How To Save Money When Buying Essential Items

Updated: August 15, 2023

Saving money all starts with knowing what you want and what you need. Your “wants” may just be non-essential things that you can do without — so NOT buying them would be the best way to save money.

However, when it comes to your “needs,” – buying the cheapest available is not always the best solution. Below are some tips on how you can save money when it comes to your necessities.

I hope you find these practical and useful. A lot of them are just common sense, but they’re nevertheless important to consider before you purchase anything.

Ask your friends first.

Do you need an umbrella? Before you go out and buy one, ask your friends first if they have a spare at home that you can have.

After all, this item is a favorite company giveaway- and if you’re not too “fashion-conscious,” you’ll most likely be able to get one for free.

I discovered that a lot of people are more than willing to rid themselves of stuff they don’t really use or have too much of. If you need it more than they do, a friend will most likely be happy to give them to you.

Or offer to buy it.

Of course, not everything can be given for free. If it’s a valuable item, then offer to buy it at a fair price. Not only will you save money, but you’ve also helped a friend earn some cash.

Consider buying second-hand.

Some things need to be bought brand new, but some items are perfectly okay to buy second-hand.

Back in college, I remember buying the scientific calculator I needed from a friend of a friend — that really saved me a lot of money.

In today’s highly connected world, it’s no longer that difficult to look for things you need. Aside from online classified ads and auction sites, a simple shoutout to your social network could lead you to someone willing to sell to you something you need at a very low price.

Or make a barter.

Item swaps are not only cost-effective but also a good way to rid yourself of “junk.” If the items don’t cost the same, then adding a little cash can easily solve the difference.

I remember a friend back in college who traded his percolator for an alarm clock from another dormmate. While he will surely miss having coffee and instant noodles in his room, at least he can now wake up early enough to eat breakfast and be on time for his classes.

Rent it out.

Some things are necessary only for a given time — and if you can rent it, then maybe that’s a better option than buying one.

My personal example of this would be the Barong Tagalog. If I attend a lot of formal functions and events, buying a quality Barong would be necessary. But since I seldom go to such events, I deemed it would be smarter just to rent whenever I need one.

Or split with a friend.

Sharing ownership of necessities is a viable way to save some money.

A friend, who needed studio lights for his photography business, was able to convince another photographer who likewise needed them to split the cost with him.

Almost a year of coordination, planning, and friendly compromises resulted in a productive and profitable business for each of them. A few weeks ago, they bought another set, and now, they each have their own lights.

And lastly…

Buy only what you really need.

Buying things in bulk is usually cheaper, but there are times when it can become less cost-effective. Also, be wary of buying sets that contain excess or unnecessary items.

For example, a big bottle of fresh milk is cheaper in volume than the small one, but if you can’t consume it before it expires, then you’re just wasting your money.

Or if you just need a screwdriver, then you don’t have to buy an entire toolset because, chances are, you won’t get to use the other items anyway.

What to do next: Click here to start your financial journey with IMG Wealth Academy
Photo credits: Marles55 and Bethan


  1. This is a great reminder of all the options we have to us before we actually buy something. Whenever I’m tempted to buy something, I try to mentally go through the entire life cycle of the thing in my mind first. I think of it being exciting (at first) to own, then eventually losing its appeal, then having to find a place for it in a corner of my garage before I finally send it off to a thrift store years down the road. If I still want it after I go through this mental exercise, it’s meant to be mine!

  2. Fitz good day! May I ask if you could recommend to us to attend the Rich Dad Asia Live in Manila this coming October 21, 2011? Is this a good seminar? Thanks a lot. God bless..

  3. Hi Leslie. I’d say that Rich Dad Asia Live is a good seminar, but the benefits you’ll get depends on the level of your financial literacy.

    In my opinion, this is great for people who needs be trained with the right mindset when it comes to personal finance – things which I usually write under Mindsetting here.

    But for those whose minds are already open, and has already “started their journey”, then this seminar won’t be able to teach you anything new, in my opinion.

    However, as with any event like this, it’s always a great networking opportunity. So if you’re looking for possible business partners, investors or venture capitalists, then I suggest you prepare your business pitch and go to this event.

    I hope I was able to help. Thanks.

  4. to save money, list all your grocery list before going to grocery store.just buy what you need .and dont be an impulse buyer.

  5. We often buy in bulk, especially if we find a great price. My wife, when we were first together, thought my habit of “storing up” was a bit excessive. I made her a promise that she will NEVER run out of the necessities she needs to run the home, cook and care for the family. My reasons are preparedness for natural disasters and smooth out price fluctuations and shortages. We highly value our work time and running out for one item when preparing lunch is simply NOT in the time budget.

    We have observed that many imported products we regularly use can go out of stock for long periods even after a short term flooding situation. I do not feel guilty stocking six months worth or more of products that will store well such as my Bragg’s apple cider vinegar. It will not spoil and we will not go without.

    Human nature kicks in after an emergency and will frequently supersede the government pleading with vendors NOT to engage in price gouging. We prefer to NOT be victims of that activity. I always plan to hunker down at home and ride out the emergency with the family in one safe location. A recent example are the inexpensive canned 555 sardines in natural oil that my cats love as part of their diet. Pre-COVID-19, a can cost P17, never more than P20 at local markets. Days after the first pandemic related lock-down, those same sardines were in a local wet market priced at P70 / can. Scale that up with groceries enough for a family and I know we made the correct decision.

    People buy property insurance, automobile insurance and health insurance. We never want to “collect” but we willing pay that yearly premium to have coverage. I have posted before that I consider our prepping as FOOD INSURANCE. The best part, we get to eat the premium because we stock what we eat and regularly consume. Our extended family members were also very thankful that we were able to share boxes of food with them as the pandemic progressed and they had nothing left in the pantry.

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