10 expensive products you’re wasting your money on
*Insert flying money emoji here*
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There are some products worth spending more money on in life, but others—not so much. We can justify splurging on high-quality kitchen knives and mattresses, while other expensive items are simply a waste of your hard-earned money.
The following are 10 expensive products that you’re wasting money on. Don't worry—we've suggested some less-expensive alternatives, as well.
1. Bottled water
I know what you’re thinking: “Bottled water isn’t that expensive.” But when you consider you can get it for free from the faucet, then yeah, it is.
If you’re not convinced that bottled water is a waste of money, you should also consider its impact on the environment. The Earth Day Network explains the average American uses more than 150 disposable plastic water bottles every year, for a countrywide total of around 50 billion. Oh, and only 23 percent of these bottles get recycled.
Do your wallet and the earth a favor and buy a Brita filter. Please.
2. Brand-name tech accessories
It’s reasonable to assume that an Apple brand phone charger would somehow be superior to the cheap ones you see at the pharmacy checkout counter, but the truth is they’re pretty comparable products.
It doesn’t matter if you buy a $30 charging cord from Apple or a $10 one off Amazon—they’re probably going to charge your phone at the same rate and last you the same amount of time.
3. Brand new cars
As someone who purchased a new car, I totally get the appeal here. It’s brand new! Never owned! Only 2 miles on the odometer! It smells like a new car!
That's all fine and good, but the second you drive a new car off the lot, its value drops. Even if you sold it the very next day, you wouldn’t be able to recoup all your money. If you’re willing to shop around and be patient, chances are you can find a like-new vehicle that will cost you several thousand dollars less than a new car. So why wouldn’t you?
4. The latest iPhone—or other over-hyped gadget
Within a week of owning the much-hyped iPhone X, I came to the conclusion that it simply wasn’t worth the $1,000 I paid. Sure, it’s cool that I can unlock it with my face, but to the general consumer's untrained eye, the performance and camera aren’t noticeably better. Plus, Apple released three new versions of the iPhone X within a matter of months, so mine isn’t even the cool kid on the block anymore. The hype was short-lived, to say the least.
The moral of the story here is that it’s generally not worth it to snatch up the latest and greatest gadgets the minute they’re released. Just get an iPhone 8 and save yourself a couple hundred dollars.
5. Your daily Starbucks coffee
If you buy a coffee from Starbucks every day, you do not ever get to complain about having money problems. Even a small iced coffee is $2.65. That’s highway robbery!
For comparison, you can buy a 28-ounce bag of Starbucks coffee beans for around $15. There’s less than 1/2 an ounce of beans per cup, which means you’ll get around 56 cups of coffee from that one bag. Repeat after me: 56 cups for $15. If you bought that many cups in an actual store, it would run you close to $150. Let that sink in.
6. Extensive cable packages
“I get 800 channels with my cable package.” “Cool, Chad, but how many of those channels do you actually watch?”
Cable packages can easily cost hundreds of dollars a month, and the reality is that most of us watch the same five or 10 channels every day. With all of today’s technology, there’s really no reason to be handing over your paycheck to the cable company.
Instead, look into Hulu Live, which is just $40 a month, or get yourself a Fire TV Recast, which works like your cable DVR and will save you money after a couple of months.
7. Designer goods
I majored in Fashion Merchandising in college, and as such, I’m painfully aware of just how much of a ripoff designer goods are. That $1,000 designer handbag you’ve been coveting? It was probably made in the same factory as the $20 bag from Target.
You’re only paying premium prices because these goods have a designer label. There’s nothing inherently valuable about them—it’s just good marketing. I will admit that designer jeans are often an exception, though. They’re totally worth the splurge.
8. Brand-name pharmaceuticals
The same marketing ploy is at work with brand-name medications like Advil or Motrin. The active ingredient in these medications is the same in generic ibuprofen tablets. So buy the cheap ones and save yourself the headache—get it?
9. Premium gas
Most car experts will tell you that the majority of vehicles don’t need premium gas. If your owner’s manual “requires” premium, that’s one thing, but if it’s simply "recommended?" Skip it.
Premium gas is supposed to reduce the chance of engine knock, but most luxury cars have sensors that prevent this anyway. So using premium gas is kind of redundant, and an extra 50 cents a gallon is an expensive price to pay for redundancy.
10. Movie theater snacks
It’s not secret that movie theater snacks are a ripoff. Seriously, $4 for a candy bar? You can get the same exact snack for $1 at your local grocery store, so just get them ahead of time and put it in your purse or pocket.
I know, I know, you’re not supposed to bring in outside foods. I won’t tell if you won’t.
Prices are accurate at the time this article was published, but may change over time.