10 Things We Love to Buy and Hate to Use

by Shawanda Greene

Elliptical TrainerLet’s be honest. You know how to save money:

1) Earn more,

2) Spend less, or

3) Earn more and spend less.

It’s so simple.

I wish I could blow your mind with a new tip, trick, or concept every day. Today, I’m just gonna advise you to spend less money.

However, there is a twist. I’m about to tell you exactly what you shouldn’t spend money on.

Based on a non-statistical sample of my own observations (surveys and science be damned), there are products you’ll almost certainly waste money on.

I’m betting you’ve shamefully hidden away at least one of these items in that dungeon you call a home.

1. Kids Battery Powered Vehicles

I’ve ONLY seen kids battery powered cars used on Christmas day.  That’s the only time they see any action.

About five years ago, my brother delivered a $300, 200 pound Cadillac Escalade to his son for Christmas. After 30 minutes or so of sheer bliss, my nephew was done with the contraption and so was his dad…for good. With the help of a friend, my brother hauled the monstrosity to an uninhabited room in my mom’s house where it currently resides as an oversize laundry basket for old t-shirts.

2. Treadmills (and Other Expensive Exercise Equipment)

You have nothing against the treadmill, it’s the exercise that ticks you off.

The second I learn of a friend’s decision to buy an expensive piece of fitness equipment, I know the purchase is not going to end well. Why? Because I have zero confidence they’ll use it. Especially if they’ve led a sedentary lifestyle.

I’m sure a handful of people use their elliptical trainer religiously. But seriously, they’re the exception. Most of us end up with a hideous, unused eyesore in the middle of our living space.

3. Ice Cream Makers

The idea that you can whip up a delicious and cheap version of one of America’s favorite treats at a moment’s notice makes the ice cream maker irresistible. No longer do you need to rush off to grab ice cream when the craving strikes. You can “easily” make it yourself with a modestly priced, small kitchen appliance.

Unfortunately, you don’t fully appreciate the genius that is Ben & Jerry’s Strawberry Cheesecake ice cream until you learn you don’t have the 100 ingredients required to make it on hand.

It takes time – time you don’t have – to master the homemade version. Plus, cleaning an ice cream maker is a hassle, your kitchen is a complete mess, and all you have to show for it is a bowl of melty, sub par ice cream.

4. Easy Bake Ovens

Who says baking a batch of cookies using a light bulb is a terrible idea? Anyone who’s ever tried it and failed miserably that’s who.

Look. When you have a hankering for cookies, you want them right away.  Although the Easy Bake Oven is a child’s toy, when it’s time for baked deliciousness you don’t have time to kid around. And interestingly enough, neither does your kid.

5. Foot BathsFoot Bath

After a night parading around in a mini dress and 5-inch stilettos, the simple act of kicking your shoes off provides relief beyond imagination.

If you’re tired and stressed out, you need more than a small container to dip your feet in. You want a bath tub – something you can fill with steaming hot water and big dish detergent generated bubbles.

6. Electric Knives

Nothing takes the excitement out of a moist piece of fried turkey breast than the buzz of an electric knife.

I don’t know about you, but that noise makes my blood curdle.

You’ve waited all year for this. The ceremonial slicing of the turkey should be met with a moment of silence. When that bad boy is ready for eatin’, pass me the nearest steak knife so that I can get into it.

Oh, and since you haven’t used your electric knife all year, you’ll either have trouble finding it, or you’ll be too tired to pry it from under the Easy Bake Oven and foot bath that’s sitting on top of it.

7. Label Makers

We all dream of how peaceful our lives would be if we were more organized, but we want to take the easy way out.

Enter the label maker.

If only there was a way to clearly identify where things should go, organizing would be a breeze.

Enter Your Name and Email Below and Click

Unfortunately, masking tape and a Sharpie won’t do. No, no, no. We need a label maker.

Since organizing involves much more difficult work than making labels, we put off the non-fun, but absolutely necessary, part of organizing, i.e., purging.

Purging is the step where you pull out a bunch of crap from what might be a rat infested closet and dispose of what you don’t need.

Sadly, the real work involved in organizing is so painful we’d rather entertain ourselves with thoughts of “someday” getting organized and using our precious label makers.

8. Condoms

We’re all adults here (I sure hope so).

I’ve been around long enough to know that, with the exception of protecting you against most STDs and illegitimate children, condoms are the worst.

But here’s the thing, the more times you have sex with a particular person, the greater the likelihood you two animals are prone to doing something stupid like not using a condom at all. Now, I’m not suggesting you expose yourself to every person you meet. All I’m sayin’ is, be realistic. You and your partner should get tested, commit to a monogamous relationship, and opt for a more reliable form of birth control – one of the hormonal persuasion.

Massager9. Massagers

Unless that sucker doubles as a vibrator (boy, I really do hope we’re all adults here) it’s practically useless.

From my experience, they cause your muscles, skin or both to itch like the dickens.

When my back is sore, I need the pressure and dexterity of human hands to dig in there and work the kinks out.

The handheld massagers are particularly worthless. Who derives relaxing satisfaction from massaging themselves? Don’t answer that.

10. Blenders

Recently, a friend asked me if my Vita-Mix, a super awesome, high powered blender, could make soup? I told her that it could, and then I added “But why in the devil would you make soup with a blender?” Stoves and slow cookers have managed just fine all these years.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my blender. A few times a year, I’ll make margaritas with it.

The problem with blenders is that they’re a pain in the butt to clean.

If I wanted to spend a Friday evening getting hammered, it’s so much quicker and cleaner to do it over a glass or 3 of boxed wine.  Personally, I like my spirits flowing from the spigot resembling that of a Gatorade 5-gallon cooler.

What other items have you seen people buy that are a hassle to use?

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{ 27 comments… read them below or add one }

Tushar (EF) January 11, 2012 at 2:22 PM

Agree with all, except "Condoms". Its our preferred birth control method :)


Shawanda January 17, 2012 at 5:33 PM

You're one of the few disciplined ones. I suspect condoms aren't a viable long term option for most people.


The Financial Duckie January 23, 2013 at 8:29 PM

I agree with Tushar, the condom kept us childless for 8 years!


FabulouslyBroke.com January 11, 2012 at 8:36 PM

Re: Blender — My Immersion Stick blender is dead easy. Nothing at all to cleaning it. :)

It is not quite as perfect as a regular stand blender, but it does the job.


Shawanda January 17, 2012 at 5:36 PM

I remember seeing those on infomercials when I was a kid. I just wanted to get one so that I could make whipped cream with it.


nicoleandmaggie January 11, 2012 at 10:00 PM

Ditto on the immersion blender. Worth every penny.


Veronica January 12, 2012 at 11:24 AM

After I use my VitaMix I just fill it with warm soapy water and run it for about a minute. They you just rinse it out and it is all clean.


Shawanda January 17, 2012 at 5:29 PM

That definitely works for people who aren't lazy. Every time I don't clean my blender right after I use it, I kick myself. It could all be so simple.


Juan January 12, 2012 at 4:55 PM

I'm with you on those massagers. They sound like a great idea but the truth is that they are nothing compared to the real thing. 110 times out of 111 I would rather go for the real thing.


Shawanda January 17, 2012 at 5:23 PM

The real thing is expensive, but definitely superior. The only time I felt like I wasted money on a massage was when I got a sports massage. Man, that was painful!


Amanda L Grossman January 12, 2012 at 6:00 PM

I definitely use our blender, but had to chuckle at the foot bath because my husband bought me one a year ago and I have yet to take it out of the box!


Shawanda January 17, 2012 at 5:19 PM

I had a foot bath years ago. I used it once. Not sure what ever came of it. I might give myself a pedicure once every two years in which case I'll use the tub to soak my feet.


Barb Friedberg January 13, 2012 at 7:49 PM

Shawanda, I use my label maker all the time. It is so fun. I use my blender occasionally, but it doesn't work well. Can I have yours? :)


Shawanda January 17, 2012 at 5:11 PM

I actually use my label maker from time to time as well. I don't dream of becoming organized, I am organized…at least at home. I LOVE clear shoe boxes. I bought like 40 of them from The Container Store. For non-shoes, I label the box and store stuff like eye care products, hair care products, prescription drugs, etc. in them.

My Vita-Mix set me back $300 bucks USED, so I'm going to hold onto that a little longer. It's the absolute best at making green smoothies. The Magic Bullet doesn't cut it.


101 Centavos January 14, 2012 at 9:27 PM

I bought our treadmill at a yard sale for oh, about 50 bucks. Almost brand new, fancy, bells and whistles and flashing lights. After a few weeks, it turned into a hideous, unused eyesore.


Shawanda January 17, 2012 at 5:05 PM

Well, that's where you need to get that type of stuff from. At least you were only out $50. Some people pay over $1,000 for a single piece of exercise equipment. When I was about 15 years old, my mom bought a stationary bike from the thrift store or a yard sale. I can't remember exactly, but it was definitely used. My mom rarely used it, but I got her money's worth out of it. If I ever by a stationary bike, I'm heading to the thrift store or a yard sale or wherever.


My University Money January 17, 2012 at 9:16 PM

I only but workout stuff at garage sales. I love seeing the ashamed look on people's faces as I load it into my truck haha. I've went through a couple of stationary bikes that have worked just fine for me. One was 50, the other 25 (after a 2-3 years of pretty decent riding, the first one had served it's purpose). My mom on the other hand bought a $700 clothes-drying rack. Well, the box said elliptical, but it's only function has been to hang clothes on!


Andrew January 17, 2012 at 10:47 PM

What MUM said. The people I bought it from were large… *very* large. They said they had gotten the treadmill for physical rehabilitation. They looked both slightly embarrassed and relieved to see it go :-)


JP @ Novel Investor January 17, 2012 at 3:42 PM

I had one of those battery powered cars as a kid and used it constantly. Probably because I rewired it to go faster than it was supposed too.


Shawanda January 17, 2012 at 4:49 PM

I preferred my Cabbage Patch Big Wheel. But then again, my parents never bought me a battery powered vehicle. I just saw a lot of them parked around the side of my neighbors' houses getting rained in.


Romeo January 18, 2012 at 6:57 AM

F-ing, hilarious! All of it. You should add kid's toys, in general. Kids are more likely to play with staplers, sticks, and real pot sets, than they are overpriced, highly marketed, toys.


Liz January 20, 2012 at 1:52 PM

I agree with all of these, except for the blender. Mine is super easy to clean, and it's like forever old. Maybe I just do it the lazy way; I rinse it with hot, hot water first, then add a little soap at the bottle, and remove any extra mess with a baby bottle brush. The brush keeps your fingers from getting chopped off, and you don't have to worry about rinsing sponge out from the blades.

Condoms… Hahaha! I do wish we used them sometimes, because they help keep things, um, neater, but I have the Mirena (IUD) so I don't worry about it. I've been with the same guy for years.


youngandthrifty January 26, 2012 at 2:51 AM

But I love my blender!!

I agree with all of the above except for the condoms :) Totally agree with the work out machine and the electric knife. The electric knife sounds dangerous anyway lol

Birth control pills are polluting our waters! I have a post on some birth control methods et voila: http://youngandthrifty.ca/relationships-money/bir


@MoneyPlanSOS February 14, 2012 at 7:24 AM

Maybe it's because I'm a guy but I don't really get China cabinets, more specifically the China in the cabinet. It serves no practical purpose and costs A LOT OF MONEY. Is it a badge of honor for women? Is it so they can say "See, I got my guy to buy a China Cabinet"? I don't get it.


Shawanda February 23, 2012 at 6:00 PM

I don't get it either. They're dishes. They should be eaten off of and drank out of. You may not want to drink beer out of your fancy glasses or eat Ramen noodles out of your expensive bowls, but they should be used sometimes.


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10 Things We Love to Buy and Hate to Use | You Have More Than You Think I was suggested this website by my cousin. I am not sure whether this post is written by him as nobody else know such detailed about my trouble. You are wonderful! Thanks! your article about 10 Things We Love to Buy and Hate to Use | You Have More Than You ThinkBest Regards Yoder


Nina April 11, 2012 at 2:32 PM

I agree with everything but condoms and blenders. I use both pretty frequently :-) I used my label maker until it ran out of tape and got too lazy to buy refills. Now I'm all about the tape/sharpie solution!


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