Money Your Budget 20 things that are just a big, fat waste of money
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20 things that are just a big, fat waste of money

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Some things in life are such a stupid, ineffective use of your hard-earned cash, that you may as well just direct your employer to deposit the money directly into your toilet.

Well, little spenders, I say enough is enough. It’s time to ban the bullshit buys. Time to stop spending money on stuff we don’t need, and put it towards things we do.

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In no particular order, here are 20 things sure to suck the dollars from your wallet. If you can avoid them, why not?

Is there anything you think is a stupid waste of money? Add a comment at the end of this post, or join us on Facebook!

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Come on. Photo: Shutterstock

1. Bottled water

Are you in Delhi, Sierra Leone or some other exotic and far-flung destination? No? Then what are you doing regularly buying water in a bottle?

A 600ml bottle of water will cost you about $3 at a convenience store. Everyone whinges about the cost of petrol, but at around $1.20 a litre in Australia, it’s a stack cheaper than bottled water.

It’s enough to make you turn a tap on.

2. Overpriced parking

I recently (almost) paid $5.50 an hour for street parking near Melbourne’s Queen Victoria Market. Of course, because I’m a tightwad, I quickly changed my mind when I saw the price, and parked four minutes’ walk away instead – for free.

Paying too much for parking, unless you really, really have to is a bit pointless. At least try and find a discount like this. Or if you’re going to the airport, try this.

3. Frivolous fines

Fines suck! Do everything you can to avoid any kind of fine, including parking, speeding or the less ‘bad boy’, but still costly, library fine.

4. Brand new cars, especially very fancy ones

‘I bought a Suzuki Ignis from a second-hard car yard somewhere near Dandenong’ doesn’t have quite the same ring as ‘I bought a Jeep’. But trust me, my buzzbox was a shedload cheaper. I don’t get why you’d buy a new car, when it depreciates thousands of dollars the moment you drive it out of the showroom.

It’s like agreeing to get married, knowing that your bride or groom is going to get really ugly the minute the ring is slipped on. Tell me, am I missing something?

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Is that new car smell really worth an extra $20,000? Photo: Shutterstock

5. Useless kitchen appliances

Popcorn maker, hot dog warmer, breadmaker, bloody Thermomix … are you ever going to use any of these things? If you’re that determined to empty your bank account, at least snap up one on eBay that someone else has already gotten sick of.

6. Treadmills, and pretty much anything sold via infomercials

You could just open your door and go for a walk or run outside. Unless you live in Siberia, or on the moon, it’s not that hard. Speaking of, you could probably also ditch the Spin class and ride to work/to the shops/wherever.

7. Gym joining fees

You’re already paying to use the gym, so what’s the joining fee all about? If your gym of choice is trying to slug you, ask when their next promotion is. January 1 usually comes with a good deal. If that fails, negotiate – or look elsewhere.

8. Personalised number plates

5ILLY waste of coin.

9. Smoothies that cost $17

Fresh fruit juice is delicious, but why is it so expensive? Who can we blame – Boost Juice? I was thinking Sarah Wilson, but I don’t think she likes fruit. Too much sugar.

10. Children

Joking! Look, I don’t have any poppets, but maybe that just gives me an unbiased view of what’s really going on. Why would you pay a few thousand dollars for a pram? Or feel the need to spend a fortune on a first birthday pressie? Is it just to impress everyone else? Does the cute person in your life actually need it or care?

11. Moving boxes

Yes, you can buy some shiny new boxes to pack up all your worldly goods. Or you could just ask your local supermarket or Bunnings to put a few boxes aside for you for nada.

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You can keep your $17 smoothie, thank you so much. Photo: Shutterstock

12. Overpriced convenience food

How is it that a supermarket can cut up a few carrots and some celery sticks and pretty much double the price? I spotted this top effort by Woolworths yesterday – $4.17 for a .278kg tub of pineapple. I suppose if people will pay it…

Unlucky 13. Tattslotto, scratchies, pokies

I wasn’t sure whether to include this one, mainly because my great uncle once won the lotto. He and my great auntie jazzed up their house, bought a new caravan and divvied up the rest between their family. I suppose you gotta take a chance sometimes. Though, let’s face it, neither you or I are likely to win anytime soon. May as well just chuck the money on your mortgage.

14. Wedding registries at travel agents

Well, this is a bit controversial. I know it’s probably the easiest way for a couple of young lovers to gather the cash together, but you don’t often get much bang for your (or your guests’) buck at the travel agents. But I don’t know what the alternative is – an Air Asia fund?? Anyone out there got the solution?

15. Extortionately priced pedicures

One for the bargainista brides and bridesmaids out there. Having your fingernails AND toenails done at a salon is not compulsory, is it? I once reluctantly paid $80 for a pedicure. All they did was paint my nails and give my heels a bit of a going over. I could have done that for the price of the nail polish!

16. Ice cream that makes you want to scream

Ice cream is no longer a food – it’s an art form apparently. Take a place in Melbourne that serves its icecream up with a syringe, to help you distribute the topping. Judging by the price, that syringe must be one expensive purchase. Or perhaps it’s just the landfill costs that add up.

17. Most things in Aldi that aren’t food

I love Aldi, especially their TV ads. So funny. But I don’t need a plastic blow-up meerkat, for example (though I do kind of want one). I also don’t need a coffee maker, coffee pods and a special stand to store them in. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been tempted. And I don’t even drink coffee!!

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Ice cream is not art. It’s dairy. Photo: Shutterstock

18. Gold Class cinema tickets

I get that this is kind of luxurious, in the way that paying 40 clams for a seat, and then more to have someone serve you a champers and food, is. Personally I’d rather go somewhere where comfy seats are already included in the deal. Plus, if you really want a drink, cinemas such as the Nova, Kino or Westgarth will let you buy one at the bar and take it in. Schweet.

19. Expensive chain hotels

I’m off to an interstate conference later in the year. Although in fairness it looks nice, the resort it’s being held at cost $185 for a single room per night, plus $26 for breakfast. I instead opted to stay at a local Airbnb, with a private room, pool and free breakfast thrown in for $50 a night. It’s only four kilometres from the venue, plus there’s a free bicycle I can use to ride there every day. Win!

20. Extended warranties

Why would you bother when your rights are already covered under law? Yes, those salespeople are ripping you off – even if they don’t realise it.

This article was originally published in Hey, Little Spender!

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