Five things we buy and never use

Australians love to shop. A bit of retail therapy is right up there with some of the best ways to spend your spare time (and money). There’s something so satisfying about bringing home the latest shiny baubles and gizmos.

But what happens after that? If you’re anything like me, you end up with a cluttered home filled with useless items you’ll never use again, if you did at all.

From kitchen appliances you’ve possibly used once to the expensive motocross gear that’s never seen the outside of your wardrobe, sometimes our houses can look like a museum of bad purchasing decisions.

There are some common themes when it comes to regrettable purchases, and we’ve rounded up some of the most likely to be found in Aussie homes. Are you guilty of buying any of these?

Read: How to spot a fake review before it ruins your Christmas shopping

Exercise equipment
A new exercise bike or elliptical runner is always bought with the best of intentions. The promise of a better, fitter you is alluring. It can be tempting to drop a lot of money on the latest and greatest to show your commitment. Even if it’s just to yourself.

But more often than not, the equipment ends up as nothing more than a glorified clothes horse. If you absolutely must have that large and expensive exercise machine, then consider buying it second-hand to reduce the hurt when you inevitably give up.

Subscriptions and memberships
Closely related to unused exercise equipment is the unused gym membership. The same combination of guilt and laziness keeps you paying the fees when they’re due each time.

It’s not just the gym either, it’s virtually everything these days. Subscription TV such as Netflix, news websites, and even genealogy sites for researching your family history require a monthly subscription fee.

Make sure you are using your subscriptions. Check your monthly bank statement to get a tally of all your subscriptions and memberships and if you’re not using them at least a couple of times in the month then get rid of them.

Read: Products that will save you money

Pet accessories
We all love our pets. Our furry friends bring so much love and joy to our lives, it’s understandable that we want to spoil them with the best.

Australians spend a mind-boggling $1.2 billion on pet accessories each year. But how many of those chew toys end up abandoned behind the shed? How many scratching posts sit untouched by your cat?

According to MoneyTalks, doggie dental hygiene gel, microwaveable heated bed pads and other specialty items, pets Halloween costumes and 90 per cent of their toys will end up abandoned.

Extended warranties
Making any kind of ‘big’ purchase such as a new television or fridge often comes with a certain amount of hesitancy and trepidation. You’re about to spend a significant amount of money on an item you’ll potentially be using for years, and you don’t want anything to go wrong.

It can be tempting to allay your worries by opting for the extended warranty when offered by the salesperson. But is it the right choice? The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission (ACCC) says no.

“Some [retailers] may tell you that an extended warranty provides extra protections you wouldn’t usually get,” the ACCC says.

“This isn’t necessarily true, as you automatically have consumer guarantees that suppliers must comply with, regardless of what they say or any warranties they offer.”

Read: How phones have replaced cash, credit and loyalty cards

Single-purpose appliances and tools
That popcorn maker looks like something you need, but how often do you eat popcorn? It will sit in a cupboard taking up space until the next time you remember to use it. Our kitchen cupboards are filled with nifty but niche appliances that really can’t justify their existence in our lives.

It’s not just our kitchens, but our sheds too. There are hundreds of specialised tools out there just begging to be used once and forgotten. There are all sorts of highly specialised drills, saws, grinders, joiners and hammers that have just one specific use.

If you find yourself in need of one of these items, it might pay to see if you can borrow from a friend, hire the item or at least buy it second-hand.

Are you guilty of buying any of these? What do you have cluttering up your home? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Written by Brad Lockyer



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