Sometimes we make purchases without even thinking about how it affects ourselves, others, and the environment. Before heading out on your next shopping spree, take a look at this article to see 20 things you should stop buying in 2019 and beyond.
20. Plastic Utensils
Plastic utensils are non-recyclable. That means that they end up in landfills and eventually in out waterways. Thankfully, there are a couple of options that are much better for the environment. The first is compostable cutlery made by GreenWorks. It’s made from Non-GMO corn starch, tapioca roots and other renewable sources. It’s also 100% biodgradable, FDA-certified, BPA-free, and BPI-certified to meet ASTM D6400 and EN13432 standards. The cutlery composts in less than 180 days in a commercial facility.
The second is edible spoons made by Indian company Bakeys. The spoons are made out of dough made from a mixture of sorghum, rice and wheat flours. They come in a variety of flavors and are capable of holding hot liquids, although they will soften if left in hot or cold liquids for more than ten minutes. They have a shelf life of two years.
ATTN: college students. Did you know it’s much cheaper to rent textbooks than it is to spend money on them at your campus bookstore? Online company Chegg lets you rent textbooks at up to 90 percent off of their original list price found at campus bookstores. Plus, you have a 21-day refund guarantee that allows you to return your books for free in case you drop a class. At the end of the semester, you simply send back your books in any box with the prepaid shipping label provided by Chegg. And, if needed, you can always extend your rental.
18. Plastic Wrap
If you live in the UK, you might want to search for alternatives to plastic wrap. That’s because the government may end up banning it. Not to mention that many local authorities no longer accept plastic film in their curbside recycling collections, so much of it ends up in landfills. According to Good Housekeeping UK, ridding your kitchen of plastic wrap is much easier than you think. Here are some tips offered by the magazine:
-Wrap sandwiches in reusable covers
-Rethink how you store leftovers
-Use crockery to cover microwaved food
17. Pre-Cut Food
Did you know that pre-cut foods like cheese, fruits, vegetables and cured meats are often more expensive than when purchased whole and sliced at home? According to an article published by MSN, they can be as much as 40 percent more expensive. Yes, it’s convenient, but does it really make sense to pay more for a sliced version of the same product? MSN’s advice? “Produce is easy to find cheap, so don’t give into this supermarket ploy to get customers to spend more money on the same product.”
Diamonds may be a girl’s best friend, but they’re definitely not your wallet’s best friend. Some can sell for as much as 200 percent more–or even higher–than their wholesale price. Fortunately, there are some more wallet-friendly alternatives–and best of all, your girlfriend or wife may not even notice the difference!
–Moissanite stones give you all the brilliance of diamonds, but without the hefty price tag. Like most diamonds, moissanite stones are nearly colorless, not to mention they’re more durable and more resistant to abrasion than diamonds.
–Man-made diamonds, also known as white diamonds, are produced in a laboratory. But, don’t let that fool you. They’re just as real as mined diamonds. In fact, they’re physically and chemically identical. Plus, they generally cost 15 to 20 percent less. And, if you prefer colored diamonds, colored man-made diamonds can cost 80 to 90 percent less than minded colored diamonds.
15. Non-Stick Cookware
Non-stick cookware makes cooking and cleanup a cinch, but did you know that they could also be hazardous to your health? According to an article published by MSN, when non-stick pans are heated to very high temperatures, they release carcinogenic gases like tetrafluoroethylene and perfluorooctanoic acid. The good news is that the American Cancer Society says that the chemicals are not present in significant amounts. And, according to Scientific American, manufacturers of non-stick cookware have phased out the use of perfluorooctanoic acid. But, if you already own non-stick cookware and are still worried about possible health issues, cook your food on low temperatures instead.
We know Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and your sweetie is probably expecting to receive at least one of these flowers from you. But, did you know that florists and grocery stores mark up the price of roses around Valentine’s Day? Yep, that’s right. You could end up paying as much as $20 to $60 or more for roses that sell for $10 or less wholesale! FYI, you can save yourself a few bucks by buying locally grown flowers (most roses are imported from Colombia).
13. Products Containing Microbeads
Did you know that Barack Obama signed a bill in 2015 banning the sale and distribution of products containing microbeads? That’s because microbeads are made of plastic and are therefore hazardous to the environment. They often end up in our waterways, and marine life mistake them as food particles. At the time of the ban, researchers were looking into whether ingesting microbeads affects the health of marine life and if those effects are transferred to humans who consume those marine species later on.
12. Daily Coffee
Do you have any idea how much you spend on that daily cup of Joe? No? Well, here’s how much CNBC writer Shawn Carter found out he was spending on Starbucks: $2,300 annually! That could be you, too. If you tally the results, you’ll probably be very shocked. Here’s some advice: Skip the daily latte and purchase a coffee maker so you can brew your own coffee at home.
Psst, Starbucks sells bags of ground coffee. You can get it from Amazon or Walmart. A 12 oz. bag of Starbucks House Blend Ground Coffee from Walmart costs about $6.99.
11. Cable/Satellite TV
Ever since the conversion from analog to digital signal, many people have been forced to subscribe to paid services like cable or satellite for TV entertainment. But, most people nowadays don’t watch TV anyway, or at least not as much as they used to, so it’s not even worth it to pay a huge bill for something they hardly ever use. Fortunately, there are many streaming services that let you watch TV shows and movies for little or nothing. Yahoo View, for example, lets you watch and stream the latest episodes of current TV shows, movies, and documentaries for free online. For those of you who need your daily news fix, invest in an HDTV antenna–provided that you live in close range to a network station. It’ll only cost you the price of the antenna, plus you get to see your favorite shows that air on network television.
10. Bottled Water
Bottled water is healthier than tap water, right? WRONG! In fact, tap water is far more likely to be regulated by the authorities than bottled water. Not to mention that it’s cheaper as well. Plus, it’s more environmentally friendly. Of course there are times when it’s necessary to stock up on bottled water, like right before a natural disaster strikes. But, for general purposes, it just makes more sense to drink the water that comes straight from your faucet. Which is just exactly what you might be doing anyway since a large percentage of bottled water is just purified public water anyway.
It’s so much easier to just head out to your favorite restaurant real quick and grab a bite to eat before heading back to the office. It’s also more expensive. Our advice: brown bag it instead. But, if you insist on going out on your lunch break, at least take advantage of the restaurant’s lunch specials. You can get some pretty good deals that way since restaurants mark down prices to draw in crowds during the middle of the day.
8. Antibacterial Soap
Did you know that in 2016 the FDA ordered manufacturers to remove antibacterials from consumer soaps? Specifically triclosan and triclocarban, but other less commonly used antibacterials as well like benzalkonium chloride. That’s because not only do these soaps not work any better than traditional soap, the industry hasn’t proved their safe to use either. “Consumers may think antibacterial washes are more effective at preventing the spread of germs, but we have no scientific evidence that they are any better than plain soap and water,” the FDA said in an article published by NBC News. “In fact, some data suggests that antibacterial ingredients may do more harm than good over the long-term.”
According to researchers, multivitamins are a waste of money–at least when it comes to heart health. An article published by CBS News says that Americans spend over $20 billion a year on supplements, yet they do little in regards to heart health. “Americans who are taking these supplements presumably because they’re concerned about their health would be better served by spending their money on good nutrition in the form of a healthy diet,” Dr. Erin Michos, a cardiologist at Johns Hopkins University, told CBS News.
6. Brand Name Prescription Drugs
Why pay hundreds of dollars on brand name medications when you can get generic brands for about $4 at Walmart? In fact, a study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine found that Walmart’s $4 generic prescriptions beat Medicare’s co-pays 21 percent of the time. What’s more is that drug companies and pharmacies know that you end up paying more out of pocket when you use your health insurance than when you participate in Walmart’s generic plan, but many pharmacies have gag rules that prevent pharmacists from telling you that. Fortunately, if you want to know about these savings, all you have to do is ask.
5. Car Rental Insurance
According to an article published by MSN, car rental companies often try to sell you a temporary insurance policy that, believe it or not, can cost more than the rental itself! “These overpriced collision damage waivers are good for peace of mind, but it’s usually more cost-effective to rely on your own insurance,” the article said. And, even if you were to end up in a crash, you can always recover the funds paid for damages by filing a claim with your insurer.
Another option is to use your credit card. According to CNBC, many credit cards already offer rental car insurance. “All Visa and American Express cards provide a loss damage waiver (LDW) with coverage of $50,000 and in some cases more. This LDW coverage — sometimes called a collision damage waiver or an excess damage waiver — will allow you to avoid paying if your rental car is vandalized, stolen or damaged in an accident, though it won’t cover injuries to other parties or to you,” CNBC wrote on its website. “Gold, platinum, world and elite Mastercard credit cards also offer up to $50,000 LDW coverage.” Discover discontinued its LDW coverage last March.
4. Anything New
Well, not everything you buy should be used, but buying some things used can help you cut back on your spending. And, you can find some really good deals, too, on things like clothing, electronics, furniture, and automobiles. Take some time to check out Craigslist, eBay and Letgo, or schedule a shopping trip to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, or a local consignment shop or thrift store. Check out some garage sales, too, while you’re at it. You never know what treasures you might find!
3. Lottery Tickets
CNN reported in 2017 that Americans spent a total of $73.5 billion on traditional lottery tickets in 2016, according to the North American Association of State and Provincial Lotteries. Plus, they spent another 6.5 billion on electronic lottery games. That comes out to about $325 a year for every adult in the United States. That’s a lot of money spent–or should we say wasted–when your odds are something like one in a 100 million. And, if you play the lotto on a daily basis, you’re spending way more than that! Think about what you could do with all that money!
There is a good side to all of this, however. Victor Matheson, an economics professor at the College of Holy Cross, told CNN that of the $73.5 billion spent in 2016, about $16.7 billion went to education, $2.5 billion went into state general funds, $1.7 billion went to other government programs, and $1.3 billion was spent on social programs for the homeless, the elderly, and substance abuse treatment. Ironically, $20 million went toward state programs for people addicted to gambling.
2. “Pink Tax” Products
This category applies to the ladies only. For those of you who don’t know what a Pink Tax is it’s basically the difference in cost between products marketed to males versus those marketed to females. As it turns out, women pay more than men for personal care products, clothing, home health products, and other goods. In fact, one study found that women pay as much as 13 percent more for some goods.
Forbes did a little research of their own back in 2016 to find out who the biggest perpetrators of the Pink Tax were. Here’s what they found:
-Levis charged 29 percent more for women’s jeans.
-Target charged 87 percent more for a pink Raskullz toddler helmet.
-Walgreens charged 23 percent more for women’s Schick hydro cartridge razor refills and 35 percent less for men’s Alberto VO5 3-in-1 shampoo than the women’s Alberto VO5 2-in-1 shampoo.
1. Junk Food
Yes, we know it tastes good and is oh so irresistible. But, junk food does more harm than good. Not only does it mess with your blood sugar, blood pressure, cholesterol and other important health factors, it’s also linked to depression. According to Harvard University, recent studies show that diets high in sweets, red and/or processed meats, high-fat dairy products and refined grains are associated with an increased risk of depression, while diets high in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, whole grain, fish, antioxidants and low-fat dairy products are associated with a decreased risk of depression.
What are some things you’ve decided to give up in 2019? Let us know in the comment below. Thanks!