12 things you should never buy if you want to save money

never buy wet wipes

Some common household items are not only overpriced but also totally unnecessary – and in some cases they can even be dangerous. So, save your hard-earned cash and steer clear of these 12 items on your next shopping trip.

Flushable wipes

We’ve survived using toilet paper since its invention in 1857, so flushable wipes probably aren’t something you really need.

Aside from being much more expensive than traditional toilet paper, they’re typically made with synthetic materials, plastics or polyester, that won’t break down. So even if they do flush down your toilet, they end up clogging our sewers. This poses hazardous risks to sewerage professionals who must break up these clogs, as well as considerable costs.

Save your money, save your pipes and stick with traditional toilet paper. If you just can’t live without a moistened wipe, consider a toilet tissue spray.

Bottled water

Drinking from plastic bottles constantly could be harmful to your health. The biggest offender is BPA, also known as bisphenol-A. You’ll often see bottles being marketed as ‘BPA free’ but the chemicals used to replace BPA have the potential to be just as harmful.

If you buy bottled water because you’re concerned about the purity of your local tap water, invest in a tap-mounted or under-sink filtration system, or a simple pitcher filter. Any of these options is far more convenient and more cost-effective than lugging home cases of bottled water every week from the supermarket. For its natural antioxidant properties, we recommend using a copper water bottle. You can learn more about the benefits of copper water bottles from Copper Culture.

Invest in a decent reusable water bottle and fill it up before you leave home to stay hydrated on the move.

Natural diamonds

Although beautiful, natural diamonds aren’t worth it. The diamond engagement ring tradition is a modern development. It was invented not by our respected ancestors, but by a devilishly clever marketing firm, and a diamond company.

Thanks to new technology, lab-grown diamonds might give natural stones some serious competition since they cost as much as 50 per cent less.

Lab-produced diamonds are also more environmentally friendly than mined diamonds, and you won’t have to worry about whether you unwittingly bought a conflict diamond.

Scented rubbish bags

Sometimes rubbish stinks. But scented rubbish bags are rarely the answer. They typically just add an artificial, and usually overpowering, scent into the mix.

Skip the expensive scented bags and buy basic bin liners or reuse plastic grocery bags.

To eliminate bad smells, try this DIY solution: fill a disposable coffee filter with baking soda, tie it shut with a twist tie or dental floss, then place it in the bottom of your rubbish bin before you add the bag. This homemade sachet will absorb odours for weeks.

If you have a particularly smelly bag of rubbish, you can even sprinkle in a little extra baking soda for added smell-reducing power.

Expensive greeting cards

You can usually pick up nice greeting cards from dollar stores or places such as The Reject Shop.

In a world where you can push a button on a screen and actually see someone’s face in real-time, the process of sending greeting cards seems more like a wasteful commitment to clutter and inefficiency than a heartfelt notion.

If you really like signing a card though try these options (and at least write a heartfelt message inside):

Op shop cards: many op shops offer single and bulk greeting cards at amazing prices.

DIY cards: get creative and make your own greeting card. As always, Pinterest has loads of great ideas to get you started.

E-cards: send a free digital card using a service such as Blue Mountain or 123 Greetings.

Paper plates

This one is obvious; paper plates are bad for the environment. Invest in a nice picnic set for those al fresco lunches.

Electric can opener

Electric can openers may be necessary if you suffer from arthritis or another dexterity-limiting condition. But for many people, they’re conveniences that become very inconvenient when the power goes out.

Free up some valuable countertop space and save money by skipping the electric models and buying a well-made manual opener.

Handled teeth flossers

These devices are far more expensive than spooled floss, which is also better for the environment. If you want to take it a step further, invest in a water flosser.

I purchased one at the start of the year and my mouth has never felt so fresh or clean.

Water flossers are clinically proven to reduce gingivitis and improve gum health. They clean between your teeth and below the gumline to get rid of plaque that traditional dental floss leaves behind.

Sandwich bags

Plastic sandwich bags are made from a type of plastic called polyethylene; a synthetic polymer made from fossil fuels. It’s made from crude oil, natural gas, or coal tar, which are all non-renewable resources.

These oil products are then treated with a series of chemical processes to create the final product. And let’s not forget that plastic can take more than 1000 years to break down, leaching out harmful chemicals in the process.

Buy a few reusable containers. Plastic, glass and stainless-steel options are now available – all are easy to wash and keep your food fresh.

Plus, isn’t buying something designed to end up in the rubbish the very definition of throwing your money away?

Microwave rice

Sure, pre-cooked rice in a bag is quick and convenient, but it comes at a steep price.

Why pay several times more than you need to for a pantry staple? Stick with traditional rice – it’s incredibly simple to prepare. And if you have an electric steamer or a pressure cooker, you can set it and forget it.

Do you buy any of the things on this list? Do you have any other examples people should save their money on? Why not share your thoughts in the comments section below?

Also read: How to buy socks that last

Written by Ellie Baxter

Writer and editor with interests in travel, health, wellbeing and food. Has knowledge of marketing psychology, social media management and is a keen observer and commentator on issues facing older Australians.


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  1. Handled teeth flossers may well be dearer than spools but for someone who has had surgery and radiotherapy for mouth cancer and whose mouth barely opens any more, they are an absolute boon! I would hate to do without them. I use a small headed electric toothbrush first then the handled flosser to get anything missed. I rinse them in hot water and re-use a number of times and keep a good stock on hand – from Aldi. 🙂

    • I agree with Pacahawl. I have fortunately not had oral cancer but I won’t leave home without my handled flosser. They are however, becoming quite difficult to find, most supermarkets used to stock them now the only source I know of is Chemist Warehouse, will check our local Aldi.

  2. Electric can opener – of course – so handy for those of us who have arthritis. I won’t be without mine,, and it doesn’t take any extra bench space, as it’s always put away.

    As for water purifiers, I have a Brita tank one that sits in my fridge and takes 3 litres at a time of water, then refill it, and it has 6 litres on tap. The filters are good for 6 – 8 weeks.

    Sandwich bags – good for food ‘on the go’. Make your sandwich and then pop into your cooler bag and off you go without having to worry about containers. I also wash and reuse them. I use the larger ones when I’m packing for an overseas trip – they’re see-through and if you put a daily pack of clothes in them, you can then zip up to 2/3 of the way, and roll, then finish the zip and unroll. So much easier to see what’s in the pack than having to delve into several cubes just to get a set of clothes out. When you’ve washed your clothes, they go back into the bags again.

    Microwave rice – good for a single that purchases a tub of Asian food, (without rice, as it doesn’t microwave well), gets it home, and puts the rice in the microwave, and you’re ready to eat your food hot. Regular rice takes far too long to cook for one if you’ve got your dinner already, and you can’t put it on when you’re going to collect your food, so microwavable rice is good for me, anyway.

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