Top 5 Items That Are A Complete Waste of Money
Today, inflation is on nearly everyone’s minds. It’s affecting the budgets of households of all sizes, leaving many wondering if there is anything they can do to improve their financial security. Fortunately, by skipping products that aren’t providing you with value, you can reduce your spending with ease. Whether you have a tight budget or simply want to avoid overspending, here are the top five items that are completely a waste of money.
1. Disposable Coffee Pods
Pod-based coffee makers like the Keurig offer incredible convenience. Plus, you have the ability to make a fresh cup of your favorite hot beverage in mere minutes. That’s particularly handy for anyone that’s often on the go or in households where not everyone enjoys the same coffee.
However, that doesn’t make disposable coffee pods a good deal even if the convenience level is high and they’re time savers. In fact, they are more often a waste of money, especially since there is a viable low-cost alternative.
If you break down the cost of a K-Cup and compare it to how much you’d spend on a similar amount of regular ground coffee, the difference can be two or threefold. That’s a significant upcharge. Plus, the pods themselves aren’t particularly good for the environment.
Instead of using K-Cups or a similar pod, get a reusable filter that’s designed to fit your machine. With that, you can buy traditional ground coffee in a bag or container instead. Simply put them in the reusable filter and use your coffeemaker as you typically would. You’ll still have the convenience of a pod coffee machine without the cost. Plus, you won’t be throwing away mountains of pods over time, which is a nice bonus for the environment.
2. Bottled Water
Generally, finding ways to drink more water is a good thing. However, buying bottled water is typically a big waste of money. The water itself isn’t typically all that special. Often, it’s simply a filtered version of what you can usually get at home, though it may include some minerals thrown in to give it a particular flavor.
Many bottled waters that tout health benefits don’t notably outperform tap water either. For example, most people don’t need added electrolytes unless they’ve lost a significant amount of water through heat or physical activity. Similarly, flavorings can mean added sugar.
Instead, get a reusable water bottle and bring tap water with you. If you don’t like the taste of your tap water, then purchase a filtering system, like a Brita. Filtering pitchers or faucet attachments can remove impurities that can lead to an unpleasant flavor, leaving you with clean-tasting water for far less than the cost of bottled water.
The only exception here is areas with water issues that filtering systems won’t fix. If you’re advised by a health agency to only drink bottled water, then that’s likely best. However, skip the individual serving-style bottles and go for gallons or larger. Additionally, look for plain drinking water, opting for store brands when possible. That allows you to get what you need without spending any more than necessary.
3. Name-Brand OTC Medications
While there may be a reason why you need a name-brand prescription medication, that’s rarely the case with over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. Whether it’s pain relievers, allergy medications, antacids, or anything else, generics can usually do the same job for far less than the name-brand alternative.
With generics, you get the same active ingredients in the same quantities in most formulas. As a result, they’ll often be equally effective. Plus, figuring out which generic is a match is often easy, as most generic OTC medications list what they’re designed to replace on the front of the packaging.
The same is often true of prescription medications. However, you want to speak with your doctor before transitioning to a generic. There are situations where the name-brand may be necessary, and the exact nature of those reasons can vary. However, if your doctor says that using a generic is an option, you may want to consider that to snag some significant savings.
4. Trendy Exercise Gadgets
The fitness industry has new gadgets come out with shocking regularity. Often, these devices claim that they can help you handle a trouble area or lose weight and build muscle with incredible speed. In many cases, these statements aren’t the guarantees that they seem.
Additionally, trendy exercise gadgets often don’t give you results that you can’t get with bodyweight exercises or some simple, classic equipment like hand weights. Couple that with the fact that many of the gadgets aren’t overly simple to use or can’t provide a full-body workout, and their value declines even more.
Since that’s the case, you’re often better off skipping the trendy exercise gadgets altogether. Instead, find a bodyweight exercise program you can do at home or an activity that you enjoy that you can do without fancy gadgets. Along with saving you money, you might end up with better results.
5. Many Supplements
While some people may need to augment their intact of specific vitamins or minerals due to health conditions or dietary deficiencies, a surprising number of supplements fall short of their promises. Plus, some supplements can be dangerous at times. Certain vitamin, mineral, and herbal supplements may interact poorly with specific prescription medications, and some are known to potentially damage particular body systems, like the liver or kidneys.
Since regulations in the supplement industry are pretty light, there may be impurities, too. Fillers may also not be on the label, which could increase risks for those with allergies, ingredient sensitivities, or similar issues. Finally, some supplements may contain more or less of the vitamins, minerals, or herbs than what’s listed on the ingredients lists, causing doses to be lower or higher than the person taking them intended.
Along with spending money on supplements, health issues relating to a supplement can be surprisingly expensive. As a result, unless a doctor explicitly states that adding a vitamin or supplement is necessary, it’s better to save your money.
Can you think of any other items that are completely a waste of money? Do you think some of the items above aren’t always a waste of money? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
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Tamila McDonald has worked as a Financial Advisor for the military for past 13 years. She has taught Personal Financial classes on every subject from credit, to life insurance, as well as all other aspects of financial management. Mrs. McDonald is an AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor and has helped her clients to meet their short-term and long-term financial goals.