10 Examples Of Wastes Of Money

10 Examples Of Wastes Of Money

Before I get any comments or e-mails regarding the list below, what I have listed  below reflects my own personal opinions. I truly believe that what one person considers a waste of money, another person may truly see the value in the purchase.

Case in point, our next car purchase will be used, but it will be a luxury brand. Call me a snob, but it’s just something that I value more than someone else.

However, below is a list of things I would not purchase at this time nor see the value in any of the products relative to the price of each item.

LASIK Eye Surgery

I have been using contact lenses for the past 17 years without issue. Most recently, I have switched to contact lenses that are approved for continuous wear for 30 days. You can even sleep in them! So essentially, I only touch my eyes 12 times a year to replace old lenses. To pay $2,500 for the luxury of not touching my eyes once a month is just not worth it to me.

LED TV

I believe the resolution on these TVs are also available on LCD models so the only difference I see is the thickness (or lack thereof) of the TV. I just don’t see any value in saving an inch or 2 in thickness versus a standard LCD TV. Until they phase out LCDs, I’ll continue to purchase them.

Premium Cable

We just don’t watch much TV. We watch enough shows from basic cable, that I don’t see the value in watching even more TV.

New Cars

Let someone else pay for the first few years of depreciation, which is often accelerated. We’ve made the mistake of buying new cars and will never do it again. The value extracted from used cars far outweigh the price difference in buying a new model.

Newest Gadget

It took me a few years to buy a smartphone and a few more years to  buy a tablet. I just don’t have any desire for the newest gadget.

Organic Produce

The latest scientific data shows that there is no real benefit to organic produce or anything organic for that matter. I’m not sure I can justify paying more for a head of lettuce just because it wasn’t sprayed with a pesticide that easily washes off.

Warehouse Club Memberships

Warehouse clubs (Sams Club, BJ’s, Costco, etc) offer bulk items at competitively low prices. However, there are some items at these stores that are more expensive than buying from a regular grocery store. Additionally, if you have a small family, you’d have to purchase a lot of items just to recoup the savings from the annual fee. I just don’t see the need at this point for our family of four.

Life Insurance on children

Unless you rely on your children for income, there is no need to pay premiums for life insurance on your children…period. Since insurance companies are in the business of calculating risk, the risk of a child dying is highly unlikely that these types of policies are a cash cow for insurance companies. Skip the insurance if offered.

Designer clothes for babies

This is self-explanatory. Unless you have cash to burn, babies and toddlers grow so fast that they end up wearing clothes just a handful of times before they grow out of it. I don’t see any value.

Extended Warranties

Products were better in the 90’s than they were in the 80’s. Products are better now than they were 10 years ago. Additionally, most products come with 1 year warranties. Also, after 1 year the cost of the most up-to-date, current model is probably the same price as the old one was a year ago.

I know there are probably more out there, but this is what I put together from the top of my head. What do you think? Do you see any value in the above items that I’m missing? If so, please comment below and let me know!

About The Author

Edwin is a marketer, social media influencer and head writer here at I Am 1 Percent. He manages a large network of high quality finance blogs and social media accounts. You can connect with him via email here.


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37 Comments

  1. Noah

    I prefer contact lenses to LASIK for different reasons, mainly because it’s a surgery that shaves off part of the lens and I think there some major risks involved. Every eye doctor I know prefers to wear contact lenses/glasses over surgery. That tells me something about the surgery.

    I’m curious how you get away with only taking out your lenses once a month. Do they never get dirty? I used to wear mine straight for a week and after a few days they were so dirty it looked like there was smoke in the room. I now take them out every day and let them clean overnight.

    Reply
    1. iam1percent

      I’m not sure. I rarely have any issues with my contacts (i.e. dryness, moving, cloudiness, etc). They’re dry in the morning, but a quick splash in the face with water or a quick shower usually does the trick.

      Reply
    2. mochiandmacarons

      Hate to bring up the obvious, but are you buying the 30-day continuous wear contact lenses?

      They’re a special breed out there.

      They’re breathable, super fine and for me, a lot more difficult to remove because they’re so thin. I went back to my thicker, remove-daily contact lenses because I was tugging at my eyeball… (TMI, maybe).

      You can also try using an eye solution. I do that sometimes, and it helps on some dry mornings.

      Otherwise, the protein builds up too much…

      Reply
      1. Noah

        I believe mine are the 2 week continuous wear ones. I always take them out at night though because my eyes get tired and are easily irritated.

        Reply
    1. Noah

      After insurance, I usually am paying an additional $100-150 for contacts. The next time around I’m definitely going to take the prescription and buy the contacts somewhere besides the doctor.

      The benefit of LASIK is the also time spent not maintaining the contacts or glasses. I spend 3-5 min a day between putting them in before work and taking them out before bed. Also, it makes things like swimming easier. For me it would be closer to $4K because of an astigmatism.

      Reply
    2. Noah

      I forgot to mention that is per year for the contacts.

      Reply
      1. iam1percent

        After my insurance, I probably only pay about $100 on contacts. Solution costs are very nominal on an annual basis…maybe $10 bucks?

        Reply
        1. Renee s

          I got the Lasik procedure done in January and I love it..I am so happy I did it. My eyesight was really bad and now I can go swimming in the ocean/pool and not worry about losing a lens. I can see what im doing in the shower! I wake up and can see the clock. The procedure was expensive (much more than $2,500)..but I am really happy that I did it 🙂

          Reply
  2. Drew @ Objective Wealth

    This looks like a sensible list to me. Never mind avoiding the designer clothes for babies – avoid buying designer clothes for yourself!

    Reply
    1. iam1percent

      True, but at least you can justify wearing designer clothes for years, even decades, assuming you don’t gain weight 🙂

      Reply
  3. Noah

    I will admit that we have a Costco membership ($50 year). I haven’t run the numbers on savings, but there gasoline is usually always 5-10 cents cheaper per gallon, which helps balance out the cost of the card.

    My wife also has bought a few designer things (ie: shoes) for my son that I’m not too thrilled about. However, since I want to stay married I simply shut up about it 🙂 I’d rather have to worry about designer clothes for the baby than worry about a habit like expensive designer shoes or purses for a woman.

    Reply
  4. Mark

    I don’t know how old Noah and iam1% are, but as a 30 year contact lens wearer who had Lasik in my mid 40s because my eyes became too dry to tolerate contacts for more than a few hours at a time, I can tell you that without exception, it was the best $4000 I ever spent. And virtually everyone I know who has had it would agree. Yes, it’s ‘scary’ and there are risks, but a well trained Dr who has done hundreds of these procedures minimizes them. Don’t pass judgement on something you have not tried.

    Reply
    1. Noah

      First, it’s not something you can really “try”. Once it’s done, it is not reversible. The doctor shaves off part of the lens and it can’t be put back (unless you do a complete eyeball replacement….not sure if that actually happens).

      Second, I’m not passing judgement. If it works for you, that’s great. Every person is different. I’m simply saying that every eye doctor I’ve spoke with has said they would rather use contacts. I imagine part of their conservatism is based on their eyes being their profession. I also personally know someone who had lasik and encountered weird artifacts and still has problems with his vision. It’s an anecdote, I know, but it does happen. For me, contacts don’t bother me enough to get the surgery. I’d rather not spend the money.

      Reply
  5. Josh @ Live Well Simply

    My wife and I have a membership at Costco. It is up for renewal in January and I am taking a good hard look at whether I’m actually saving any money or not with the membership. The rest of this list is excellent and a great ‘do not buy’ list. 🙂

    Reply
  6. krantcents

    I will disagree on one item, Costco membership. I use Costco for gas and the 3% rebate on gas pays for the membership and then some. I am not a big Costco shopper, but there are items I buy there that are considerably cheaper than elsewhere.

    Reply
  7. Vanessa

    There are so many reasons why I wouldn’t get Lasik. The cost is one of them 😀

    Reply
  8. mochiandmacarons

    I thought about LASIK but my eye doctor said that if I’m still okay with contacts, he’d prefer if people didn’t for the surgery unless they had to (see commenter above).

    My brother had LASIK and so did my mom. 10 years later, they’re back to wearing glasses because it didn’t last. That alone, makes me a bit annoyed that I could shell out $4000 and have my eyes go bad again.

    I’m sticking to contacts. Cost, fear of kind-of unnecessary surgery for me, and the possibility something could go wrong after I shelled out that money.

    As for new cars, I am not sold on new ones either. Someone else paying the depreciation makes me happier.

    Reply
    1. Noah

      Good point about the possibility of LASIK not lasting. Eyeballs are like any other body part and never stop growing. It makes sense that after 10-20 years you might need to start wearing corrective lenses again.

      Reply
  9. Wayne @ Young Family Finance

    I feel that way about expensive hair cuts. The hair that isn’t falling out, just grows back and you get to do it all over again.

    Reply
    1. iam1percent

      I agree…I go to a popular chain to get my hair cut.

      Reply
  10. Brandy

    You must not be blind, swim, or travel much….LOL. To me, it has nothing to do with not wanting to touch my eyes. I got LASIK done 6 years ago, and it is one luxury I am still happy that I wasted money on (although I might argue that at this point I am almost break even). My eye sight was terrible, in fact I was close to be considered “blind.” I had an astigmatism which caused me to not be able to drive at night because my night vision was so bad. I love to swim and scuba dive and unless I bought prescription goggles/masks, I had to either swim blind or lose contacts in the water. I was never able to wear the contacts you sleep in. Even when I had them, they would hurt too much so I had to take them out each night. When I would fly or be in a car for a long time, my contacts would get so dry they would hurt my eyes. I could wear my glasses but I hated wearing them. Glasses were another $150-200/year to keep those updated since my eyes changed so much and unless I wanted coke-bottle glasses I had to buy the special lenses to be super thin. All in all I spent somewhere around $500/year on my eyes going to eye doctors, buying contacts and glasses, buying eye drops and cleaning solution, etc. Now I can drive at night, swim whenever I want without thinking about it, travel without having to bring 50 eye products, and see my alarm clock when I wake up. Every time I am around a windy place and can feel dirt in the air, I am so happy I don’t have contacts (that hurts so bad when a spec would fly into my eye). I will say, I am thinking that in the next couple of years I will need to get it redone, because I notice that I cannot see as well as I used to, but I am happy to shell out the touch up fee.

    Reply
    1. iam1percent

      Personally, I don’t swim much, but when I do, I just wear goggles. When I travel, I keep an extra pair of contacts, my glasses, and 1 bottle of solution in my toiletry bag.

      That said, it seems that it makes sense in your case. Scuba diving, significant travel, upkeep costs, make LASIK a more attractive proposition.

      Reply
  11. Shape

    2. The LEDs have nothing to do with the resolution. An LED TV is an LCD TV that uses LEDs as the back light instead of florescent tubes. They have also come down in price a lot and do give better color. The Smart TV aspect is also nice as mine came with Netflix, Pandora, Slacker, Hulu, Crackle, all built right into it, which rolls into the next point…

    3. Another alternative to Premium Cable is internet TV. I have been quite happy with just Netflix and Hulu. Of course, HBO GO is quite tempting, but you need cable and HBO to get it. BUT, then you have access to every episode of every HBO series ever made… They have a lot of good series I wouldn’t mind seeing.

    4. Couldn’t agree more on new cars. New and used for me is usually the difference between paying cash for a car or having to take out a small loan. I’ll take used, please. Plus, car quality is really good these days. Just look at reviews for reliable cars and then go buy a Subaru or Infiniti.

    7. Couldn’t disagree more. The money I have saved far exceeds my membership dues. You just have to make the effort to shop there and have a place to store stuff in bulk. Dish soap, laundry detergent, paper towels, toilet paper, shampoo, bath soap, toilet cleaner, etc. The list keeps going. I even bought my TV from a warehouse because I couldn’t find it cheaper anywhere else. It all adds up. For example, we use a lot of tomato paste. From the grocery store one can is around $1, from the warehouse I can get 20 for $5. This type of savings is everywhere there.

    Reply
    1. iam1percent

      Thanks for your input.

      2. Regarding LED tvs..regardless of the technology, I’m not sure the better color justifies the higher cost. If you want the SmartTV options, you pay for that too. I currently don’t have a Netflix account, Hulu Plus account, or any other subsciption accounts.

      3. I’ll have to look into the content of the streaming options to see if it has all of the shows that we watch. Regardless, we would still have to keep cable in order to get live TV and sports.

      7. I don’t know if we go through enough toiletries to still make up for the membership fee. Maybe we do, but I haven’t run the numbers. But I just don’t often buy all of these soaps and detergents. Even if I did, what is the savings, $1-2 bucks a bottle? I’ll reconsider this to see if it makes sense for us to the degree that you say it does for you.

      Reply
      1. Shape

        I feel its worth it if you plan to get the majority of your household, non-expiration items there. I don’t even have to go that frequently to see the savings. I typically go once every 3-4 months for one big haul of items (really packs the truck full). It makes it so we just have to get fresh produce and meat from the grocery store as everything else is stocked up.

        We also have the room to discretely store a lot of stuff such as a few months of toilet paper (we have a high cabinet in bathroom we never used before), 100lbs of cat litter, or 30 rolls of paper towels. Storage could be an issue for some people, but I just prefer to get a lot in one trip instead of a several smaller trips.

        Some of the other food items offer significant savings as well. We like Almonds and they are significantly cheaper per oz at the warehouse vs the grocery store. If we are planning a BBQ or party for a group, then we get all the items at the warehouse.

        Reply
      2. Shape

        As far as the “Regardless, we would still have to keep cable in order to get live TV and sports.” comment.

        I have been quite happy without live TV since online news is quite good these days.

        For sporting events I can usually find an internet stream of the game. Sometimes it requires the use of a proxy server to get around ip filtering. Otherwise, I can live without most of the time. Otherwise, the bar/restaurant area is about a mile from my house with plenty of TVs.

        Reply
  12. Warren

    Have to disagree with 1, 2, & 6:

    1) If you can stand the aches for a few days, and the pain of the surgery, not having to buy contacts/glasses, worry about them, etc for the next 20-30 years is a good trade.

    2) LED TVs draw less power than their LCD and Plasma cousins – why not save the electricity?

    6) I’ve seen the studies on both sides of the issue, and personally generally prefer the taste of “organic” produce to “nonorganic” – add-in that “organic” has likely come from a shorter distance (though not always true), and from smaller farms, and you are both contributing the the local economy rather than Chile, and getting fresher fruits and vegetables. Also, living with someone who is affected by some of the artificial flavors, dyes, etc added to “nonorganic” products, I can say it has improved the health in our home 🙂

    Reply
    1. Warren

      Also for number 7: most warehouse clubs let you get day passes or even browse for free (or you go with a friend who has a membership).

      If you are looking for something that they can provide a good enough discount on, get the day pass or go with your friend 🙂

      Reply
    2. iam1percent

      1) I still don’t see the value in my case of spending 3-4k to reduce a very minimal burden of contact lenses.
      2) Is the difference significant? How many years of electrical savings would it take to recoup the additional cost of the LED?
      6) I really don’t notice a taste difference. If you do notice a difference and you live with someone who is affected by dyes, then obviously organic is the way to go.

      Reply
  13. uclalien

    1. Your perspective on LASIK is one of a person that obviously doesn’t have truly poor eyesight. My wife was virtually blind before having LASIK surgery. Without her contacts, she couldn’t tell who I was from 5 feet away. And while she had it done a little too early (her eyes were still changing), which has required her to get glasses for driving, she can function without glasses/contacts now. This alone is invaluable. I should add that her father’s company health insurance plan paid for the $5,000 procedure as well, so it was $0 out of pocket. Today, a more refined procedure can cost half that.

    2. You seem to believe that there is some huge price difference between LCDs and LEDs. This is no longer the case. Looking at one of my favorite deal sites, I see a 46” Samsung LCD and a comparable 46” Samsung LED for $645 and $696, respectively. The energy consumption guide estimates that the LCD will cost $31/year to run and the LED will cost $9/year. In other words, you would recouped the additional cost of the LED in only 2.5 year. I should add that some LEDs have energy costs of upwards of $25/year, while some LCDs cost upward of $80/year. So the spread can vary. But in most cases, the energy savings is significant enough to justify paying the premium for an LED. In general, LEDs also consistently outperform LCDs in terms of picture quality (light output, black level, contrast ratio, etc.).

    3. Using referrals, my average monthly bill is ~$20 for a mid-tier dish package, including a sports package upgrade. So you don’t necessarily have to pay big money for TV. But if it weren’t for wanting to watch live sports, I might be willing to get rid of cable altogether and watch more content online.

    4. I don’t even like buying used cars from dealers. In my experience, dealer rarely offer any kind of warranty or satisfaction guaranty on used cars. So it doesn’t feel any less risky than buying a used car from a private seller; and you are still stuck paying a dealer premium.

    5. My approach is to wait for the next generation of technology to come out before I buy the previous generation. That’s when prices on the previous generation get slashed dramatically. However, I generally will not purchase the 1st generation of anything. That’s usually when they discover all the bugs.

    6. We don’t buy a lot of organic produce. But I have read that some produce absorbs pesticides more than others. In general, produce with a thicker membrane/peel tends to absorb fewer pesticides (although I’ve read that this is not the case with bananas). And as far as scientific data, I would argue that the results are inconclusive. For every study that says pesticides are safe, I can find one that says the exact opposite. As a result, if the price difference isn’t too dramatic, I am fine purchasing organic.

    7. The simple fact that someone has a warehouse clubs membership doesn’t mean that they should buy everything at their warehouse club. You’re still allowed to buy from a regular grocery store if the price is better. So while the fact that some things may be more expensive at warehouse clubs is good to know, it’s kind of irrelevant. I should note that even with a small family of 3, we save at least $10/month on cheese alone. For many other items, the savings is nearly as good or better. By the end of the year, our $20 membership to Costco (lower cost through family business) probably ends up saving us well over $500. And this doesn’t include any gas savings. During the recent gas price spike in California, our Costco was offering gas prices that were >$0.30 less than the next cheapest gas station in town.

    8 & 9. I couldn’t agree more.

    10. I agree but want to add to your point. Many credit cards automatically double manufacturer warranties up to a year. If you purchase a product with a 1-year warranty, you get a 2nd year from your CC company at no additional cost. Funny story: I recently purchased some stereo equipment for $70. The retailer had the nerve to offer an extended warranty (covering a 2nd year) for $40, something I already received through my credit card for free. But if you are set on getting a warranty, do it through a third-party insurer like SquareTrade and use a coupon code. I could have gotten a 3-year warranty on the same product for $7.

    Reply
    1. iam1percent

      1. I have pretty bad eye site, but I guess its all relative. I wear a -4.00 lens on one eye and -3.75 in the other if that helps. Like I said, I wear contacts continuously…24 hours a day, 7 days a week and replace them once a month or 12 times a year. For me, the $2,500 pricetag doesn’t justify me saving the time and money to replace my contacts once a month.

      2. Thanks for the info on LEDs. I bought my last TV in 2009 so it seems the price between the two sets are closing in on each other. My only question would be energy savings estimates on how long the TV set is used per day. If you only use the TV for 1 minute a day versus 5 hours a day, you may not recoup the electrical costs. However, the price difference you mention is so close that its probably worth looking into for my next TV purchase.

      3. Premium TV is still more than basic…no matter how you slice it. I don’t need or want it….not worth the cost.

      7. Many people don’t realize that the costs of some goods are more expensive at warehouse clubs and many families do all of the purchases at these clubs. Even if they’re aware of this fact, you have to know the average price(s) of many goods to determine where you will get the best deal. Still not sure if I see a benefit.

      More importantly, I get 6% cashback at grocery stores for using my American Express Blue Cash rewards card. It does not include superstores or warehouse clubs. So even if a product is 5% cheaper at Sams Club than Giant, I’m better off going to Giant and getting 6% back in cash.

      Reply
      1. uclalien

        Thanks for the response.

        1. I forgot to mention that my wife could only wear hard contacts, as she had developed some kind of allergic reaction to soft contacts. She wore -5.25 and -5.75 before LASIK. Despite the fact that her LASIK was done at no cost; in hind sight, she would gladly pay well more than $2,500 to be able to function without contacts/glasses on a daily basis. And it’s not just the convenience of having to put in/on contacts/glasses or the cost of buying them. It’s the reliance on something like contacts/glasses to do relatively simple things that most of us take for granted, like walk through the house without running into things.

        2. Standard energy cost estimates are based on 5 hours per day of use. If you use your TV very little, you obviously won’t see the same annual savings. Then again, your TV should also last much longer. So the savings should span more years. Another option would simply be to buy a cheaper brand. After all, if you only watch 30 minutes of TV per day, you probably won’t notice (or care) about the difference.

        My approach has been to put off buying a new TV as long as I possibly can. I have resisted doing so for two years and plan to pull the trigger in January (I’ve read that the best deals on TVs show up right before the Super Bowl). During this time, TVs have become bigger, better, more efficient, and best of all cheaper.

        3. Like I said, I pay less than $20/month on average for a mid-tier dish package (currently paying <$10/month including a $6 sports package). Alternatively, the cheapest cable package offered in my area cost $30/month. So, in many cases, it’s more about how you work the system than the package itself.

        7. It’s good for people to learn that some products are more expensive at warehouse clubs. But whether they are shopping at their local grocery store, a warehouse club, or local farmer’s market, they should have some idea of how prices compare. Otherwise, they are sure to overpay no matter where they ultimately purchase products. Plus, in today’s world of smart phones, doing a quick price comparison has never been easier.

        Thanks for pointing out the American Express Blue Cash rewards card. I will be sure to look into it. My hunch is that the higher prices at my local grocery store would more than offset the 6% reward (even with a wife that dabbles in couponing). Plus, American Express tends to stick its users with an annual fee. So I’m not sure there’s much benefit there for me. After all, I already average 2-3% cash back at the grocery store with my current, no-fee credit cards. I suspect I’m better off using my existing credit cards for reasonably priced grocery store items and sticking with Costco where it offers savings.

        Reply
  14. AmandaMNN

    I’m another LASIK fan and will be getting it eventually (insurance doesn’t cover it and I have a few other medical bills that I want to clear before dipping into the HSA again). My eyesight is -7.50 in one eye and -8.0 in the other. That makes me legally blind w/out correction. I don’t have much of an astigmatism, so that wouldn’t affect the cost of the procedure much.

    I’m also with the commenter above who says that as you get into and past your 40s, things change and you might not be able to wear your contacts the way you can when you’re younger. I absolutely cannot wear my lenses overnight, much less continuously for 30 days at a time. I cringe just thinking about it.

    I rely on my eyes for my side gig, so I’m pretty cautious about anything that might damage my vision, but I have many colleagues and family members who have had the procedure and are completely happy with it.

    I think this is really one of those very personal things – and no one is right or wrong here. 🙂

    Reply
    1. iam1percent

      I agree…as I said in the beginning of the post what one person considers a waste of money, another person may truly see the value in the purchase. Most people don’t see any value in a luxury car..and from a quality standpoint, there isn’t any advantage. Its just something that I value and am willing to pay for.

      Reply
  15. Bob

    I think the comment(s) on #2 – LED TVs becoming the norm and the price going down are correct.

    The real issue of a Way to Waste Money is being an “Early Adopter”. Technology is constantly changing. LED TVs too expensive – wait a year or so. The technology will either die or, if successful, the price will go down, often dramatically.

    Brand new TVs, computers, smartphones, digital cameras, sous vide cookers, and LED “bulbs” are just a few examples where waiting a bit rather than rushing out to buy the latest gadget can save a great deal of money. Buy on the downside of the price curve not the top.

    My iPhone 4s is doing just fine; maybe upgrade to the 7 when it comes out.

    Reply
  16. Victor Rodriguez (@victropolis)

    Sorry, you’re wrong on the LED TV. I have an LCD TV in a small room and it produces so much heat that it’s downright uncomfortable. I regret not knowing this before and now wish I had an LED TV which have a much lower operating temperature.

    Reply

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