You need stuff, and your stuff needs stuff. So much stuff! But buying the right stuff for your stuff can help you need less stuff in the long run. You like your stuff, so take care of it. This is the stuff you need.
Nobody ever seems to have enough money. Why do we need so much money? To pay for our stuff. Even if you don't spend frivolously, you still buy stuff - much of it important for survival and the continued acquisition of money, which enables you to buy more stuff.
So how can you ease the financial burden? Buying less stuff? Well, yeah - but only to a point. An even better bet is to take really good care of the stuff you already have, so you don't need to replace it so often. Shoppers rejoice - this approach requires more stuff. But mostly little stuff that will pay for itself in the long run.
Let's take a look at your biggest expenses, and the little things you can do that pay off big:
You're probably already well-versed in cleaning supplies, so we won't go into that here. But don't overlook the other tools that can help you take care of your house. Yes, tools as in tools. Like, a basic tool set, at least.
Accumulate a hammer, a couple of screwdrivers, a set of pliers, a drill, and you can take care of most minor repairs yourself (with some Google help). Add additional power or specialty tools as interest/need dictates.
Don't spend big bucks for one-time need equipment, because your local home improvement store rents them out by the day. If you have young kids or pets, however, a carpet cleaner of your very own might actually be a better investment than frequent rental.
Outside, you need a lawn mower and various gardening tools depending upon the size of your yard. Spring for the trimmer tool with interchangeable heads - it's a larger up-front investment, but it's multifunctional and will save both space and money.
A pressure washer is also a handy little thing to keep around, and an instant gratification way of keeping algae and mildew off your house and patio.
It's easy to overlook food as a thing that needs care, but think about how your grocery expenditure relates to your other bills. It's likely a pretty big percentage, and it's not something that can be canceled. You need food to survive.
No getting around it. But taking care of your food can help it last longer, so you can buy in bulk and throw less stuff away.
Make sure your fridge is set at 36-38 degrees Fahrenheit, and set your freezer between 0 and 5 degrees. A full fridge cools more efficiently than an empty one, so there's that.
Don't put hot foods in the fridge until they cool because it raises the inside temperature. Use your crisper drawers to store produce - that's what they're for, and they regulate humidity to keep fresh things fresh for a longer period of time.
Invest in a vacuum sealer - it's not only fun to do, but it's a great way to store foods long-term without risking freezer burn. At the very least, stock up on quality plastic containers with properly fitting lids - these are especially handy for storing dry goods like grains and pasta.
Store spices in a cool, dry place (not over the stove) to retain flavor and color, and keep oils in dark glass bottles away from direct light.
Keep a sewing kit around to replace buttons, repair rips and mend fallen hems. An ironing board with a nice padded cover helps keep your clothes looking neat - ironing on the bed doesn't quite cut it.
If you wear lots of tailored clothes, invest in a few ironing forms to help maintain the shape of your garments.
Speaking of shape, throw away all wire and tubular plastic hangers and pick up some thick wooden ones. Bulkier hangers support your clothes better and not only help with shaping, but also prevent delicate straps and sleeves from stretching out.
A lingerie bag helps keeps delicates safe in the wash by preventing friction and snagging with other clothing.
Remember that vacuum sealer from the kitchen? The same concept works for clothes. For long-term storage, grab some vacuum seal bags to pack your stuff in, attach your vacuum hose and suck out the air. It saves space and also prevents moths and other critters from munching your delicious threads.
If you've invested in a car, it only makes sense to take care of it. Car problems are much cheaper to prevent than repair, and it really doesn't take much.
Learn to change your oil yourself - about $20 at the local auto parts store will replace the $50 lube shop run - and it's not that hard, so don't be intimidated. You will get dirty, though!
There's no need for specialty car washes and such, but do pick up a can of wax and learn to apply it. This will protect your top coat and keep your car looking new. Don't spend money on car-specific vacuums and cleaning tools, because the stuff you use in your home works just as well.
Most budget car care is less about buying stuff and more about avoiding the mechanic. Google is your friend. Learn to replace belts, light bulbs, tires, etc., and your car will run beautifully on the cheap.
Stop being intimidated by all the grimy parts under the hood, and learn what they are. Plunge your hand in there (not while it's hot) and explore. It's not rocket science.
With a little regular maintenance, your old stuff can be the best-looking stuff around. Who needs new stuff?