24 products people waste too much money on that you should stop buying immediately

Jeff Zelevansky/Getty ImagesDVDs are almost obsolete — and there’s a big reason why.
  • Some items we’re used to buying every day can actually be a huge waste of money.
  • Store-bought greeting cards, physical books, cable TV, and premium gasoline are just a few examples.
  • Bigger purchases, such as a boat or a time-share, often aren’t worth the cost either.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories .

Waste not, want not.

We make so many purchases that we don’t always realise what we are buying – and how we could be saving money. If we take a step back and think about all of our additional costs, we could cut a few out of our lives.

These 24 products can often be a huge waste of money:

Matthew Michaels contributed to the original version of this article.

Lottery tickets

REUTERS/Lucy NicholsonLottery tickets are a waste of money.

Many lottery players purchase tickets each day with the hope of striking big, but games of chance are preventing you from having more money, not less. You are expected to lose money if you play the lottery and there is no guarantee you will even keep winnings.


Srdjan Zivulovic/ReutersCigarettes are bad for you and your wallet.

In New York City, someone who smokes one pack of cigarettes a day burns up over $US5,000 a year. Smoking can also be a huge cost to your health – medical bills can rack up from the dirty habit even tobacco companies are quitting.

Water bottles

Pete Norton/GettyWater bottles are a huge waste.

As Americans became more health conscious and started drinking less soda, beverage companies needed a new plan. It worked as Americans now drink more bottled water than soda, even though it costs $US1.22 per gallon for a commodity that can be accessed for next to nothing.

Brand name drugs

APGo for basic brands.

For most products that are exactly the same, customers would usually choose the cheaper option. This does not hold true for brand name drugs, which consistently outpace sales of their generic counterparts despite having the same ingredients and effects. Save yourself some money and buy the generic ibuprofen instead of Advil.

Movie theatre concessions

Kevork Djansezian/ReutersA movie theatre.

Movie theatres don’t make profits from film tickets, but instead through food sales. The over-inflated popcorn and pricey candy is a rip off considering you can buy the same products at the supermarket for much cheaper and many theatres don’t care if you bring in your own snacks (as long as you clean up after yourself).

Café coffee

REUTERS/Jason RedmondA barista in a coffee shop.

Before Starbucks and Dunkin’ Doughnuts were on every street corner,people brewed their own coffee at home. This is still somewhat popular – especially with coffee pods – but coffee shops have taken a lot of the business. With expensive price tags and long waits, it’s a wonder why everyone isn’t turning to homebrew.


Mike Segar/ReutersA woman at a bookstore.

A library is the best way to save money on an expensive hobby. Libraries are free and come with millions of books, DVDs, and other materials for you to borrow.


Aila Images/ShutterstockPeople cliff jumping.

Timeshares sound too good to be true. They offer low prices for a vacation home that you can use whenever you want. But they can trap you with ever-increasing fees and low resale value, making timeshares an almost guaranteed loss.


Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesBoats can be really expensive.

One sign of wealth is cruising on a personal yacht, but that may be a better indicator of wasted wealth. Boats are expensive on their own, but as Saltwater Sportsman says, prices for storage, gas, maintenance, and electronic navigation drive up the initial cost.

CDs and DVDs

ReutersPiles of CDs.

CDs and DVDs are becoming obsolete, but many people still shell out cash for hard copies of albums and movies. Like books, CDs and DVDs can be rented at libraries, but most people now stream entertainment on apps like Spotify and Netflix for a monthly rate that costs less than a single disc.

Cable TV

Joe Raedle / Staff / Getty ImagesCable TV has been largely replaced by streaming services.

Like music and movies, television is moving from more traditional modes to online streaming. Since cable packages make you pay for more than you want, a pick-and-pay model may wind up costing you less. Streaming has the added bonus of no commercials and watching on your own schedule.

Greeting cards

Shutterstock/lentamentGreeting cards are overpriced.

Make your own – it’s more meaningful if you gift a personalised card and you’ll save the $US5.

Gift cards

Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesGift cards often go unused.

Gift cards aren’t as popular a present as you may think. Almost one in three gift cards never get used at all, CBS reported in 2014, citing Consumer Reports. And those who do use them tend to spend 20% more than the value of the card, according to Investopedia. Cut your losses and buy something more thoughtful next time.

Gym membership

Scott Barbour/Getty ImagesGym memberships can cost you.

Gym memberships can be expensive, so if you’re not a frequent visitor, you’re just wasting money. Thankfully, there are ways to be healthy and exercise outside of a gym.

Premium gasoline

REUTERS/Carlos BarriaPremium gas isn’t worth it.

Regular will do just fine. For most cars, there is no need to spend more at the pump for premium gasoline. The extra cost is not worth it, so save up at the tank and pick the most affordable fuel.

The newest gadget

Justin Sullivan/GettyUpgrades often don’t make a difference — stick with your older model.

Whenever a new gadget hits market, the older version takes a plunge in price. The old and new version will probably be very similar and the most recent model may have kinks to work out. Save a lot of money by going with a slightly older product that has nearly identical capabilities.

In-game purchases

Carlo Allegri/ReutersIn-app purchases can add up.

Those free games you play on your smartphone have to get money from somewhere. It turns out these games are highly addictive and designed with psychological tricks so you will spend the most money to get to the next level.

Express shipping

Joe Raedle/Getty ImagesSave your money and just get standard shipping.

Online retailers can make a lot of money charging customers enormous fees for quick shipping. But while the standard option may take a bit longer, the savings is worth it.

Full-priced clothing

Shoshy Ciment/Business InsiderWait for your favourite items to hit the clearance section.

Buying clothing full-price can add unnecessary expenses to your monthly budget. Not only do most in-store clothing items eventually go on sale after a few weeks, but there are countless other ways to get new clothes for less. Hit up your local thrift stores, swap clothes with your friends, or check out online second-hand retailers like Poshmark or Depop to save some money.

Going out to eat

Chandan Khanna/AFP/Getty ImagesEating out is extremely expensive.

Everyone knows that going out to eat is expensive. According to the Bureau of Labour Statistics, the average American household spends about $US3,000 a year dining out. That’s a huge expense. According to an article by MoneyUnder30, this number far outweighs how much it costs to prepare food at home. The average price of a meal out is $US13. In contrast, the price of buying groceries and making a meal at home is around $US4 per plate – a whopping $US9 difference.

Alcoholic drinks in restaurants

andrea federici / ShutterstockCocktails and wine are overpriced in most restaurants.

While a whole bottle of wine at your local liquor store may cost anywhere between $US10 and $US15, you can expect to pay at least $US8 or $US9 for just a glass at a restaurant. Cocktails can cost even more, despite only containing a shot or two of alcohol per serving. Save your pennies and order a soft drink the next time you go out to eat.

Food delivery

Katie Canales/Business InsiderDelivery charges can reach up to $US8.

Food delivery services are sweeping the nation. Companies like Postmates, Caviar, Seamless, GrubHub, and more allow you to enjoy your favourite restaurants from the comforts of home – for an added fee. Delivery charges can cost anywhere from $US2.99 to $US8, costing you more money for the same product if you simply went and picked up your food yourself.

High-end beauty products

Bethany Biron/Business InsiderDrugstore products work just as well.

Drugstore makeup has come a long way in recent years, to the point where they rival higher-end brands. The actual differences between products you find in CVS and Sephora are almost slim to none – so don’t pay more for the luxury brands.

Off-brand tech accessories and chargers

Shutterstock/2p2playOff-brand accessories can harm your device.

Off-brand tech accessories and chargers – meaning ones not designed by Apple, Android, Samsung, etc – are usually a waste of your money. They may seem like a cheap and easy fix when you find yourself out and about with a dead device. However, according to the experts at Money, cheap cords can actually end up breaking quickly or even damaging your device. You may end up having to purchase a new phone for the sake of a $US9.99 charger.

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