It’s that time of the year again! The most popular New Year’s Resolution for 2019 is a difficult one: to save more money. Other popular resolutions are to engage in more sustainable and eco-friendly activities, and to get healthier; both physically and mentally. These goals all go great together! The more mindful you are when you purchase an item, the more you will reuse that item, and the more you reuse that item the better you will feel. Recent studies have shown that individuals who practice mindfulness in their day–to-day lives experience less stress and lead healthier lives. And, what better way to begin practicing mindfulness than in everyday purchasing decisions?

Let’s take a look at some little changes that can have a big impact on your ability to save.

  1. Take inventory of your spending habits.

One of the best ways to assess where you’re at in terms of finances is taking stock of where your money is going. With this new age of autopay and expired free trials, it’s easy to accumulate a wealth of subscriptions you may not be using regularly.

Some of the most popular subscription tracking apps, such as TrueBill, Trim, and Subscript.Me. (These apps are in no way associated or partnered with SVdP.)

These free apps will scan your bank activity for recurring fees you are paying.

If you’re looking for a quicker and easier way to track your subscriptions via mobile phone Bobby is a free app on the Apple Store that allows you to see a visual representation of all of your monthly subscriptions, as well as bill notifications and alerts to prevent you from having insufficient funds in your account on the day your bill is due.

On average, Americans spend 22% (typically, about $200 per month) of their disposable income on non-essentials. Do you have a specific goal you would like to accomplish this year? Squirreling some of that money away, or making the shift to purchasing only necessities can help you meet your saving goals.

        2. Take inventory of your possessions, and use reusable products.

Something that can often be overlooked is the long term expensiveness of buying cheaper, disposable items versus investing a small amount more in higher quality, reusable items. Think of things that you use every day. What do you seem to replenish frequently? Among the more common answers include: napkins, paper towels, bottles of water, and (of course) plastic shopping bags.

For instance, napkins cost, on average $65 per year. Paying $10.00 for a set of cloth napkins that can be used over and over again can save $55.00 the first year!

Paper towels are another mainstay in the USA due to the instant gratification it lends a hand to. However, they are not as versatile as their cloth counterparts. An average family goes through 2 rolls of paper towels per week, and are spending roughly $182.00 per year for this convenience. However, a pack of 4 dish towels at your local store costs around $5.48- roughly $1.37 per towel.

A big way to save is by eliminating the use of packaged bottles of water. If you go through a $7 case each week you’re spending roughly $364 per year for something that is a free resource. Consider investing in a reusable water bottle for $17.00, and, if you are not living in an area with pristine tap water, consider a filter for the tap. The start-up cost of this is roughly $25.00 for either a standard faucet mount filter or a refillable refrigerator filter. So, assuming its $15 every two months to buy a single filter replacement- the maintenance cost overall works out to roughly $90 dollars with an average savings annually of $275.00.

Plastic bags may seem like a non-issue as well-but it adds up quickly. The average American family, according to the Natural Resources Defense Council, takes home roughly 1,500 plastic grocery bags per year- which takes 8,000 barrels of oil to manufacture- with only a paltry 5% of them getting recycled. And, with the mandatory minimum charge of 10 cents per bag, that looks like a whopping 150 dollars a year, on average- with little to no benefit. Reusable bags on average cost less than $5.00.

Assuming all of these are adopted in the same year- you’ll be able to drastically reduce your carbon footprint, increase mindfulness, and save roughly $1,000 per year- semi instantly!


4. Embrace the Secondhand Marketplace

One of the biggest misconceptions of thrift stores and consignment shops is that they are filled with old, unusable items. This couldn’t be further from the truth! Giving new life to a pre-owned piece of furniture is not only fulfilling, but can also be a creative endeavor. Non-profit thrift stores are the ultimate way to ensure that when you do spend money, you are investing it directly into your local community.

The average American family spends approximately $1,800 on clothes per year. What could you fit into your budget if you made the switch to either higher quality or pre-owned clothing for one year?

St. Vincent de Paul of Contra Costa County operates 3 thrift stores in Pittsburg, Pleasant Hill, and Brentwood. All of the money from purchases at these stores contribute to the operation and continuation of social safety net services for the most vulnerable members of our community. This includes dining services, a free medical clinic, a daytime homeless shelter for families, a food pantry, free dental services for the uninsured, and specialized assistance for those in need. Recently, we’ve even expanded to the online shopping universe with a brand new eBay store – learn more at this link.

Visit us at the following locations to check out quality merchandise:

Pleasant Hill Location:

2815 Contra Costa Boulevard, Pleasant Hill CA.


Open 7 Days a week: 10:00 AM- 6:00 PM

Pittsburg Location:

2210 Gladstone Drive, Pittsburg CA

(925) 439-9064

Monday-Saturday: 9:00AM- 5:00 PM

Brentwood Location:

8890 Brentwood Blvd, Brentwood CA

(925) 635- 3214

Open 7 Days a week: 10:00 AM- 6:00 PM


To learn more about what St. Vincent de Paul does or to get involved, please reach out to Or, give us a call at (925)-439-5060.

In the event that you read this article and wanted to give all of these money saving tips and tricks a try, let us know how it’s going for you by sending us an email. We’d love to hear from you!