There are certain purchases that buyers tend to regret.
No, that doesn’t mean everyone: There are plenty of happy boat and hot tub owners out there, and surely more than a few people count their timeshare property as a true delight.
But when faced with one of the potential purchases listed here, it’s a good idea to take a breath and think seriously about whether to buy it.
Movie-watching has moved online, with streaming and downloadable films that are easier than ever to manage and watch. You can buy or rent movies on demand from streaming services like Hulu or Amazon Prime Video.
We’re positive you don’t have storage space for hundreds of DVDs. You’re not Blockbuster Video, and besides, look what happened to them.
2. Extended warranty
You’ve bought the product, but the sales pitch isn’t over: Now your clerk is gunning to sell you an extended warranty, just in case the brand-new product falls apart.
Research the product you’re buying. Extended warranties can be complicated.
Whatever you do, first check whether you have coverage through other sources, such as a manufacturer’s warranty or through your credit card. You may not even need to fork out for extra coverage.
There’s an old saying: The two best days of owning a boat are the day you buy it and the day you sell it.
Owning a boat is a lot of work. If you live on a lake and have plenty of room for it and are willing to spend the money needed to keep afloat, then ship ahoy! But most of us can get by with an occasional boat rental or wait until our friend Gilligan invites us over for a sail.
For more options, check out “4 Ways to Go Boating Without Buying a Boat.”
Timeshares, which give you a partial share of ownership in a vacation property, are probably one of the most stereotypically regretted purchases — and for good reason.
You may love vacations, but do you always want to vacation in the exact same spot? Yes, you can exchange your timeshare with others, but booking a hotel or resort is more flexible.
Those are a few reasons why Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson says, “I’d chop off my own foot with a dull ax before buying a timeshare.”
5. An extravagant wedding
A wedding lasts one day, and then it’s all photos and memories.
You’ll be just as legally married in a $100 gown as in a $5,000 one, and you’ll have a lot more money left over. You can pull off a wedding elegantly without going into debt in the process.
6. Pricey engagement ring
And speaking of weddings, consider whether a whopping diamond ring is really the best way to tie the knot.
Modern jewelers offer more price-conscious alternatives that are just as lovely. Your hard-earned dollars can bring more satisfaction if they’re used for a down payment on a home. So consider lab-grown diamonds — not only are they cheaper, they’re more environmentally friendly.
7. Desktop computer
Desktop computers once were an amazing innovation, but few people need that kind of computing power these days. A tablet or laptop gives you the flexibility to move your home office around and travel with your computer if you wish.
Think different, a la Apple’s old motto. And when it comes to home computing, don’t think big — think small.
8. Giant tent or other expensive camping gear
For hardcore campers, owning a nuclear-fueled camp stove, a three-bedroom tent, an enormous inflatable mattress or a kit specifically made for roasting s’mores might make sense.
But for those of us who camp maybe only once every year or two, a small tent and standard sleeping bag work just as well. And you can always just toast marshmallows on sticks, which are still free.
Most of us carry smartphones these days, and their video capabilities keep getting better and better. Hauling around a camcorder, storing it and getting the videos off of it are chores few of us need.
10. Home printer
Even those who run a home business are finding fewer and fewer opportunities to use gigantic printers since so many documents can be filled out, signed, sent and received electronically.
Printers take up a ton of space and require replacement ink cartridges that can cost as much as a new printer.
Those in major cities who need a printer for a one-time use can make the occasional trek to the public library or local business offering printing services.
Counting steps to keep yourself moving is trendy again, but it’s not pedometers that brought it back. Instead, it’s wrist-worn fitness trackers, smartphones and smartwatches.
You have to plan to wear a pedometer. With a smartphone or smartwatch, you can track your steps almost without thinking.
12. Home exercise equipment
There likely have been days when you wished you didn’t have to make the trek to the gym to work out. At those times, buying exercise equipment seems like a no-brainer.
But the equipment is huge and bulky, and storing it takes up precious space in your home. Did we mention that it’s also seriously expensive?
13. Single-purpose kitchen gadgets
Some kitchen appliances make solid sense: Coffeemakers and toasters earn their keep every day. But appliances that are super-specific and can perform only one rarely needed task? They’re rarely worth the money.
Will you really use a juicer, a bread maker, a hot-dogger or a food dehydrator? Maybe once or twice, but it is unlikely to earn the space it takes up on your kitchen counter.
14. Pools and hot tubs
Sure, some people swim every day. And some of us can’t imagine gloomy winters without a hot tub.
But for many people, there’s only a short period of time when a pool or hot tub is used enough to earn its keep. After that, it becomes a huge bowl of water that needs to constantly be cared for and cleaned.
If you’re on Facebook, head to the online shopping section to see how many people are desperately trying to give away pianos for free. Few things take up more space and are more difficult to move than a piano.
If you truly have a junior Beethoven in your house, you may genuinely need a piano. But if your kid hasn’t even learned where middle C is, you can start with a borrowed portable keyboard and see if music lessons hit the right note.
16. Fine china
Once, fine china was on every couple’s wedding registry and was broken out regularly for dinner parties and family holidays. Ours is a more casual world now, for good or for ill. Few engaged couples want 12 place settings of Royal Doulton china.
If china appeals to you, check with the older generations in your family. They may be happy to give you theirs.
Face facts: Beanie Babies that were the rage in the 1990s are never going to make you rich.
The same goes for most collectibles, from Franklin Mint collector plates to Department 56 Snow Village buildings.
If it makes you happy to buy a spoon or shot glass from each country or state you visit, have your fun. But don’t collect with the expectation that you’ll make money from the collection one day.
18. Baby gadgets
New moms and dads don’t need half of the things on many baby registries. Diapers and clothes, sure. Burp cloths and bassinets? Go for it. But a diaper wipe warmer?
If you’re giving a present to a new parent, consider a gift card.
19. Giant desserts
Many restaurants have one on the menu — the giant, jumbo, lollapalooza, monster-sized dessert. But eat one, and you’ll quickly regret it.
Unless you have a soccer team or hungry family to help you eat the giant treat, skip it.