“4 Upgrades That Waste Your Money” – I Think Not

The following is a post by staff writer Crystal at Budgeting in the Fun Stuff. Her blog covers living expenses, saving for your future, and the fun stuff along the way.

I found another article on Yahoo Finance that made me cringe, 4 Upgrades That Waste Your Money. They give thorough explanations for each of their choices, but their ultimate decision doesn’t pertain to everybody. Here’s their list of 4 wastes:

1) A Hybrid Car
2) Store Memberships
3) A Rewards Credit Card
4) A Stylish New Wardrobe

Based on their explanations, the only one that fits me would be #4.

Hybrid Car

The hybrid makes sense if you do a lot of driving or think gas prices will go up and we do both. My husband is a sports official as well as a school librarian. We also use his car for almost all of our weekend driving so he drives between 12,000 to 15,000 miles a year. A Prius just made sense since it also had the storage capacity he needed for all of the above.

Store Membership

We have storage space in our pantry and a chest freezer, so we do buy in bulk. We use our store membership to Sam’s Club for items that we would definitely pay more for elsewhere. We also don’t buy more than we’d use anyway. So far, I’d say we’ve only wasted about $10 in fruit and that was only because it slid under my front seat and I forgot about it…it wasn’t a happy week for the fruit or my car…

Rewards Credit Cards

We don’t carry a balance on our rewards credit cards, so I don’t mind the higher interest rates. We also don’t spend just to spend, which makes the rewards extra yummy. We also are two of the minority that spend less with credit than we do with cash. I figure it’s because a record of our spending stares me in the face with credit, but once cash is gone, it’s like we never had it.

Clothing and Material Goods

According to the article, money can buy happiness, but not with material goods. Experiences like hobbies and vacations are the true paths to the good life. I would have to agree. Beyond the basic necessities, there are a few extras I need (my car, air conditioning, and a computer come to mind), but the parts of my life that make me the person I am are the times I’m with friends and family – hobbies, hanging out, and travelling with my husband – those are the true gifts in my life.

What do you think of their list? Do you think #1, 2, and 3 are wasteful too?

15 Responses to “4 Upgrades That Waste Your Money” – I Think Not

  1. Um,
    1. We have a hybrid because it’s cool and you don’t have to fill it up a lot.
    2. Box store isn’t worth it to us– we don’t buy enough branded stuff. (When you can’t have HFCS, that cuts out a lot of food.) The fru-fru section of our local grocery store and monthly trips to Whole Foods are good for us.
    3. We don’t carry a balance. Cash flows through my hands like water, so I don’t carry it.
    4. I hate clothes shopping.

    So… 2/4

    • @Nicole,

      1. I completely love the “not filling up a lot” part of Mr. BFS’s car! That is really cool! Getting a used Prius ended up being an okay deal money-wise too for us.
      2. Most of our savings comes from Sam’s Club meat, but I can see you being limited with the no HFCS thing…
      3. We see eye-to-eye on this one all the time, lol.
      4. Clothes shopping sucks. I do like 4-5 tops I have quite a bit, but you’ll never see me getting excited when I know I need new stuff…

      Thanks for participating!

  2. It all depends on the lifestyle of each person, as you mentioned. I think that a hybrid car could not be a waste for certain people that can afford it and would get the most out of it, but for the average Joe, it’s probably a splurge. The reasoning behind #2 and #3 seem pretty reasonable. #4 is very true, experiences are worth more than clothing and material items. Thanks for sharing and starting this interesting conversation ;)

  3. 1. No opinion one way or another on hybrid. We vaguely think we’ll wait and see and will probably do our research when we need to buy a car. Which hopefully will not be for many, many years. Two vehicles owned free and clear presently and we are perfectly fine with our maintenance and gasoline bills.

    2. For me, box stores are totally not worth it. To pay money just to get in the door totally negates any savings we might enjoy. We do not need the large quantities in a household of two adults. My take is that it is higher end stuff at a good price for that brand, but you can get comparable stuff – not so high end or big label – for much less money and without the need to buy a large quantity of it. They do sell better produce than is available locally, but that does not make it worthwhile to us to pay for a membership unfortunately.

    3. Have one. Pay off in full every month. Cash rewards are pretty nice. Have similar deal with the debit card for prizes like starbucks gift cards, restaurant gift cards, etc. That’s fun too.

    4. I also hate clothes shopping.

    • @Jenna, yeah, if you need an SUV, hybrids just aren’t there yet. It looks like they’d only “save” a few miles a gallon and cost $10,000 more. Mr. BFS and I just got lucky that we don’t actually “need” an SUV and the Prius has enough room for what he does carry back and forth all the time…

      • A few miles per gallon at low miles per gallon is actually more savings than at higher miles per gallon. MPG is the non-linear measure… if you want to think about it in terms that humans can understand, it needs to be converted to gallons per mile (so 1/MPG) to compare.

        Still, hybrid SUVs aren’t as efficient as my non-hybrid Hyundai Accent. But if you must have an SUV, the hybrid version does save a bunch of gas, even if MPG aren’t that high.

  4. A hybrid doesn’t work for us because we need a bigger vehicle. However, if it was just my husband and I, I would consider it.

    I do not shop Costco or Sams because I can get things cheaper at our grocery store if I buy on sale and use coupons. That way, I can get the brand I want. I find when I shop at either Sams or Costco, I spend more than I ever intended when I walked in. But those giant boxes of crackers really are not a good deal if you buy only when they are on sale at the store. Same with toothpaste. It is way more expensive at Costco in a multipack then if you buy it at CVS on sale.

    Love my reward credit card. We pay it off every month and get some sweet cash at Christmas time.

    I couldn’t care less about a fancy wardrobe, but I don’t have a ‘career’ that requires it. Even still, I have never been a big spender on clothes.

    • @Everyday Tips, yeah, you are in the same boat as Jenna with needing a bigger vehicle. Cars just don’t cut it for most active families (or just active people in general, lol).

      I find Sam’s comes in handly for about 10 items for us. Meat, bagels, bread, and cereal are our big ones. I buy most of the rest of our groceries at Kroger and double or triple coupons when I can. A few things are cheaper at Wal-Mart, but I only can stand that place once a month or two – it’s just too big for quick shopping…

  5. Cancelled Sam’s club because we ended up buying lots of stuff that we wouldn’t have bought otherwise. Clothes-shop at end of season, Kohl’s, etc. and get great clothes at bargain prices. Interesting idea regarding hybrid. Aren’t they better for the environment?

  6. I think clothes do matter in a work setting. I spend very little on casual clothes, but I do have some nice work clothes. There are a couple of women my age at work that wear very dated business attire..think working girl, circa 1985..and right or wrong, it does affect my perception of their judgment.

    Would feathered hair or a shirt with a big bow in the front or a mint green pantsuit (doublebreasted no less) affect your view of a person? I must be super shallow, but I feel like they should make an effort to buy a few suits that are less than a decade old.

    • The 80s are back in though… I’m too young for my childhood to be back in. So far I’ve been refusing to buy anything 80s and I left the hairdresser who gave me 80s hair last year.