12 Common Items Too Many People Regret Buying

Before you buy these goods, make sure you won’t regret the decision.
Updated May 8, 2024
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You’ve probably experienced buyer’s remorse more than a few times during your shopping lifetime. It’s a common feeling, especially after making impulsive buys.

Regretting a $10 purchase isn’t so bad, but feeling remorse over buying something more expensive really stings. Imagine regretting spending $10,000 too much on a wedding while you're on your honeymoon.

To avoid wasting money, try to steer clear of the following purchases that can cause a lasting case of regret.

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jordi2r/Adobe apartments besides blue water in costa del sol spain

Purchasing a timeshare can easily lead to regret if you don’t fully understand the terms before signing the deal. Often, you’ll face expenses that go beyond the mortgage payment.

For example, many contracts require buyers to pay for special assessments, taxes, and more. Failing to pay these obligations can lead to foreclosure.

Timeshares are often difficult to sell. So, if you do invest in one, don’t expect a return on your money without a lot of effort — if you make a return at all.

Expensive weddings

Wollwerth Imagery/Adobe wedding reception tables with arrangements

Although your wedding is a major and memorable event, you might regret overspending on one that's over the top.

A study from The Knot revealed that American couples spent an average of $30,000 on their weddings (and receptions) in 2022. In major metropolitan areas like New York and Chicago, that number eclipsed $40,000.

To avoid future regret about spending that much, consider which aspects of your wedding are the most important to you and where you can save money.


Patryk Kosmider/Adobe yachts standing at canaria port in spain during day time

Buying a boat might seem like a good idea when you imagine yourself out on the open water. Before you splurge, however, you should consider how much you’ll actually use your boat.

Spending thousands — or tens of thousands — of dollars on something you’ll use a few times a year is likely to lead to regret.

Many people don’t realize how much it takes to maintain a boat once they’ve purchased one. Before buying, ask yourself if you’re willing to pay thousands of dollars every year to keep your boat in working order.

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Expensive cars

overrust/Adobe blue ford mustang standing in empty street

Too many people regret overspending on expensive cars. Purchasing a vehicle with features you’ll never use — or buying a car you'll drive only on special occasions — might make you wish you spent that money on something else.

Most cars lose value as they age. So if you want to sell a vehicle later, you can expect to lose money. Count on losing even more cash in interest on a large loan and in higher insurance costs.

It's important to really know how much you need a car before buying one. Even then, thinking through the way that you'll use your car can help save money as well. Most people don't need a brand new car, for example.

Lottery tickets

LIGHTFIELD STUDIOS/Adobe man and woman holding lottery tickets

Most people lose a lot more money than they ever win on lottery tickets. Spending $5 here and there might not seem like much at the time, but those costs add up.

If you normally don’t keep track of how much you're winning or losing, start now and see where your winnings stand.

Pro tip: If you need more money now, don’t buy a lottery ticket and hope for the best. Instead, consider other ways to earn extra income.

Big houses

pics721/Adobe victorian house during day time

Americans often think “bigger is better,” especially when buying a home. After all, you probably have plans for all those extra rooms.

But, like many Americans, you might wind up with space no one uses. That can lead to regrets over having bought more house than you really needed.

Purchasing a home is likely the largest investment you’ll make in your lifetime, and you could spend the next 30 or so years paying it off. Three decades is a long time to suffer buyer’s remorse.

A pool

Stock PK/Adobe elegant deck and swimming pool in luxurious home

Installing a pool is tempting, especially if you live in a warmer climate. Pools look nice, and you might imagine yourself or your guests enjoying the water.

But pools are expensive. With maintenance, utility, repair, and other costs, you'll likely spend thousands every year on your pool. Proper maintenance also takes time and labor.

If you don’t use your pool enough to justify the investment of money and time, you might regret having one.

Designer clothing

Marina Truskova/Adobe shot of wardrobe with ladies shirts

Designer clothing is expensive. If you need to dry clean those clothes, they become even more expensive.

You can avoid buyer’s remorse by asking yourself if the cost is worth the handful of times you’ll wear that designer label. The answer will be no for a lot of people. 

Exercise equipment

Kiattisak/Adobe young woman working out in gym

Losing weight and getting fit are popular New Year’s resolutions. Buying home gym equipment is a great idea if you use it on a regular basis. But if you don’t, you’ll probably regret the purchase.

Some exercise equipment is costly, running thousands of dollars. Exercise equipment also takes up a lot of space, is often heavy, and can be a pain to maintain.

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Low-quality furniture

Pixel-Shot/Adobe elegant lounge with sitting area in grey color

Some people purchase cheap furniture because of the smaller price tag. But buying furniture that won't last only results in spending even more money in the long run.

After all, you'll face costs when repairing or replacing cheap furniture when it wears out or breaks down.

Disposing of furniture isn’t usually free, either. You might spend $100 or $200 having a sofa removed. You’ll also face expenses if you decide to take furniture to the landfill yourself.

Cheap utensils

kostikovanata/Adobe A woman grabs a fork from the utensil drawer.

It can seem wasteful or even vain to spend top dollar on cutlery. It gets food from the plate to your mouth — why pay upwards of $50 for such simple tools?

So you buy the cheapest box set of utensils, and then one of your spoons bends in a tub of ice cream. Your fork snaps holding down a tough steak. Your knives can't cut wet napkins.

Investing in durable, stainless steel cutlery allows you to do exactly what you thought was a given: buy it, use it, and never think about it.

Incandescent lightbulbs

Agnieszka/Adobe String lights in a backyard

Another product people might skimp on is lightbulbs. Opting for LED bulbs can seem gratuitous when the incandescent versions are cheaper and do the same job. The problem is, that incandescent light bulbs do the job worse — and it costs you.

LED lighting saves the average U.S. household $225 in electricity costs every year, according to the Department of Energy. The bulbs are safer, use a sliver of energy, and last 25 times longer than their old-fashioned counterparts.

Bottom line

StratfordProductions/Adobe happy african american women holding card and smartphone in hands

A bad case of buyer’s remorse can cause angst that haunts you for a long time. A good way to avoid such regret is to weigh the pros and cons before making a purchase.

It’s especially important to research more expensive items so that you fully understand the costs and risks involved. If you don’t put a lot of thought into purchases, you might soon regret them.

So crush your debt tied to old purchases you regret and take steps so you don’t make the same mistakes in the future.

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Author Details

Katelyn Washington Katelyn Washington is a writer with a passion for finance and business. She put herself through business school as a single mother of three and has had pieces commissioned by national magazines. When she’s not writing, she enjoys spending time with her family and editing manuscripts for indie authors.

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