What's the dumbest thing that way too many people spend way too much money on?

I'm thinking of things like:

  • Buying a plain white T-shirt for $100 because of the name on the label inside
  • Getting the biggest mortgage you can, buying a McMansion, and spending an extra $500,000 in interest over the next $35 years

Often we don't realise how much we base purchasing decisions on "everyone is doing it", without researching properly or even just stopping and thinking about it for a second. What other examples can you think of?


  • +57 votes

    Cant afford to buy a house or pay rent on time but always money for $100 Tshirts, crappy tats and iPhones

  • +95 votes


  • Gym memberships, people sign up for gym and never actually make full use of it, some just lift weights and treadmill (all of which can be done in the comfort of your own home and at the park)

    Sport equipment that you use 4 times which now rusts in the garage

    $60+ phone plans when you don't even make $150 worth of calls.

    Food and drinks at special events, cinemas and at the service station — just walk a little more and find yourself a much cheaper place to buy from — the supermarket and the asian mini-marts. Use your GPS!!

    Speaking of GPS, many smart phones nowadays have a pretty competent GPS with unlimited map updates. Nokia HERE is great for that. Don't waste money buying maps…

    Throwing away edible food — just because the juice is 1 day past expiry doesn't mean it's always bad.

    Driving extremely short trips when you could be just walking or bicycling

    Degrees or diplomas with crappy privately run institutions which are not reputable but charge an arm and a leg for the course

    • Some people buy gym membership because that act as a motivational push (you've spent blah amount in getting a membership, so you should be going there kind of mindset). That said, I've never liked treadmill (I think it comes with having worked an indoor environment with really bad ventilation (a bunker)). Gym membership for me is more of for the weights (I cannot use one in my room because it's a flat) and that motivational push.

    • People throwing away food because it's past the expiration date, without even tasting or smelling it first, is one of my biggest peeves.
      Expiry dates on all products are really strict in Australia - not sure why, might be something to do with the "average person" not storing it correctly.
      Just sniff or taste the thing - it won't kill you. You'll know if it's no good.

      And people confusing "best before" with expiration. I remember Unicorn camembert & brie used to have a blurb on their wrapper about how they had to have a "best before" date, but that date is actually the earliest you should eat it and it's better if you leave it for a couple more weeks.

      • Expiry dates on all products are really strict in Australia - not sure why,

        It's to cater to the lowest common denominator who can't rely on their own common sense and need the state to explicitly proscribe what isn't safe.

      • Best before dates just mean the product is considered best before that date. If kept packaged, it's usually only texture or nutrient content that reduces after that. They're still safe to eat for an indefinite time. Some foods don't even have expiry dates; usually those with no animal derived content. (I studied food labelling as part of a certificate course.)

        • ahhh, hadn't considered the nutrient content changing. Not that it bothers me - whatever fills the hole (ooh err missus). Thanks for the info.

        • @catbrain:
          You're welcome.
          I actually bulk buy pre-packaged food from a local discount supermarket. It's usually past the best before date by several months, but it doesn't really matter. Plus, I'd rather spend $1 on a box of fruit & nut bars than $3.99 for the same thing at Coles. I'm hanging out for them to get more long-life cartons of soy milk. Last time they had them in, I bought them by the carton of 12x one litre cartons. I had a huge stack, next to the fridge, of around one hundred litres! :-p

    • I have found gym memberships are commonly used by women to demonstrate that they do exercise, even when they don't.

      During conversations with female work colleagues I often ask what sports, if any, they play. The answer is almost universally "oh, I don't play sport… but I have a gym membership… that I don't…" and the conversation slowly trails off because the last time that membership was used was September. Last year.

    • Gym Memberships and Treadmills or cardio machines in general. Why pay a couple of hundred a month to walk on the spot in a sweaty gym staring at a wall when you can walk or jog around the park for free.

      • I walk past the gym.

      • I have really bad ankles and knees so an eliptical is needed if I want to do cardio.

      • That's what I think too. Like today I went on a forest walk with my dogs. Much nicer breathing in the forest air than the B.O…

        I do use the cardio machines though for a 15min warm up before weights when needed.

        • +3 votes

          There is a forest near my house. I think it's behind a heap of trees.

      • Why pay a couple of hundred a month to walk on the spot in a sweaty gym staring at a wall when you can walk or jog around the park for free.

        Can't exactly jog behind a hot cardio bunny in yoga pants at the park for as long as you can at the gym.

        Just sayin' ;)

      • +1 vote

        Cuz it brings attention to yourself

      • +4 votes

        Because it's 30+ degrees outside for a good portion of the year. And humid.
        Too much 'nature' in the form of flies, bugs, swooping birds etc.
        Too many trip-hazards to watch for.
        Too many snotty kids (including my own) annoying me as I go round the park. Seriously, I was too early for the creche last week so tried jogging with my kids in the park. It was a freaking disaster. Never again.

        I'll quite happily take my air-conditioned cardio machine in front of a TV whilst my kids play happily in the creche, over a park any day.

    • So real & original and more importantly, it's practical guide.

    • Gym memberships

      Bodyweight fitness isn't really the same as weight training, and there are a lot of reasons one might not want to walk outside (weather, location, terrain, etc). Gyms are convenient and offer far more robust services than you could ever scrap together on your own. You're entitled to your own opinion as to whether or not it's worth the buy-in cost, but let's not deny that it has advantages.

      • +6 votes

        Agree it's about what you like.
        So many people here will spend $1200 on a TV but call gym membership a waste. Many people go to the gym because that's what they enjoy. My gym membership is $300 a year, I've found the industry has become so competitive and cheaper that it's not such a drain these days.

      • gym membership is actually probably the best investment you can make in your life, providing you end up using it regularly. No amount of money can buy health (see: Gina Rinehart)

        • Buying a gym would be a better investment. There are not many business models that rely on people giving you money for a service you both know they are not going to use.

        • @GaryQ: Best equipment for home use:

          a Totalgym &

          hand & ankle weights. You choose a lot of uphill paths & walk for 30 -45mins. (do arm rolls & "uppercuts as you walk) & then back to do 20 -30 mins on the TG.

          It works astoundingly well!