Money Saving Tips

10 Cheaper Alternatives to Things It’s Not Worth Spending On

10 Free and Cheap Alternatives for Services and Products
Written by Irina Vasilescu

While some things are worth buying and can ultimately work out as a saving, new opportunities and technologies are making many of the neat gadgets and concepts of yesteryear obsolete and a complete waste of money.

We look at ten things you absolutely should not get and the cheap (or free) alternatives you can use instead.

Cable TV subscriptions

Cable TV subscriptions become more and more unpopular these days. Instead of paying a high monthly subscription fee to watch movies, many people are turning to cheap online alternatives like Netflix and Hulu.

Unless you have a special reason for keeping your subscription, consider following the trend and ditch your cable in favor for one of the online alternatives.

Gym memberships

In the New Year, there is always a flurry of people signing up for gym memberships to get their festive season weight off. But few people keep their resolutions. Instead, they realize they’ve signed up for something useless.

Unless you’re very resolute and need all that equipment, consider getting your exercise for free. Go for a brisk, walk or run several times a week around your local park, and use body weight exercises to strengthen your muscles at home.

Satnav devices

Many newer model cars come equipped with GPS devices, and even if your car doesn’t have one, there are free satnav apps for cell phones as Google Maps or Waze, that you can use instead.

While the satnav was once the cool gadget that everyone wanted, it simply isn’t necessary to buy one when there are so many free alternatives.

Hotel rooms and taxis

Unless your boss is paying for your accommodation on a trip, you might want to consider giving Airbnb a whirl instead. The same goes for Taxis – Uber is usually a much cheaper option. Look out for homes or drivers that have good reviews and save big time.

RV’s, quad bikes and snowmobiles

Most people hardly use these vehicles, incurring maintenance costs while the car stands in a garage or backyard, depreciating every single month. Ultimately, it’s cheaper, and you can find that it’s less of a hassle to rent rather than buying it.

Holidays in peak season

Unless you have kids and simply can’t get away for an off-season break, you should consider taking your next holiday in a quiet season. Apart from being spared the crowded conditions, you’ll also pay a lot less for just about everything.

Designer clothing

With designer clothing, you’re paying more for the name than you’re actually paying for the item. By all means choose a good, mid-priced brand rather than a dirt cheap knock-off for the sake of quality, but don’t get ripped off. An over-the-top price does not necessarily mean that the quality you’re buying is any better.

If you can’t resist those top name brands, wait for the seasonal sales. You can get 50% or more off the price.

Fad diets and weight loss supplements

Whether it’s a pill, a book, or the latest craze, common sense will probably serve you a lot better when it comes to losing weight. Rapid weight loss is dangerous for you, and it triggers signals in your body that it should prepare for the next famine by piling on fat the moment you start eating the same way you did before.

Instead, try to cut down or eliminate sugar from your diet, fill up on fruit or veggies and reduce your portion sizes a little, and you’ll be able to lose weight sensibly.

Home exercise machines

Think twice before you buy a home exercise machine. After an initial burst of interest and regular use, they usually end up in a corner gathering dust. Plus, they work the same muscles in the same way all the time. If you’re serious about getting fit and the weather’s too cold for outdoor exercise, a simple exercise mat along with free Youtube tutorials, is probably your best investment!

If you’re serious about getting fit and the weather’s too cold for outdoor exercise, a simple exercise mat along with free Youtube tutorials, is probably your best investment!

Take-out coffee

This daily caprice is one of those times that you actually can save by spending. If you’re a coffee-lover, you’ll almost certainly save if you buy a good & cheap coffee machine and learn to make your own latte – plus, you’ll be able to treat not only yourself but also it is a good brunch reason for your friends to come over.

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10 Cheaper Alternatives to Things It's Not Worth Spending On

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About the author

Irina Vasilescu

Irina Vasilescu is our money-saving and DIY expert and also the editor-in-chief as she's always on the lookout for the latest online deals.


  • I can never understand how people can spend so much money on TV when there are such cheaper subscriptions available out there. I have friends who spend so much money on it when they just can’t afford it, and all they have to do is do their research and get rid of the subscriptions that are costing such a lot of money. So this article is great as it should help people to understand that paying more doesn’t always mean that they’re getting a better product.

  • I use to work at a call center doing troubleshooting for cable, internet and phone and some of the bills for cable were scary. This is why we gave up ours in 2010 we both decided we wanted the internet more. And with the internet we can use Netflix. Not always but sometimes you can find full episodes of shows on Youtube but be warned they are down soon sometimes! I buy cheap clothing whatever is on sale or the clearance rack and I shop at 2nd hand stores for clothes.

  • Cable and satellite prices are insane. We just lowered our package. We’ve been a satellite customer for many years and found the price a whole lot more affordable than our previous cable company. Actually we were with a satellite company before we went to cable, but when we moved our new home was already wired for cable and back then, when you had satellite you had to purchase the satellite, and we had just left an apartment complex that wouldn’t let us remove the satellite unless we paid for someone to remove it, so we left it.

    So we lived with cable for many years until the price became outrageous. Our bill even got as high as $300 and we didn’t even have any movie channels like HBO. We just had basic cable. We didn’t watch Pay per view movies or anything.

    I finally had it and cancelled our subscription and my husband and I decided to go back to satellite. We always loved the great customer service and the affordable price of satellite programming. With satellite we found out we didn’t have to purchase any equipment, like in the past and that we would get more channels than we got when we had cable.

    Now our satellite company has merged with a company that is notorious for hidden fees, I’m ready to jump ship, but my husband isn’t ready, so we made a compromise to lower our package to see how that works for us and then make a decision later about cutting our ties with cable and satellite altogether.

  • I agree, cable TV subscriptions have insane prices, and they’re also hardly worth the money: on the other hand, services like Netflix give you instantaneous access to a plethora of TV series and movies of any genre! Is there anything else you could ask for?
    However, there aren’t many alternatives outside of US, either because of low average connection speed (it’s around 7 Mb/s here, and it’s usually not enough to keep up with a 1080p streaming) or limitations of any kind (for instance, the American Netflix catalogue, which is the largest one, is only available in the US), hopefully things will get better in the next years.
    Also, I’d like to add something about clothing: sites like Redbubble or Teespring have lots of cool designs for shirts, sweaters and hoodies for pretty low prices. I personally prefer them over well-known brands.

  • Great tips there Irina, the idea of getting a holiday when it’s quiet is just amazing. One can really save a lot as the hotels and the hideaways aren’t as much on demand. I have also been thinking of renting out my second car or selling it as I have realized that the more it sleeps int hat garage, the more demanding it is.
    Thanks a lot for sharing these tips and keep up the great work.


  • I bought a treadmill once. It cost me £250.00 and when it arrived it was so heavy that we almost couldn’t get it up the stairs into the spare room. Then, when we finally got it up there and turned on, the continuous ‘thud thud thud’ that could be heard downstairs when I was using it was so loud that I could only use it when no-one else was in the house. Total waste of time and money!

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