Do you have a bulky electric can opener from the 80s stashed in your kitchen cupboard? Is there an oversized fleece onesie wadded up in your closet? Did you just order a shaking weight that vowed to get your arms toned for three easy payments of $19.99? If so, don’t worry. You are not alone.
Even the best of us succumb to catchy slogans and exciting sales promises. Marketers are skilled at seducing the masses into believing that certain products are a necessity or that they will at least make our lives easier. The truth is, many of today’s trending products become tomorrow’s waste of space. Even worse is that some purchases are just downright bad for us and the environment.
While certain products actually do make our lives easier and are worth the money, there are many items that are better left on the shelves. There are a lot of things in our homes that we buy out of habit without realizing that there are cheaper (and healthier) alternatives. We’ve done some research and found 10 things to never buy again in order to keep your wallet, body and our planet healthy.
Online streaming television shows and movies are available at a low cost, making increasingly expensive cable and satellite TV options less appealing. Websites such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon offer a wide array of entertainment for around $8 to $1 a month. And when the average monthly rate of cable TV is at $123, pay TV service seems unjustifiable.
Although there is some convenience to be found in disposable cups, styrofoam is simply too harmful to the environment to be worth its ease of use. The synthetic material does is not biodegradable and releases toxic waste when it is broken down. Styrofoam sits in landfills for hundreds of thousands of years, polluting the earth and negatively affecting the ozone layer. If you need to use disposable cups, use biodegradable ones made from corn.
Pre-Cut Fruits and Veggies
If you’re a busy parent, student or employee, having pre-cut or pre-shredded foods can be a big time saver. That being said, the cost of these items is ridiculously marked up from the exact same foods in whole form. Some pre-prepared fruits and veggies, too, are coated with preservatives to stop them from turning brown. Do yourself (and your bank account) a favor and choose one night a week to chop a bunch of fresh produce and keep them in your fridge for your convenience.
According to the Beverage Marketing Corporation, U.S. bottled water consumption has surged 2,700 percent over the past 40 years. That leaves a lot of plastic bottles floating in our oceans and crowding landfills around the country. At an average of $2 per bottle, packaged water is not only harmful to the environment, it also takes a toll on our wallets. Despite the growing awareness of the damaging effects of bottled water, product sales continue to rise. Alternatively, buy an attractive glass water bottle and fill up as you go to save dollars and to put your conscience at ease.
Memory or Flash Drives
Gone are the days of saving your work on an expensive and easy-to-lose thumbdrive. With free, online storage sites such as Google Drive, you can store most of your documents and photos online. Memory drives also run the risk of passing viruses between computers, and their content can be accidentally erased by the click of a button.
Stamps are surprisingly expensive at 47 cents a pop, even with the recent (slight) decline. You can save yourself a lot of money by switching to online bill pay. If you currently send around 10 bills per month you can save yourself up to $80 dollars a year just by ditching stamps. You also avoid wasting a lot of paper and fuel and harmful emission from mailed bill delivery.
Perhaps equally convenient as pre-cut vegetables, plastic wrap is another household staple that can easily be done away with. Pyrex glass containers and reusable plastic containers are smart environmental and economic alternatives to disposable plastic wrap. Although the upfront cost of investing in a good set of reusable food storage containers might seem high, you save money in the long run by avoiding cellophane. And of course, you will be helping the planet by saving it from plastic contamination. Plus, plastic containers that wear out can be recycled!
You probably go through a good amount of household cleaners each month. While a bottle of spray isn’t necessarily expensive itself, the cost can add up over the months. And perhaps even more motivation to stop buying these cleaners is that most of them are chock full of toxic chemicals that are harmful to our health. Instead, you can easily make your own effective cleaners for a much lower cost using simple vinegar and water and without the health risks of harmful chemicals.
Despite the fact that DVD sales are rapidly declining, they still sell for a ridiculously high price, averaging around $25 each. According to the Digital Entertainment Group, DVD sales dropped by 8 percent last year, largely attributed to the cheaper streaming and rental alternatives. Since you can now view unlimited movies online for a fraction of the cost of most DVDs there is little reason to buy hard copies of anything. The same goes for music CDs.
You might be surprised to discover just how many unnecessary or downright unhealthy ingredients are loaded into a simple store-bought salad dressing. They are also expensive, especially if you opt for the higher-quality brands. Often, we reach for these bottled dressings because they seem more convenience than making our own. The truth is, whipping up a tasty, healthy and preservative-free dressing can be extremely easy. Just mix ⅓ apple cider vinegar to ⅔ olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste, and voila! You have a delicious dressing that your body and wallet will enjoy.
Do you use any of these go-to products? What things have you vowed to never buy again?
Stephanie Catudal is a mother, writer, hiker and outdoor enthusiast. She can often be found exploring the Ponderosa pine forests of Northern Arizona, or splashing in the cool waters of Sedona’s red rock canyons with her husband and two daughters. Steph is a holistic health enthusiast and finds strength in her personal pursuit of fitness and wellness. She has degrees in Media, Peace and Conflict studies and is passionate about building peace both abroad and within her community.