Vincent Chan

7 things I STOPPED spending money on

Welcome to reThinkable – my weekly newsletter where I share actionable insights to build a wealthy healthy life.

Here’s what we’re covering:

🛒 Lifestyle creeping up

💰 7 things I stopped spending money on

✏️ Where I draw the line


Estimated read time: 3 minutes and 57 seconds

🛒 Lifestyle creeping up

I was never was a big spender growing up. I knew my parents didn’t have much money so I always felt guilty asking them for something.

On the few occasions I did ask, like for new clothes, my parents would gently encourage me to get 1 size larger so I could still wear it years later.

It was only once I graduated college and finally had money of my own to spend that I started to treat myself more – maybe a little too much.

But before I let lifestyle creep get the best of me, I remembered what it was like to not have money. I’ve since made personal finance a big priority in my life

Today, I’m sharing 7 things I stopped spending money on. Cutting these things has left me with more money each month without having to sacrifice on my quality of life.

💰 7 things I stopped spending money on

💸 High Expense Ratios

High expense ratios in investment funds can secretly destroy your returns. I couldn’t believe by how much until I compared two mutual funds with different expense ratios. Let’s say:

  • Mutual Fund A has an expense ratio of 0.20%

  • Mutual Fund B has an expense ratio of 0.85%

Assuming I made an initial investment of $15,000 today and generated an average of 7% return each year, here’s what I’d be left with after 20 years:

  • Mutual Fund A: $55,767

  • Mutual Fund B: $48,935

small difference of 0.65% in expense ratios turned into a big difference of $6,832.

And that’s just with a single $15,000 lump sum investment across 20 years. What if I invested more money or if I let the investment grow for longer?

2. 💼 Extra Taxes

Last year, I had to remind one of my closest friends from college to claim his $2,500 student loan interest deduction. Thankfully, he listened and he reduced his taxable income and saved him hundreds of dollars on his tax return.


Missing out on tax deductions and credits can cost you a lot of money.

Tax deductions reduce your taxable income, potentially placing you in a lower tax bracket, while credits can directly decrease the amount of tax you owe or increase the refund you receive.

There’s a bunch more commonly overlooked tax deductions and credits such as charitable deductions, child care credit, and more.

3. 🏋️‍♂️ Unused Gym Memberships

Gym memberships can be a great investment for your health, but only if you actually use them.


One of my co-workers used to pay $260 per month for a fancy gym membership he never used. But then realized he was more likely to exercise at home (with free workout tutorials) because it was way more convenient. He ended his gym membership and saved over $3,000 a year.


Up to 67% of gym memberships go completely underused. Fun fact, many gyms’ business models are run with the assumption that most members won’t go regularly.

4. 🎟️ Lottery Tickets

The allure of winning big is tempting, but lottery tickets are a very poor investment.

The average person who buys a lottery ticket spends around $75 a monthThe problem is, the odds of winning the lottery, like the Powerball Jackpot, is extremely low with a 1 in 292 million chance.

I was never great at math but even I know those odds aren’t worth it. You have a higher chance of getting injured or dying from a lightning strike (a 1 in 1,222,000 chance).

5. 👖 Fast Fashion

Fast fashion may seem like a bargain, but it often costs more in the long run.

I learned this the hard way when my $25 pair of jeans tore after just a few wears. But the worst part is, I noticed the tear while I was riding the subway to get dinner with friends. I looked down and I noticed a huge hole in my crotch area…

Investing in higher-quality clothing that lasts longer not only saves money over time but also reduces environmental waste. A high-quality jacket you spend $150 on and wear 50 times has a cost a per wear of $3. If you spend $25 on a jacket that rips after two wears, then its cost per wear is $12.50.

6. 🥪 Buying Lunch Every Day

Nowadays, a quick bite in NYC can cost anywhere from $16 to $18 — that amount can quickly add up.


By preparing lunch from home, I can cut my lunch expenses from $4,420 (~$17 for lunch per work day) to less than $1,000 annually, a savings of over $3,400. Plus, homemade meals are typically a lot healthier.

But I’m not the kind of person to say “you should never buy lunch outside.” I believe it’s important to find a balance that works for you.

If you’re having a stressful day, or just want to treat yourself to something special, then by all means, go out and buy a tasty lunch.

7. 📺 Underused Subscriptions

I still remember how surprised I was when I discovered I was paying for 3 subscriptions that I never used.

I had signed up for each of their trial periods without realizing they auto-renewed and automatically charged my card. By the time I realized this, I had already been charged $275.


Monthly subscriptions, while individually might seem like minor expenses, can collectively become a substantial drain on your budget. The average monthly value of unused paid subscriptions is around $25.34. In a year, you’re spending over $300 for something that you’re not even using.

Nowadays, I have an annual tradition where I review all my subscription services and double check to make sure I actually use them.

✏️ Where I draw the line

I have absolutely no problem spending on things that truly bring me joy and value.

However, I don’t want to spend just out of habit or because I feel the need to impress others. If you cut out some of these things in your life, you’ll likely be in a much better financial position.

P.S. What’s something you always avoid spending money on and why?

Reply to this email to let me know :).