Special Report

25 Things You Should Never Buy and What to Buy Instead

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6. Disposable straws

In recent years, many restaurants have phased out disposable plastic straws in favor of more environmentally friendly options. Though they are small, Americans go through billions of these straws every week, and since they are not biodegradable, they simply sit in landfills or end up in oceans.

With plastic straws falling out of favor, many stores now carry glass or metal straws. If you like to use straws at home, these washable and reusable options should save you money long term.

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7. Pre-chopped produce

Grocery and convenience stores often offer pre-portioned and chopped produce like fruits and vegetables. While buying this produce may be slightly more convenient and save you a bit of time on chopping, it is probably not worth the extra money you will have to spend.

Food magazine Kitchn found that stores mark up pre-cut produce by an average of 40%. It is likely well worth the extra few minutes it takes to select and cut your own fruits and vegetables rather than buying the pre-portioned and packaged version.

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8. Paper plates

Like plastic straws, paper plates are meant to be thrown away after just one use. Though they are small and flat, they stack up over time and are not environmentally friendly. Despite being a paper product, these plates are not recyclable, as they are contaminated with food.

Aside from the environmental impact, single-use items are generally not a good investment when compared to reusable items. Investing in a good dinnerware set will likely only cost around $50, depending on where you shop, and will probably last years. But if you only use paper plates, you will have to keep buying them over and over again.

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9. New formalwear

When preparing for a big event like a wedding or senior prom, people want to look their best. Since it is a once-in-a-lifetime event, many brides and grooms are willing to spend top dollar on their dress, tuxedo, or other pieces of formalwear. But the reality is that you will likely only wear the formalwear once.

Men’s suits may be reusable for many occasions, but tuxedos are seldom used. For women, dress styles shift quickly, and there is virtually no event where you can reuse your wedding dress. For special occasions, renting formal wear or buying it used can look just as good at a fraction of the price.

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10. Name-brand OTC meds

Pharmacies carry over the counter medicine to alleviate allergies, cold and flu symptoms, aches and pains, digestive issues, and more. Generally, there are name brand medications that you might see advertisements for on TV, and right next to them are the generic brands.

Pharmacy chains make their own version of the name brand medication. These generic medicines have the same active ingredient, dosage, and safety profile, and they work equally as well. Typically, the only difference is the price — generics are much cheaper.

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