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12 Useless Things People Spend Money On

In today’s consumer-driven society, it’s easy to fall into the trap of spending money on things that offer little long-term value.

Here are twelve common expenditures that might seem necessary but are actually wasteful, impacting your finances negatively. Let’s delve into why these purchases are often unnecessary and how they can affect your financial health.

Expensive Baby Apparel

Happy mother with newborn baby

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While it might be tempting to dress your child in the latest designer fashions, these high-priced items often provide no additional comfort or utility compared to more affordable options. For instance, a $100 designer onesie might only be worn twice before your baby outgrows it, whereas a $10 outfit from a discount store can be just as adorable and functional. 

Additionally, babies are prone to spills and messes, making expensive clothes a poor investment as they can be easily ruined. Prioritizing budget-friendly, durable baby clothes allows you to save significant amounts of money, which could be better invested in a college fund or used for other essential needs.

Cigarettes and Alcohol

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Smoking and excessive drinking are not only detrimental to your health but also to your wallet. Cigarettes and alcohol are recurring expenses that add up quickly, often without people realizing the total cost. For example, if you spend $10 a day on cigarettes, that amounts to $3,650 a year. Similarly, frequent nights out or regular purchases of alcoholic beverages can quickly deplete your budget. 

The financial impact is compounded by the potential for increased healthcare costs due to the negative health effects associated with smoking and drinking. Quitting or cutting back on these habits can save you thousands annually, money that could be used for more beneficial pursuits like travel, education, or investing in your future.


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The gaming industry has exploded in recent years, with many people spending a significant amount on games and in-game purchases. These costs can add up without providing substantial returns. For instance, spending $60 on a new game might provide entertainment for a while, but it offers no tangible value beyond temporary enjoyment. 

Additionally, in-game purchases can lead to a cycle of spending money on virtual items that have no real-world value. Limiting your gaming budget and finding free or cheaper alternatives can help keep your finances in check. Consider borrowing games from friends, renting them, or waiting for sales to purchase games at a reduced price.

New Designer Items

KUALA LUMPUR, MALAYSIA - MAY 09, 2016: inside of Louis Vuitton store. Louis Vuitton Malletier, commonly referred to as Louis Vuitton, or shortened to LV, is a French fashion house founded in 1854 by Louis Vuitton.

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Keeping up with the latest fashion trends can be incredibly costly. Designer items often come with hefty price tags but offer no practical advantage over more affordable brands. For example, a designer handbag might cost $1,000, while a similar, high-quality, non-designer bag could cost just $100.

 The allure of designer labels can lead to impulse buying and unnecessary spending. Prioritizing function over fashion can help you save money without sacrificing style. Additionally, shopping at consignment stores or during sales can help you find high-quality items at a fraction of the cost.


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While it’s a sensitive subject, the cost of caskets and funeral services can be exorbitant. Many people feel pressured to buy expensive caskets as a sign of respect, but these high costs can burden your loved ones during an already difficult time. A basic casket serves the same purpose as a luxurious one, often costing a fraction of the price. 

For example, a high-end casket might cost $10,000, while a simpler option could be as low as $1,000. Planning ahead and considering more affordable options can ease the financial strain and allow your family to focus on remembering and honoring your life without the added burden of high costs.

New Cell Phone Every Year

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The latest smartphone models often come with minor upgrades that don’t justify their high costs. Upgrading your phone annually can result in substantial expenses without providing significant benefits. For example, buying a new $1,000 phone each year, instead of every three years, means spending $2,000 more over three years. 

Software updates on older models often provide most new features, making yearly upgrades unnecessary. Waiting longer between upgrades can save you a significant amount of money and reduce electronic waste. Additionally, consider buying refurbished models or taking advantage of trade-in programs to further reduce costs.

Food Delivery

11. pizza delivery

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Convenience comes at a cost, and food delivery is a prime example. The markup on delivered food, along with delivery fees and tips, makes it significantly more expensive than cooking at home. If you spend $30 on a delivered meal instead of $10 on homemade food, doing this three times a week adds up to an extra $3,120 a year. 

Over time, these costs can add up and significantly impact your budget. Cooking at home is not only cheaper but often healthier too. Meal planning and bulk cooking can save time and money, allowing you to enjoy delicious meals without the high costs associated with delivery services.

Bottled Water

Portrait of young beautiful dark-haired woman wearing blue t-shirt drinking water at summer green park.

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Buying bottled water regularly is an unnecessary expense, especially when tap water is safe to drink in many areas. The environmental impact of plastic bottles is another consideration. If you spend $1.50 per bottle and drink two bottles a day, that’s over $1,000 a year.

 Investing in a good reusable water bottle and using a filter can save money and reduce waste. Additionally, many public places offer free water refill stations, making it even easier to stay hydrated without spending extra money.

Faux Leather Boots

Side view of happy young woman choosing shoes from shelf in store

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Faux leather boots might seem like a cheaper alternative to genuine leather, but they often wear out quickly and need to be replaced more frequently. Spending $50 on faux leather boots that last one season, versus $150 on genuine leather boots that last several years, is more costly in the long run.

Genuine leather boots, with proper care, can last for decades, making them a better investment. Investing in quality footwear can save you money over time and provide greater comfort and durability.

Big Fat Weddings

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Weddings are memorable events, but they can also be extraordinarily expensive. Spending tens of thousands of dollars on a single day can strain your finances for years. For example, a $30,000 wedding could instead be a down payment on a house. 

The average cost of a wedding in the United States is over $30,000, which can lead to significant debt.

 Opting for a smaller, more intimate wedding can provide the same joyful memories without the financial burden. Prioritizing meaningful experiences over extravagant expenses can help you start your married life on a solid financial foundation.

Paying for Unused Memberships and Subscriptions

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It’s easy to sign up for memberships and subscriptions, but if you’re not using them, they’re just a waste of money. For instance, a gym membership costing $50 a month is $600 a year, wasted if you rarely go. The same applies to streaming services, magazine subscriptions, and other recurring charges.

Regularly reviewing and canceling unused subscriptions can free up significant amounts of money for other uses. Consider using free trials to test services before committing and set reminders to cancel before automatic renewals.

Buying Brand-Name Products

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Many brand-name products come with a premium price tag despite having a similar quality to generic alternatives. For example, brand-name medications often cost much more than their generic counterparts, even though they have the same active ingredients.

 Similarly, brand-name groceries, cleaning supplies, and other household items can cost significantly more than store brands. Choosing generics can lead to substantial savings without sacrificing quality. Comparing prices and reading reviews can help you make informed decisions and get the best value for your money.