You don’t need to be wealthy to own nice things. Every once in a while, it’s tempting to treat yourself to something with a bigger price tag. However, whether you’re anticipating a large tax refund or just got a generous bonus thanks to the new tax overhaul, some high-cost purchases are best to avoid if you don’t want to end up with buyer’s remorse.
Click through to see some expensive items that aren’t worth their high price tags.
A Private Jet
Price: $1.9 million to $110 million
You could buy a small personal jet like the 2018 Cirrus Vision SF50 for about $2 million, or you could fly like the rich for a fraction of the price. Charter a light jet that seats seven for as little as $2,300 per hour, or book an “empty leg” flight for up to a 75 percent discount.
An Upscale Pen
Price: $420 and up
Upscale pens like Mont Blanc can cost upward of $1,700 for a fountain pen or $490 for a rollerball, and the rollerball’s smooth-writing refills run $18.50. If you’re considering dropping more than $1,000 on a pen, you’re probably not too concerned with price. But a 12-pack of equally slick Pilot G2 pens will run you less than the cost of a Mont Blanc refill at any office supply store.
Price: Varies, can be millions
For a custom bottle of Gout de Diamants, which translates to “a taste of diamonds,” you’ll have to spend a small fortune — as much as $1.8 million. The black bottle’s label has a 19-carat white diamond set in 18-karat white gold. The bubbly inside is the same blend of grapes you’ll find in Champagne Chapuy Tradition Brut, ($36.50) by the same vineyard.
And if you’re looking for an even cheaper option, grab one of these bottles of bubbly for under $20.
Barracuda’s straight-leg jeans for men come with “a crackled, caked-on muddy coating that shows you’re not afraid to get down and dirty,” according to Nordstrom. Purposefully muddied jeans might be one of the worst things you can buy online — or anywhere. Instead, showcase filth with a $5 pair of trashed designer jeans from a thrift store, and enjoy a roll in a mud puddle.
If having friends over to binge-watch Netflix for the weekend is your jam, it might be tempting to pour thousands of dollars into a luxury movie-pit sofa with LED lights and a built-in snack bar. But this isn’t a luxury item that doesn’t lose its value — once it comes off the showroom floor, the sofa drops $800 in value, according to Blue Book Furniture. After three years, you’d be lucky to recoup half its cost.
Price: $500 to $3,199
Tesla CEO Elon Musk recently sold 20,000 gun-style flamethrowers through The Boring Company for $500 apiece. Unlike traditional models, this one doesn’t require carrying a tank around on your back and costs a lot less.
An even cheaper option: a BareBlaster Propane Ice Torch from Home Depot for around $32.
Price: $425 to $530
Golden Goose suede sneakers come in a variety of styles that are “carefully hand-distressed to recreate the beaten up look of old favorites,” according to Net-a-Porter. A better solution is to buy sneakers on sale and run them over with the car a few times for a similar look.
Totally Destroyed Sneakers
Price: $420 to $1,425
If merely prescuffed sneakers don’t satisfy your taste for grunge, you might be tempted by Maison Margiela Future Destroyed High-Top Sneakers. The shoe is ripped and scuffed, with foam padding sticking out. If this is your style, pick up a pair of high tops on sale at Walmart or Target and let your neighbor’s pup chew on them for a few hours to achieve the same look.
Check Out: The Best Things to Buy at Walmart and Target
Paint-Splatter Jogger Pants
Damiana Splatter Paint Jogger Pants are distressed to look “as though they stepped straight out of the art studio, creating a disheveled style masterpiece,” according to Nordstrom. Save your money. Get a pair of twill jogger pants at Sears for $23, add a FolkArt Fabric Paint Beginner Set for $15 at Home Depot and have fun creating your own unique look.
Designer Leather Shopping Totes and Bags
Some designer leather shopping totes look nearly identical to the paper versions that upscale stores put your purchases in or even roomy Ikea in-store shoulder totes. There’s no need to spend a bundle. Buy yourself a similar leather tote at Walmart for $15 to $35, or order Ikea bags off Amazon for $6 for a set of two.
Price: $370 and up
A recent report by Consumer Reports found that Samsung, TCL and other Roku TV smart TV platforms are vulnerable to hacking and privacy breaches. Remedial hackers won’t find it hard to suddenly blast the volume or switch to offensive content. The TVs also transmit remarkably detailed data back to the manufacturers and their business partners, including every show you watch.
Ultra Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Price: Up to $865 per ounce
The “Ultra Premium” label essentially assures that olive oil is harvested and stored for maximum freshness — which most already do — and that manufacturers can charge a higher price. Buy domestic California olive oil, which has some of the most rigorous standards in the industry and includes a harvest date on the bottle to ensure freshness.
Price: $30 to $100+
Many cosmetics companies make drugstore blends that are nearly the same as designer ones. For example, L’Oreal products can be picked up at Walmart, but the parent company also produces Yves Saint Laurent and Giorgio Armani makeup products.
On the face, it is hard to tell drugstore makeup from the designer options, according to a recent Today Show episode that used identical twins to try to discern a difference.
You don’t need to spend a ton of money to look good. There are several inexpensive beauty hacks you can use to get the most out of your makeup.
Celebrity-Endorsed Anti-Aging Skin Care Cream
Don’t spend hundreds of dollars for anti-aging creams. Ingredients in the fancy creams only penetrate the outer layer of the skin, helping to hold in moisture and plump the cells. Cheaper drugstore products act in the same way, with similar results.
A Degree That Puts You in Debt
Price: $50,900 average annually
While studies show that a college degree gives you a better chance at employment and higher pay, that potential can be offset by heavy debt.
More than 68 percent of students graduate college with student loan debt averaging $30,000 — and sometimes more than $100,000. Worse, those who take on debt but never complete their degree are far more likely to default on their student loans.
Before you drop thousands of dollars on tuition, ask yourself: Is college really worth it?
A Steakhouse Dinner
A night out at Ruth’s Chris Steak House will run you $45 per person if you order off the three-course seasonal menu. You can get the same taste at home for much less. Head to your local grocery store and buy your choice of steak on sale, rub the steak with butter, season with salt and pepper and broil for the same great taste.
Pedigreed and Designer Dogs
Price: $600 to $2,000
The selective breeding used to produce those adorable pedigreed and designer pooches can also contribute to increased health problems and shorter life spans, making them some of the most expensive dogs to own.
Rescue a cutie for as little as $75 instead.
Price: $0.43 per ounce
With a higher pH, alkaline water is claimed to provide myriad health benefits. Although these claims have been scientifically disproven, the water does help neutralize heartburn by reducing acid in the stomach. Make your own by adding a half tablespoon of baking soda to a gallon of water.
Diamond Engagement Ring
Price: $6,163 average
Ever since the 1930s, the diamond industry has spent advertising dollars convincing consumers that “diamonds are forever.” In reality, these expensive hard rocks can indeed chip or break and have a lower resale value.
An Ultra-Luxury Car
Sure, you want to show off to your clients with the latest in ultra-luxury features like a semiautonomous driving package, intelligent sensors and a forward collision warning that snugs seat belts and adjusts seats if it senses an imminent crash. But since cars lose more than half their value in the first three years — and ultra-luxury models are expensive to insure — get a 2015 tech-savvy luxury sedan for less than $25,000, and buy the 2018 model used in 2021.
Latest Baby Accessories
It’s easy to pour thousands of dollars into your new arrival when buying the latest must-have baby gadgets. But your little one’s fast growth will make everything you buy obsolete in the space of a few months, and resale value is nearly nil.
Skip these pricey items unless you enjoy throwing your money away.
Designer Eyeglass Frames
You’ll pay an average of $400 for a new pair of glasses when you buy from your local optical shop. Save half that or more when you order online, with complete pairs of glasses costing less than $100. They’re likely made by the same company, Luxottica, which makes most of the popular eyeglass brands, including Oakley, Chanel, Ray-Ban and DKNY.
Music Streaming Services
Price: $9.99 per month to $19.99 per month
With so much music available to listen to, it doesn’t make sense to shell out up to $240 annually for something that goes away when you stop paying your monthly fee.
Spotify, Pandora and Slacker all have free options.
A Backyard Swimming Pool
Price: $10,000 to $50,000
You might see yourself swimming instead of pushing the mower by converting lawn to a backyard pool, but you’ll probably spend more time — and money — on pool care.
HGTV considers the liquid backyard money pit one of the five worst home updates and warns that you’re unlikely to get back the money you invested when you sell.
A Gourmet Kitchen
Remodeling your kitchen brings a limited cost recoup of about 53 percent when you sell your home, according to Remodeling magazine. Gourmet kitchens and appliances that are above quality for the neighborhood will have an even smaller return.
Zillow advises keeping renovations simple, such as updating the backsplash, changing the faucet and adding a USB outlet.
Price: $1,000 to $6,500
The latest mirrored furniture trend has reflective glass on everything from sofas to writing desks. But reflect on whether a little extra light is worth all the extra cleaning you’ll do if you share a home with kids or pets.
There’s also possible danger from sharp edges and cracked and nicked surfaces that can cut inquisitive little fingers.
A Hand-Painted Refrigerator
Smeg refrigerators add a ’50s retro touch to any kitchen for around $2,000, but for $48,000 more, you can get one hand-painted by a Sicilian artist depicting local folklore. The downside? Once the fridge outlives its warranty, you’ll be left with a very pretty but expensive box.
Single-Serve Coffee Maker
You’ll never have to drink office coffee again when you bring your own single-serve coffee maker to work. Although it’ll pay for itself in about 30 days of not going to Starbucks, water deposits and coffee oil buildup in hard-to-clean places can start to compromise your coffee’s taste at about the same time.
Get a $20 French press off Amazon. Because you can clean every facet of a French press, your coffee will always come out tasting coffee-house fresh.
The Latest Kitchen Prep Gadget
Price: $25 to $9,900
Save money and space in the kitchen by following Gordon Ramsay’s advice for minimalist cooking. “Cooking great food doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune on fancy equipment,” he said in his instructional kitchen kit video. Ramsay described just 17 pieces of kitchen equipment needed to cook like a chef, including only three pans, three pieces of bakeware, three knives and a smattering of other basic tools.
Price: $50 to $250
Throw pillows, especially expensive down and feather ones, are a favorite breeding ground for dust mites that can trigger allergies and asthma symptoms. Washable afghans or textured blankets add interest to the backs of couches and chairs for a lot less money and eliminate the dust mite problem with regular laundering.