Although there are some items and experiences that are worth paying for, it might not be the wisest choice to open your wallet for other things.
Don’t be fooled by bells and whistles — when you’re deciding whether to spend or save, it’s important to figure out if the more expensive option is really the better one. From designer handbags to 100-calorie snack packs, certain things just aren’t worth it.
Click through to find out which items are a waste of money.
- Hermes Birkin bag: Starting at $9,000
A high-end designer handbag can set you back thousands of dollars. A Hermes Birkin bag recently sold at auction for $379,261, an amount that could buy an entire house in many U.S. states. Although high-end bags can serve as a status symbol, your money is better spent elsewhere.
- Tibetan Mastiff purchased from a breeder: $2,500
A purebred dog from a breeder can cost thousands of dollars, which ranks purebreds among the most expensive dogs you can buy. In comparison, the cost of adopting or rescuing ranges between $0 and $500.
In addition to saving an animal’s life, there are added financial benefits to adopting. Most rescue dogs are mixed-breed, meaning they are likely to live longer and cost less in vet bills than a purebred dog. Purebreds are more likely to develop health problems — such as breathing difficulties and hip dysplasia — which can be expensive to treat.
- Frontier Communications FiOS TV: $74.99 per month plus fees
With many affordable streaming services now available, more and more people are opting to cut the cable cord. The average consumer spends $103.10 on cable per month, according to the Leichtman Research Group, while subscription streaming services cost significantly less.
Netflix can cost as little as $7.99 per month, and Hulu can cost as little as $5.99 per month for the first year. Amazon Prime Video is included with the $119 yearly Prime membership fee — which helps make Prime membership worth the money — or it can be purchased for $12.99 per month. Subscribing to all three will cost you only $26.97 each month, which means you’ll save about over $500 each year compared to the average monthly cable fee.
- Non-Chase ATM fee for Chase Total Checking customers: $2.50
ATM withdrawal fees are usually between $0 and $3 if you’re not a customer of that bank, and although that amount seems minimal, it can add up over time. It’s also a fee that can be easily avoided if you only withdraw from your own bank’s ATM or opt to get cash back at a grocery store, drugstore or another retail establishment.
- Powerball ticket: $2
While it might seem tempting to spend two bucks for the chance to win millions, the odds are not in your favor, and those dollars are better off generating interest in your savings account. Your chance of winning a Powerball grand prize is only about one in 292 million. To put that in perspective, your odds of being killed by an asteroid impact are about one in 74 million.
- “A Game of Thrones” hardcover book: $19.99
Buying books is arguably a waste of money, as you can likely borrow the same books at your local library for free. However, if you insist on buying, it’s better to opt for the paperback or e-book version, which cost much less.
For example, it costs $19.99 for the hardcover version of “A Game of Thrones,” $10.49 for paperback and $2.99 for the Kindle edition on Amazon. At those prices, you can buy six e-books for less than the cost of one hardcover book.
Going Out to Lunch
- Applebee’s lunch combo: $7.29 to $8.99
Buying lunch every workday is a costly habit. If you pack lunch instead of going out, you can save $5 to $15 per meal — which is an easy way to save money and might put over $100 back into your bank account each month.
- Dasani 20 oz. bottled water: $1.99
Buying bottled water harms the environment because it consumes resources and creates waste. And, it’s terrible for your wallet. Purchasing one bottle of water every day, even at only $1 per bottle, will cost you $365 a year.
You can easily buy a reusable water bottle for less than $5 and fill up with tap water, which costs an average of $0.005 per gallon.
- Cadillac Escalade: $75,195
There are some pros to buying a luxury car, but they don’t outweigh the costs associated with owning one. Most luxury cars are made with high-quality materials, have better handling and might provide a better ride than a mid-level car. However, luxury models of mid-level brands often come with the same bells and whistles as a luxury car for less.
For example, a Cadillac Escalade and a Chevrolet Tahoe share many mechanical components, but the Escalade starts at $75,195, whereas the Tahoe starts at $47,900.
There are also additional costs associated with owning a luxury car compared to a standard vehicle. Most luxury cars require premium gas, come with higher insurance rates and have more expensive replacement parts and repair costs.
Pricey Hotel Rooms
- One night at Four Seasons Hotel London at Park Lane: $824
If you’re looking to save, skip the expensive five-star hotel. This holds especially true if you’re going on a vacation where you’ll be spending more time out exploring than in the hotel. If you just need a place to sleep, opt for a lower-tier location to save some serious cash. Plus, some of the best hotels in the world are surprisingly cheap.
For an illustration of the cost differences, compare average hotel prices for three- and five-star hotels in London: A three-star hotel costs an average of about $100 a night, while the average five-star hotel costs about $250.
DVDs and Blu-ray Discs
- “Almost Famous” DVD: $4.99
Physical discs are relics of a bygone era, and — just like cable — DVDs and Blu-rays are now playing second fiddle to streaming services.
A movie on an inexpensive DVD at Target costs $4.99, while an inexpensive Blu-ray costs $7.89. Even those bargain prices are too high, however. With movie streaming platforms like Netflix starting at $7.99 per month for unlimited access to movies, there isn’t a financial reason to buy physical discs anymore.
Bottles of Wine at Restaurants
- Bottle of wine at Olive Garden: $23 and up
Restaurants often mark up bottle prices at least 300 percent from their wholesale costs, according to wine and beverage site VinePair — just one of many crazy restaurant markups.
A bottle of Sutter Home White Zinfandel that retails for $4.79 will cost you $23 at Olive Garden — nearly five times its worth. You can often save money on wine by bringing your own bottle.
- Nexium 24HR Delayed Release Heartburn Relief Capsules: $18.99 for 28 capsules
Generic versions of brand-name drugs must have the same active ingredients, strength, dosage form and route of administration in order to obtain approval from the Food and Drug Administration. Opting for generic over the name brand will save you an average of 85 percent, according to the FDA.
For example, a 28-pack of Nexium 24HR costs $18.99, whereas a 28-pack of a generic delayed-release acid reducer from Target costs $11.39 — 40 percent less.
High-End Gym Memberships
- Equinox Sports Club San Francisco membership: $250 per month
A membership to Equinox costs over $200 a month at many locations, while the average gym membership is just under $60 per month, USA Today reported. Although the machines might be upgraded and the facilities might be swankier at a luxury gym, you can still get a good workout at an affordable gym and save about $140 a month.
Department Store Mascara
- Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara: $25
Various tests have shown that drugstore mascara works just as well — and sometimes even better — as the department store brand, so there’s no point in shelling out the extra bucks.
Allure’s editor-in-chief called Maybelline New York The Falsies Volum’Express Flared Waterproof Mascara the “best mascara of all time” — and it sells for just $6.99. Meanwhile, one of Sephora’s top-rated mascaras — Benefit Cosmetics They’re Real! Lengthening & Volumizing Mascara — sells for $25, which is over three times more than the drugstore pick.
- National average for premium gas: $3.42 per gallon as of Sept. 28, 2018
Unless your car specifically requires you to opt for premium at the pump, you’re better off filling up with regular gas. Using regular gas is safe for most engines, and can save you 20 cents to 40 cents per gallon at the pump, according to Edmunds.
As of Sept. 28, the national average cost per gallon of premium gasoline was $3.42, while the national average for regular was $2.88. Gas prices are rising, so you could save even more at the pump in the future.
Coffee at Starbucks
- Tall coffee at Starbucks: $1.85
It’s significantly cheaper to brew your own Starbucks coffee than it is to pick up an order on your way to work. A 12-ounce bag of most varieties of Starbucks coffee costs $7.99 and makes approximately 24 servings. That makes the cost of a homemade cup of Starbucks coffee 33 cents, compared to $1.85 for a tall coffee purchased in store. You save $1.52 every day you brew at home, which adds up to $554.80 over the course of a year.
Brand-Name Cleaning Supplies
- Clorox Disinfecting Wipes: $4.99 for a 75-count tub
For general cleaning needs, store-brand supplies are just as effective as name brands, according to the Huffington Post, and they are almost always cheaper. For example, a 75-count tub of Clorox Disinfecting Wipes costs $4.99, whereas the same number of Target Up & Up Disinfecting Wipes costs only $3.49.
Keep in mind that you can save even more money with DIY cleaning wipes.
Certain Organic Foods
- Large organic Haas avocado: $1.99
Organic foods can cost up to 47 percent more than their non-organic versions, according to Consumer Reports — and for certain foods, the extra cost isn’t worth it.
Skip on the organic versions of quinoa, fruits with inedible peels, maple syrup and seafood. Those categories of foods are just as safe for you to eat whether you opt for organic or not, so you might as well save. Instead of buying an organic Haas avocado for $1.99, for example, you can save 70 cents and get the non-organic version for only $1.29.
Celebrity Hair Salons
- Haircut at Nine Zero One salon: $175 and up
When you go to an expensive, celebrity-approved hair salon, you might be paying for the overall experience rather than the quality of the cut. If you’re going in for a simple trim, discount salons like Supercuts can do just as good of a job as a place that charges hundreds.
- Omega Aqua Terra 150M in gold on steel: $10,300
If you’re thinking about buying a watch as an investment piece, don’t. The watch market is unpredictable, reports Time Money, so it’s better to invest your money elsewhere. If you do insist on buying a high-end watch, go for a Rolex, which might even appreciate in value over time.
Trendy Fashion Items
- Gucci Princeton leather mule: $695
Extremely trendy fashion items won’t get much wear beyond one season, so it’s not worth buying designer. A fast-fashion store like Forever 21 or H&M will likely carry the same item for much less than you would pay for a luxury brand. Why splurge for Gucci’s Princeton leather mule for $695 when you can get a very similar style at Target for less than $23?
Pricey Skincare Products
- Creme de la Mer skin cream: $325 for 2 oz. jar
Luxury brands like La Mer set a high price point to attract a certain type of consumer. But, when you’re shopping for skincare products, the pricier product is not necessarily the better one. Pay attention to the active ingredients in the product, read product reviews, and look for clinical trials that demonstrate its effectiveness before buying. You’ll often be able to achieve your desired result with a drugstore brand or even by trying out a money-saving beauty hack.
Buying Magazines at a Newsstand
- Redbook magazine: $3.99 per issue at a newsstand
You can save over 80 percent off newsstand prices on some titles by buying a subscription. If you’re planning on buying more than two issues of the same magazine in a year, it’s worth it to just subscribe. For example, Redbook’s newsstand price is $3.99, but you can get a yearlong subscription for $8 and receive 10 issues for just over the cost of two magazines.
Unnecessary Baby Products
- Dekor Diaper Plus Diaper Disposal System: $52.16
The baby product market is now a $73.9 billion industry, according to Statista, but many of the products out there are simply not worth the money. According to Parents.com, wipe warmers, diaper disposal systems, special “baby” detergent, baby timers, expensive crib bedding and baby food processors are all unnecessary purchases.
- AKG N90Q Headphones: $1,499.95
It’s generally true that the more you pay for headphones, the more you’ll get in terms of sound quality and added features — such as Bluetooth or noise canceling — but you don’t need to spend over $1,000 to get a good pair of headphones, especially if having all the extra bells and whistles isn’t that important to you.
Review site Wirecutter rated the Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II as the best noise-canceling headphones, and they cost $349.95 — a far cry from exorbitantly priced headphones that might cost more than your rent.
Premium Rental Cars
- Premium rental car from Enterprise: $49.22 per day
Unless you need the extra room for passengers or additional trunk space, it makes financial sense to opt for the economy class of rental cars. At Enterprise, an economy rental costs $30.89 per day, whereas a premium rental costs $49.22 per day. If you’re renting a car for multiple days, those savings can really add up.
No matter which class of car you opt for, be sure to take advantage of cheap car rental deals.
Separate Laundry Detergent for Dark Clothes
- Woolite Darks Laundry Detergent: $14.89
There’s no need to buy separate laundry detergent for your light and dark clothes. Instead, buy one high-quality detergent that works well on all normal laundry loads.
Wirecutter rated Tide Ultra Stain Release Free Liquid — which costs $11.99 at Target — as the best overall detergent because of its ability to both lift stains and fight odors. Reviewers say it keeps clothes fresh without fading colors, so it’s safe to use on dark clothes, too.
Name-brand detergent is one of the best things to buy at Walmart and Target if you want to save money.
Cheap Paper Towels
- Family Dollar paper towels: $1
When it comes to buying paper towels, you get what you pay for. You might feel like you’re saving money by buying bargain paper towels, but if they don’t work well, you end up having to use more product than you normally would have if you had just sprung for a better brand.
In a Consumer Reports paper towel test, Bounty paper towels got the highest marks, whereas store-brand rolls like Family Dollar’s Family Values Paper Towels and CVS’s Just The Basics Paper Towels were ranked among the worst. You can buy Bounty’s Select-A-Size paper towels for $1.33 a roll at Target — just 33 cents more than a bargain brand.
100-Calorie Snack Packs
- Snyder’s of Hanover Mini Pretzels 100 Calorie Packs, 10 count: $3.99
Instead of buying prepackaged 100-calorie snack packs, save money by buying the regular-size bag and portioning it out into snack bags yourself.
A 10-count box of Snyder’s of Hanover Mini Pretzels 100 Calorie Packs sells for $3.99 and contains 9.2 ounces of pretzels in total, which comes out to 43 cents per ounce. However, a family-size bag of Hanover Mini Pretzels sells for $3.49 and contains 16 ounces of pretzels, which comes out to about 22 cents per ounce.
- Cold- and flu-fighting essential oil blend: $12
Homeopathic products are now a $3 billion-a-year industry, according to NBC News. However, according to the National Institutes of Health, there is little evidence to support homeopathy as an effective treatment for any specific condition, and it is not advisable to use a homeopathic treatment as a substitute for an appointment with a healthcare provider or a proven conventional treatment.
Click through to find 25 things that are worth the money.
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