about running out products and having to run to the corner store at 11 pm on a Tuesday night.

If you’re interested in trying thinx, you can get $10 off with this link.

4. paper towels:

I have a great blog post and video on breaking up with paper towels. Because let’s be honest, paper towels are spendy!

Instead, I use cotton rags. I don’t recommend microfiber cloths because they shed micro-plastics in the washing machine. Check out my post The Problem With Microplastics.

Most people have a problem with reusable cloth towels because they push water around instead of absorbing it so my recommendation is to go for cloth towels with a wide weave .

Bar rags do a great job! Fold em up, store em in a tiny basket so they're super convenient for you!

RELATED: 6 Tips for Breaking Up With Paper Towels

5. plastic baggies:

BE GONE! There are SO many solutions to this simple plastic conundrum, here’s just a few:

6. Spongeless:

Swapping out sponges has been one of the greates swaps I’ve made because the compostable counterparts aren’t only better for the environment, but they also slay on the savings side. The compostable scrubs last for years... YEARS - I TELL YOU.

Plus, you’ve got a lot of options!

RELATED: The Ultimate Guide to Washing Your Dishes - the Zero Waste Way!

7. no more pre-packed "convenience" foods:

I broke up with pre-packed “convenience” foods. I put convenience in quotes because I’m not entirely sure how “convenient” these items really are.

I was constantly reaching for chips, oreos, and poptarts, but now I reach for things like apples, bananas, and oranges which are equally convenient and have a better nutrition profile!

That’s just one of t he ways that going zero waste helped to improve my health. That’s not saying I never snack.

I still buy treats at the bulk store and make homemade poptarts, but I’m very intentional about them rather than just snacking mindlessly.

8. broke up with fast fashion:

I said buh-bye to fast fashion. I realized that so many of my purchases were mindless, needless, and completely devoid of a plan. I still buy clothes, but opt for secondhand and ethical purchases. Now, when I buy, I’m very intentional about those purchases!

9. cotton balls/cloth pads:

Instead of letting my toner absorb into a reusable cloth pad, I put my toner in a spray bottle! Boom, less waste and one less thing to buy.

Pour your toner into a spray bottle, and then spritz your face and let it air dry. I used an old spray bottle, but also have several of these and LOVE them.

This one simple swap has doubled the life of my toner bottle! And, my skin care routine isn’t cheap so I love that I’m saving money and wasting less.

My zero waste skin care routine - morning edition
Zero waste makeup brands
Zero waste skincare brands

10. aluminum foil:

I used to buy a lot of aluminum foil, I used it for everything from lining pans to tenting pies and wrapping up that lone pizza slice.

Thankfully there are reusable products when fill all of these voids.

For that lone pizza or pie slice beeswax wraps do the trick! To shield your pie crust try these. And, if you want something non-stick for baking check out Silpats they also work great for freezing!

These are the 10 things that I no longer buy. Do you have something you no longer buy since switching to a zero waste lifestyle?

6 Tips for Shopping Less

As a former shopaholic, I am excited to bring you my tips for shopping less! I tend to go through waves. There are times when I’m super good, but there are also times when I’m not so good.

I think we’ve established that I used to have a shopping problem…

But, these are the six tips that never fail to bring me back on track. ESPECIALLY #3! You can get all six tips in the video down below.


I used to buy a lot… and I mean a LOT of stuff. Especially clothes. You can read about this in depth in this post about how to make a small wardrobe work for you. In this post I talk all about my shopping problem, but the post itself is all about the time I tried an 18 piece wardrobe and totally failed.

Surprise, going from shopaholic to an 18 piece wardrobe wasn’t the smartest idea!

One of the best things I did to curb my shopping habit was implementing a personal 30 Day Buy-Ban on all new items coming in. That in combination with the tips below have been my ticket to shopping less - which is honestly one of the best things you can do for the environment.

Yep, shopping less really is one of the best ways for you to reduce your impact on the environment because we tend to buy a lot of stuff that we don’t really want or need. You can read about that here in my Beginners Guid to Zero Waste Living.

5 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Making a Purchase

I’ve been on a bit of a minimalist kick lately. There’s just something about cleaning out your closet that makes you evaluate every purchase you’ve made in the last calendar year.

I prefer to organize and deep clean first thing in the year. There’s something about cold weather that makes me want to nest in my home (probably because it’s too cold outside to go anywhere), it’s after the holidays, and it just feels like a perfect time for reflecting.

5 questions you should ask yourself before making a purchase from www.goingzerowaste.com #minimalism #ecofriendly #zerowaste

As a bonus, Marie Kondo’s tv show Tidying Up came out... so, I mean who wasn’t ready to declutter, organize and spark joy?

I’m pretty happy that the Tidying Up TV show involves no shopping minus gathering a few small boxes for drawer organization. I’m even happier that after following up with a few of the families that participated, their homes have stayed TIDY! 

This means they’re not running out and filling up their new found space - which is great!

In the past, I have definitely gone shopping after decluttering and felt excited that I had space to store all of my new belongings.

I never intentionally went out to shop and fill space, but because I had space I often allowed myself to shop, does that make sense?

I feel a lot of people fall into this mindset. I don’t think many people intentionally buy things they don’t want or don’t love. I think in the moment they think they want and love it, but only with time and space do they realize... they don’t. 

As a former shopaholic, I can tell you that’s how it was for me. I tended to love things in the moment but never really thought about them practically. 

In college, after I sold my books back to the book store, I’d take that money and spend it frivolously. I remember I bought a beautiful pair of heels that were 5” tall... do you know how practical it is to wear 5” heels without a platform? For me, it was not very practical. I wore them a few times, and that was it. 

My instinct was to run to the store for anything and everything I needed, instead of sitting with that want or need and thinking about it. I didn’t want to wait for a solution. I wanted to buy a solution RIGHT NOW which I think is an overall symptom of our society which relies a lot on instant gratification.

I try not to reflect on all of the money I could have saved had I been a bit wiser....

But, on top of all that, I didn’t value things. Things were not something I respected. I viewed things as disposable, mostly because I was buying disposable goods. But, disposable is 100% a mindset, and it’s not a very healthy one.  

5 questions you should ask yourself before making a purchase from www.goingzerowaste.com #minimalism #ecofriendly #zerowaste

1. does it fit my ethics?

This one right off the bat will eliminate A LOT of things I don’t need. I’m not saying every purchase I make is an ethical one, but I do try to make my purchases as ethical as possible.

And, if I need something so bad that I’m willing to sacrifice my ethics for it, then I KNOW it’s something that I NEED.

The most common instance of this scenario is jeans. In most designers ethical ones or not, I have a small waist and an x-large rear. I’m pear shaped, and trying to find pants that fit both areas of my body is a real challenge.

I often resort to buying jeans that aren’t the most ethical simply because they’re what fits.

Before going shopping, try to determine your ethics. Ask yourself if the things you’re about to purchase fit into those ethics.

  • Do you want things to be mostly plastic free?

  • What about slave labor?

  • What about ecological business practices?

I feel like this blog post could be a topic all to itself, but I have talked about this a little bit more in How to Make the BEST Choice for the environment. 

5 questions you should ask yourself before making a purchase from www.goingzerowaste.com #minimalism #ecofriendly #zerowaste

2. would I be willing to pay full price?

Because I do try to opt for ethical purchases, this often means shopping second hand or on sale, because ethical purchases can be really expensive.

Before you go shopping, try to identify how much money it hurts for you to spend? $20, $50, $200? I don’t know what your budget or spending habits are like but anything that costs $50 gives me serious pause. It makes me truly evaluate the item and whether or not I need it.  

I come across a lot of deals when I’m shopping second hand. I come across items I like, maybe an item that’s been on my list for a long time, and maybe that item isn’t quite perfect, but I find myself saying, “Oh, well it’s close to what I’m looking for, and it’s only $8”

Have you ever uttered the phrase, “It’s only X amount of dollars”? 

If you have, then you probably know that phrase means you don’t love it and you definitely DON’T need it.  

So, the first question I ask myself before making a purchase is, “Would I pay full price for this item or would I pay my sacrificial price for this item?” Ask yourself whichever number is higher, and if the answer is no, don’t buy it. 

5 questions you should ask yourself before making a purchase from www.goingzerowaste.com #minimalism #ecofriendly #zerowaste

3. do I need it?

This one is tough because it can be difficult to sort through what we need, a true want, and a temporary want. We want to make sure that we’re eliminating temporary wants because those are the ones that clutter our closets and drawers. 

For more info on this topic be sure to check out my post Why I Wait 30 Days Before Making a Purchase all about setting a personal buy-ban for yourself.

You can pinpoint a true want and need if you give yourself enough space. If you’re still thinking about something weeks or months later, then it’s probably a true want or need. 

5 questions you should ask yourself before making a purchase from www.goingzerowaste.com #minimalism #ecofriendly #zerowaste

4. is this for the person I am or the person I want to be?

Maybe you’ve waited 30 days or months, but still find yourself dreaming about that item. Is that a true want, probably. But, you also need to get real with yourself. Ask yourself the hard question. Is this item for the person I am or the person I want to be.

For instance, I love skirt suits. I LOVE them, but I don’t go to the type of meetings necessary for wearing skirt suits and always feel very out of place when I do wear them. So, no matter how much I want them, I know they’re for the person I want to be vs. the person I am.

In my mind, I’m also excellent at gardening and working out 4 times a week. In actuality, I am NONE of those things.

So, there’s no need for me to go overboard on gardening supplies or to buy 15 pairs of leggings. Owning a few pairs for the few times I do manage to workout before doing laundry is perfect for me.

Speaking of which, check out these 7 eco-friendly activewear brands!

5 questions you should ask yourself before making a purchase from www.goingzerowaste.com #minimalism #ecofriendly #zerowaste

5. what is the end plan?

The last thing I ask myself is about my end plan. Somehow framing the product in it’s full lifecycle beyond just, “I see it; I want it; I buy it.,” helps to create a story and a plan for my purchase.

Because everything you buy, at some point, has to leave your home. Ask yourself:

  • Is this an item worth passing down?

  • Is this an item I would repair or can be repaired?

  • Is this an item that can be recycled?

  • Is this an item that will be sent to the landfill?

  • Is this an item I could resell?

There’s no judgment from me on what the answers may be, but sometime’s it’s helpful to give more context to a purchase.

5 questions you should ask yourself before making a purchase from www.goingzerowaste.com #minimalism #ecofriendly #zerowaste


Now, this isn’t a question, but I hope that you’ll wait for the perfect item. Sometimes, it’s just about having enough patience for that perfect item you’ve been looking for to arrive. And when it does, you will be so filled with joy!

Have you asked yourself any of these questions while shopping? Are there any tips and tricks you have to reduce the amount you shop?