National Consumer News

11 things you should never pay for


By Lauren Greutman,

What is the difference between making an extra $100 a week, or simply not spending $100 a week? Nothing, it’s still $100 in your pocket. Well… if you want to get technical, the $100 you didn’t spend is actually more valuable because it is tax-free money in your pocket!

With that in mind, we all have spending habits that need to be trimmed from time-to-time. And while you may not be able to cut as much as $100 from your weekly spending, cutting back on a few things can definitely add up to a lot of savings over time! So with that in mind…

13 things that you can stop spending money on right now

1. Extended warranties on electronics and appliances

You researched the perfect TV for the perfect price, and then you go to the store to buy it. But then, at the last minute, the sales person presents you a horrible scenario… what happens if your new TV breaks? What will you do? Good thing he also has the solution – if you just pay an extra $50 now, then you’re covered. But did you know that the failure rate is astronomically low? Only a small fraction of that $50 is going towards insuring the product… the rest is pocketed by the underwriter and a nice commission is paid to the sales person. Better idea – buy NO extended warranties, and self-insure all of your electronics and appliances.

2. Bottled water

You do realize that the bottled water companies don’t fill it from pristine glacier-formed lakes, right? It’s pretty darned similar to the stuff that comes out of your tap.

If you have to have bottled water, you might as well save on it.

3. Expensive garbage bags

Why do we opt for the expensive version of a product that literally goes right in the garbage can? A few weeks ago, I was at the store and saw two boxes of garbage bags for the same price. One had 80, but it was the type with the flaps on top, the other had 40 but it had the nice draw string. I bought the ones with the draw string. But three weeks later when I ran out of garbage bags, I thought, “man… I wish I bought the other ones.” Sure the draw strings are nicer, but twice as good? C’mon, they’re just garbage bags, get the cheap ones! And unless you regularly dispose of bricks in your trash, the cheap bags very rarely tear. Ok, rant over.

4. Housecleaning, yard work, small home maintenance jobs

These are all things you can do yourself on a Saturday afternoon. If you’re healthy and have time on weekends, there’s no reason to pay someone to do these chores. Tip – get your kids to do it!

5. ATM fees

Plan ahead for when you need cash. 

6. Gym memberships that you’re not using

I know, I know… you have great plans of waking up at 5:30 a.m., five days a week and going. But you’re not going. Cancel it. Another idea – go outside for a jog, or buy an at-home DVD workout program for a one-time price.

7. Travel-sized products

A scene in the movie “The Lorax” – upon seeing a marketer’s idea to sell air in a small plastic bottle at a higher price — Mr. O’Hare (CEO of the company): “You gotta be kidding me! Do you really think people are stupid enough to buy this?

Marketing guy: “Our research shows that if you put something in a plastic bottle, people will buy it!”

Instead, buy normal-sized items and place them in smaller packages when traveling. We pay big bucks for convenience, don’t we?

8. Movies (on DVD, Blu-ray, or electronic copies) 

How often do you watch a movie more than once? More than twice? Cost of renting a movie: Redbox: $1.30, Amazon/iTunes: $4.00. Cost to buy a movie: $15 – $20. So you’d have to watch a movie four or five times to make the purchase even make sense. But many of us just go ahead and buy movies that we like as soon as they are released. I can think of maybe five movies that I like enough to watch multiple times – and I own them. Better yet, find a friend who is addicted to buying movies, and use him/her as your “free” video rental store.

9. Internet modem rental

If you don’t have a modem, most cable companies are more than happy to let you borrow theirs… and charge you $5 – $8 a month. Better idea, buy your own for about $50 and it will pay for itself within the year.

10. Toothbrushes

Do you go to the dentist twice a year? Do they give you a toothbrush? I bet you could even ask for another. Use those instead of buying them at the store.

Another option is the dollar store — where you get can tons of name brand hygiene products for $1 (or around $1).

11. Interest on credit cards

No one likes carrying a credit card balance, and for good reason. You are usually paying upwards of 12% – 15% of interest! That is crazy. Ok – so maybe you can’t stop paying this one immediately, but it definitely should be a goal… and in the meantime, check out these credit cards with a balance transfer offer of $0.

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