Skip to content

10 Common Spending Regrets

Wasted money on a purchase? Here's a look at items people buy and wish they didn't

  • Buying a timeshare or vacation home. 10 spending regrets.
    Andre Jenny/Alamy


    En español | The time-share industry, known for its seductive marketing practices, plays on people's fantasies of owning property in popular vacation areas and being able to travel the world by simply swapping time-shares. In reality, many time-share owners find that ever-increasing "maintenance fees" turn their fantasies into financial nightmares. Swapping — let alone ever selling — their time-shares is next to impossible.

    1 of 12
  • Collection of old cell phones. 10 spending regrets.
    Chris Pancewicz/Alamy

    First-Generation Technology

    Consumer electronics and other technology tend to both improve in quality and drop in price after the bugs in the first-generation are worked out and market demand increases. If you camp out to be first in line to buy the latest gadget, you've probably learned this lesson the hard way.

    2 of 12
  •  Purchasing items on TV. 10 spending regrets.
    Rob Lewine/Corbis

    'As Seen on TV' Products

    From kitchen knives that claim to cut through steel bars, to electronic belts promising to remove body fat overnight, many products sold only on TV fall short of their sales pitches. Miracle products offered at an "unbelievably low price" or even for free usually come with high shipping and handling costs. And if a product fails to perform as promised, getting your money back requires, many times, a true miracle.

    3 of 12
  • millennials drive a quarter less than counterparts did 8 years ago (Getty Images)
    Getty Images

    AARP Offer: Protect your money, grow your nest egg

    Take advantage of great information and tools to help build your future and prevent your money from going down the drain. Join AARP and start saving for your dreams today.

    4 of 12
  • Having an extravagant wedding. 10 spending regrets.

    Elaborate Weddings

    With the average American wedding now costing more than $28,000, many newlyweds later regret not saving a bit of that small fortune for other things, such as a down payment on a house. Of course with nearly half of all marriages ending in divorce, it's little wonder so many people regret the cost of their weddings, elaborate or not.

    5 of 12
  • Extended warranties for electronics. 10 spending regrets.
    Andrew Paterson/Getty Images

    Extended Warranties

    So-called added protection plans commonly offered on consumer electronics and appliances are almost always a great deal — for the party selling them. Remember, most products come with a manufacturer's warranty to protect against defects and provide some level of consumer protection without having to pay extra.

    6 of 12
  • Buying trendy instead of classic fashion. 10 spending regrets.
    Yasin Guneysu/Getty Images

    Trendy Fashions

    Americans spend about $250 billion on clothing and accessories every year, fueled in large part by a desire to sport the latest fashions. Buying quality apparel and classic designs will save you money over the long run.

    7 of 12
  • Get rich quick schemes. 10 spending regrets.
    Age Fotostock

    Get-Rich-Quick Schemes

    Whether it's an expensive audio course you saw advertised on late night TV for getting rich by buying real estate, or just plunking down a couple of bucks a week for lottery tickets, the odds are severely stacked against you when it comes to making your fortune in a way that seems too easy to be true. Watch out for "collectible" items, too; they rarely increase — or even retain — their value over time.

    8 of 12
  • Buying gym memberships and exerise equipment. 10 spending regrets.
    Francesco Ridolfi/Istockphoto

    Gym Memberships/Exercise Equipment

    If you buy them and actually use them, great. An estimated 60 percent or more of gym memberships go unused after an initial visit or two. A sign posted recently at a local thrift store where I shop — a veritable graveyard of donated exercise equipment — reads "We Are No Longer Accepting Donations of Used Exercise Equipment (Even If Never Used)."

    9 of 12
  • Buying toys for your pets. 10 spending regrets.
    Elizabeth Kraft/Getty Images

    Pet Toys and Novelties

    My wife will never learn that our cats will sleep anywhere and everywhere other than the elaborate "kitty condos." And if kids are notorious for losing interest in new toys the same day you buy them, pets are even worse. Fido didn't pick that new chew toy you bought; that's why he chews on your slippers.

    10 of 12
  • Pre-paid funeral plans. 10 spending regrets

    Prepaid Funeral Plans

    OK, so maybe this isn't one you'll literally live to regret. Funeral packages are often complicated, overpriced, costly to cancel and don't deliver all that you think they do. Sure, make plans for your own final arrangements and even set aside money specifically to pay for them, but don't fall for prepaid funeral plan rip-offs.

    11 of 12
  • Money End Slide
    12 of 12