Purchases that end up costing you

Researching prices and finding deals can be a time-consuming process for many adults, which makes responsible spending a burden. While some big-ticket items can be rewarding, some bad purchases just won’t justify the price over time, no matter how much you try to rationalize the decision.

By Alan Jones, Espresso

Researching prices and finding deals can be a time-consuming process for many adults, which makes responsible spending a burden. While some big-ticket items can be rewarding, some bad purchases just won’t justify the price over time, no matter how much you try to rationalize the decision. Here are 25 purchases that will end up costing you.


It may be tempting to purchase a pair of skis, but skiing is an expensive activity, and one that you can only do for a few months a year. The average price for a weekend lift ticket, according to NBC News, is $85.52. In addition, one must pay for travel, winter gear and equipment.


Purchasing a boat is a huge investment for something you may only get out and use a few times a year. The Intuit Mint Life finance blog estimates that a $20,000 sailboat would cost $358 per month on top of the purchase price. While it may impress your friends, you’re better off renting a boat when you need one.

Big house

Purchasing a house may not be as lucrative as your parents may have told you. A study from the Harvard Business Review shows that once you add in the costs of maintenance and upkeep, the rate of return on a house is pretty close to zero, and big houses can drain owners who can’t keep up with the repairs.


Timeshares offer the benefits of owning a vacation home without all of the expenses. According to USA Today, however, timeshare properties can cost owners thousands in maintenance, which rarely makes it into the sales pitch. They also tie you to one vacation location, which might not be what you want after a few years.

New car

A new car loses 20 to 30 per cent of its resale value after one year, according to CNBC, and you’ll still be paying for gas, insurance and repairs. The most cost-effective vehicles are a few years old, built by reliable brands, and won’t cost you a small fortune for foreign parts when they break down.

Recreational vehicle

Between the high maintenance costs and the need for year-round parking space, a motor home might be more of a burden than you realize. If you’re still on the fence, make sure you factor in the wildly low gas mileage. Kiplinger estimates that a 32,000-kilometre (20,000-mile) road trip will cost you up to $10,000 in fuel alone.


Unlike many other entries on this list, motorcycles are actually pretty cost-effective… if you don’t take into account health and safety risks. According to the Insurance Information Institute, motorcyclists are 28 times more likely to end up in a fatal accident than car drivers, and far more likely to end up footing an expensive hospital bill, to boot.

Formal attire

How often do you need to wear formal attire, really? With typical banquet-hall weddings declining steadily, according to The Atlantic, most people will find it much more cost-efficient to rent a tuxedo or a formal dress when they actually need them. You may clean up nice but you'll feel even better if you don’t have to pay for it.

Sandwich press

Single-use kitchen appliances like sandwich presses are among the least useful things you will buy in life, according to Food Network host Alton Brown, and the bulky ones are more likely to gather dust in a cupboard than find a permanent spot on your counter. Try making your next panini with a little ingenuity and a regular frying pan.


Can you live without your cell phone? If your answer is no, then it might be time to turn that question around. Can you live without a landline? A landline can cost $15 to $45 per month according to Nationwide (though the higher range usually includes internet), which you may be able to cut if you stick to a cell phone only.

As-seen-on-TV kitchen tools

Infomercials are the last resort for a product that just doesn’t seem all that useful. Don’t be misled by the cheery hosts and rapturous audiences. You can find out about products that are worth your money through friends and, more likely, online reviews, which can be brutal when it comes to TV-sold kitchen gadgets, according to Cheatsheet.

Extended warranties

While it may seem like your electronics are constantly in need of repair, a study by Stanford University shows that consumers actually overestimate the possibility of a breakdown for their products. Extended warranties are regularly pushed by salespeople, but they’re hardly ever worth the extra cost.

Gym membership

We all know people who have bought gym memberships for their New Year’s resolution, but nearly 50 per cent of new gym members drop the habit within a month, according to the New York Post. If you still want to improve your lifestyle, get in the habit of exercising regularly before you commit to a gym membership.

Designer pets

Designer cats and dogs can look cute, but they’re also exceedingly expensive. Some organizations, such as the Kennel Club, question whether the breeding of designer animals is ethically sound. Designer pets can have myriad health problems, and it will be up to you to pay for the vet bills.


It can be a hassle to make bread at home and you’re likely to have the same thought every time it comes out: this could have been better. Bread, fortunately, is a pretty cheap product, and you can save time and counter space by purchasing it in a store.

Expensive weddings

A dream wedding can cost tens of thousands of dollars, and unlike many of the things on this list, you can’t even sell it once you’re done. Increasingly, young people are spending less money on expensive, traditional black-tie weddings, according to Business Insider, and opting for more casual settings and food options. It’s possible that they’ve got the right idea.

Designer brands

Designer brands may make good-quality clothing and accessories, but let’s be honest: you’re paying for the name. Brand-new designer brand products lose much of their value as soon as you take them out of the store. You can save a lot of cash by purchasing used designer brand clothing from consignment stores, according to The Guardian.

Home exercise machines

Home exercise machines are big, clunky and expensive. More likely than not, they’re going to take up a bunch of space in your basement rather than revolutionize your lifestyle. As an alternative, do what you can at home with a simple set of dumbbells and an exercise mat, or get outside and pick up a team sport.

Coffee pod machine

Single-serve coffee pod machines have exploded in popularity in recent years. They may be convenient, but single-serve coffees are enormously wasteful and inefficient, not to mention a burden on the environment, according to the BBC. You can save an awful lot of money by using more old-fashioned methods for your coffee.

Robotic vacuum

Robotic vacuums, like Roombas, detect dust and debris and suck it up for you, but they need to be emptied frequently and you’re still going to have to clean your own corners and tight spaces. From a financial perspective, robotic vacuums cost over $1,000 for a high-end model, according to Business Insider.

Hot tub

Hot tubs seem like fun, but they require a lot of upkeep for something that most people are only going to make use of a few times a year. Keeping a hot tub clean and well-chlorinated can cost hundreds of dollars a year. Yahoo Finance suggests it might even be a better deal to visit a real spa once a week.

Expensive watch

Like so many other things, the poor wristwatch has become redundant in the age of cell phones. But the really expensive watches were mostly just for show, anyway. Rather than spending a few months’ salary (or more) on an accessory that most people won’t even notice, stick to checking your phone when you need the time.


Snowmobiles allow you to traverse the winter countryside with a lot of ease and pleasure. Unfortunately, the average snowmobiler spends $2,000 a year on maintenance, gas, transport and equipment, according to the International Snowmobile Manufacturers Association. If you don’t live in a rural area where snowmobiling is a necessity, stick to rentals for the time being.

Jet Ski

Jet Skis can help you enjoy the summer, but they’re not much of an investment. No matter how fun you think they are, they won’t seem as enjoyable once you start spending money on storage, gas and repairs. A new Jet Ski can cost up to $20,000, and the truth is that you probably won’t use it enough to justify that price.

Smart appliances

We’re sure that your appliances will one day be smart enough to cook dinner and have it ready for you, but until then, you can avoid the smart refrigerator, which can cost up to $6,000, according to How to Geek, and purchase a regular (or dumb) fridge that does a perfectly satisfactory job.


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Finance Magazine: Purchases that end up costing you
Purchases that end up costing you
Researching prices and finding deals can be a time-consuming process for many adults, which makes responsible spending a burden. While some big-ticket items can be rewarding, some bad purchases just won’t justify the price over time, no matter how much you try to rationalize the decision.
Finance Magazine
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