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Do you ever feel like your home is an escape route for all of the impulse purchases that are just waiting to be put into action?
It can be difficult to resist buying something cool or useful during our daily shopping trips, but we often find out too late that it is a complete waste of money.
If your budget has been taken over by spur-of-the-moment decisions, fear not!
We’ve got 16 impulse buys that you should avoid the next time you’re perusing the shelves.
Take this as advice so you can save yourself from any future regret and disappointment.
Table of Contents
#1. As Seen On TV Items
We all know the drill. It’s late at night, you’re flipping through channels, and suddenly you see it.
The perfect product that will revolutionize your life.
But as soon as it arrives on your doorstep, you realize that maybe it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
As seen on TV items have that effect on people.
They promise the world, but after a few uses, they end up in a closet, only to be seen when we finally get around to cleaning our house.
What is it with t-shirts that make us spend money without thinking.
It doesn’t matter if they are vintage tees or from a concert we just went to, we all have drawers overflowing with unworn t-shirts.
#3. Single Use Kitchen Appliances
Have you ever bought a fancy kitchen appliance with grand plans of whipping up gourmet meals, only to find it collecting dust on your countertop?
You’re not alone. Many of us fall victim to the allure of shiny new kitchen gadgets, only to realize later that we have no idea how to use them or that they simply don’t fit our cooking style.
Maybe you splurged on sous vide machine, but you prefer using your trusty skillet.
Or that spiralizer seemed like a great idea then, but now you can’t remember the last time you cranked it out.
Whatever the reason, it’s time to embrace that sometimes less is more when it comes to kitchen appliances.
People always buy shoes, searching high and low for the perfect pair, yet those shoes often sit in the closet.
Maybe it’s because we can never decide what shoes to wear with what outfit, or perhaps we have a shoe addiction that we can’t control.
Or we might love the shoes but never find the right outfit to pair them with.
#5. Hair Products
Have you ever found yourself strolling down the hair care aisle, mesmerized by all the products promising to work wonders on your locks?
You grab a bottle of shampoo and conditioner that sound like the perfect match for your hair type, only to let them collect dust in the back of your shower.
It’s a common scenario. We buy hair products with good intentions but rarely use them.
#6. Formal Clothes
It’s funny how we always need formal wear for those special occasions, but it just hangs in the closet collecting dust.
Who doesn’t love getting all dressed up and feeling like a million bucks?
But in most cases, renting the tux or the evening gown would be more cost-effective than spending the money buying it and eventually getting it altered as our bodies change.
It’s a weird phenomenon that I’m sure we’ve all experienced: buying a magazine and then never actually reading it.
You see an interesting cover or a catchy headline and think, “this looks like something I’d love to read!”
But then life gets in the way, and that magazine ends up untouched on your coffee table for weeks (or even months).
Maybe it’s the satisfaction of just buying something new or the idea of having it for later.
Whatever the reason, it seems like people buy magazines more for the idea of them than actually taking the time to read them.
#8. Lawn Games
The weather turns warm, the sun is shining, and we can’t resist the temptation to head to the store and pick up a new lawn game.
However, the excitement of the purchase quickly fades as the reality sets in that we rarely ever actually use the darn thing.
Sure, we might break it out for a backyard BBQ or a family gathering, but for the most part, it sits untouched in the garage or shed.
Perhaps it’s the novelty of having something new and shiny or the idea that we’ll suddenly become the king or queen of cornhole or horseshoes?
Jewelry is one of those things that people love to own.
From dazzling diamond rings to chunky boho necklaces, there’s always some kind of bling to covet.
But here’s the thing, how often do we wear all those pieces we’ve amassed over the years?
If you’re anything like most people, it’s probably not very often.
There’s something about buying jewelry that makes us feel happy and indulgent, but wearing it can be a hassle.
We worry about losing, damaging, or not feeling comfortable in it.
So we end up with a drawer full of baubles that we hardly ever wear.
#10. Hobby Gear
It’s no secret that picking up a new hobby can be exciting.
You travel to the store, browsing through the aisles and picking out all the gear you’ll need to embark on your new adventure.
But as time passes, that shiny new set of golf clubs or knitting needles starts collecting dust in the closet.
It’s important to remember that the joy of a hobby comes not from the equipment but from the experience itself.
We’ve all been guilty of it at some point in our lives, buying a book with the best intentions of reading it but never quite getting around to it.
It could be the lure of the latest bestseller that makes us feel like we’re missing out, or it’s the satisfying feeling of adding a new book to our collection.
Either way, there’s no denying that buying books seems to bring us more joy than actually reading them.
#12. Organizing Items
Ah, the allure of a perfectly organized home. We’ve all felt it.
It’s why we find ourselves drifting down the home goods aisle, eyes wide with the promise of labeled bins and color-coordinated folders.
But let’s be honest, how often do we actually follow through with our grand organizing plans?
Sure, we stock up on cute notepads and sticky notes just in case we decide to become bullet journal pros, but they usually end up shoved in a drawer along with all the other abandoned organizing gadgets.
It’s like we’re all living in a weird organizing fantasy where we think having the right tools will magically make us more efficient.
#13. Exercise Equipment
We’ve all been there. You see an infomercial for the latest and greatest exercise machine that promises to give you rock-hard abs in just minutes a day.
You get hooked. Before you know it, you’ve ordered the thing, and it arrives at your doorstep.
The excitement builds as you tear open the box and set it up in your living room.
You tell yourself that you’re going to use it every day. But then reality sets in. Life gets busy, and before you know it, that shiny new piece of equipment turns into a dusty coat rack. It’s a tale as old as time.
#14. Grocery Store Guilty Pleasures
We all have our vices when it comes to the grocery store.
For some of us, it’s the candy aisle, while for others is the frozen foods section.
No matter what yours is, you know the section of the store you need to avoid, otherwise you are going home with something you never intended to buy.
#15. Specialty Tools
Do you have a specialty tool tucked away somewhere, like a pair of shears, that you thought would be really useful, but it turns out you don’t know what to do with it?
You’re not alone.
Sometimes, we get excited about new tools and gadgets but never find their purpose in our lives.
It’s a good idea to think twice before buying something if you’re not sure what it will be used for.
#16. DVD Box-Sets
We’ve all done it.
We spot a box-set of our favorite TV show or movie and we just have to buy it.
But what do you do with the box-sets once you’re done watching them?
They take up precious space that could be used for something else, so if you don’t plan on rewatching them soon, think twice before making the purchase.
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When it comes to spending, we all like to think that we are in control. The truth is, advertisers know exactly how to get us to spend more than we intended.
By understanding their tactics, you can be better prepared to resist them and keep your hard-earned dollars in your wallet.
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I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
Visit my About Me page to learn more about me and why I am your trusted personal finance expert.