12 Things I Will Never Spend A Dime On

by golbguru on August 16, 2007

Here is a list of 12 random things (popular or not) that will never find a place on my shopping list.

neon car lights1. Neon Lights Under the Car: Yeah, what? $199.95 for lighting up the underside of the car? Now, as frivolous as it may sound to me, I have seen more than a dozen cars in our small town with these lights. You seriously need to have an absolute dearth of ideas about where to waste your excess money in order to buy this stuff.

Sometime in the past, we were driving behind a Camaro that had some neon lights underneath it. My wife noticed it and asked me:

Why does that car have lights under it?

I still don’t have a good answer for that question, except “to show-off to people who care about lights under a car“.

gillette fusion power2. Gillette Fusion Power: I wrote about this a long time ago, but it fits this list so let me mention it here. I haven’t understood why anyone needs an “onboard microchip” in a shaving razor. The razor body in itself is not very expensive (about $12 on Amazon), but the cartridges are a rip-off ($18 - listed as $29.99 on Amazon - for a pack of 8). It has some pretty useless features like this one:

Enhanced indicator Lubrastrip signals when it’s time to change the blade.

The time to change the blade is when it doesn’t shave properly - that shouldn’t need “enhanced indicator signals”.

electric toothbrush ?3. Electric Toothbrush: I think people are going nuts in trying to make everything “electric” and automatic - either that, or we are forgetting how to do things manually - simple things like brushing our teeth. Here is some information on how to brush your teeth properly:

Generally, most dentists recommend a circular technique for brushing. This includes brushing only a small group of teeth at a time and gradually covering the entire mouth. To properly brush your teeth, use short, gentle strokes, paying extra attention to the gum line, hard-to-reach back teeth and areas around fillings, crowns or other restoration. (source: How to Brush Teeth Properly)

Now, why does anyone require a $129 $119 electric toothbrush to do that? Is this 2-minute activity becoming so laborious for us?

office space printer getting what it deserves4. Color Inkjet Printer: These things are .. well, horrible. In general, printers must be holding some kind of a record for being the least reliable of all electronic products. “PC load letter” must be the most hated term in the office world (remember those guys in the movie Office Space? - I seriously feel like giving that kind of treatment to many printers).

Regarding inkjet printers, if you use them too much, the replacement cartridges will cost you an arm (and a leg) and if don’t use them regularly, the ink is going to dry up in a while and you will eventually end up replacing the cartridges. It’s a loss-loss situation with these printers.

Also, in the last 4~5 years, I have probably “needed” color printouts for like 2 times (totaling about 10 pages). Heading over to Kinko’s works out pretty economical for such needs.

For printed photographs, now-a-days you can get them delivered to your home for about $0.11 to $0.15 each (regular 4″ x 6″ photos). You can use any of such numerous websites for that purpose.

iphone-att personal-finance5. iPhone: $499 (4 GB) and $599 (8 GB)? Give me a break - it’s supposed to be a phone. I don’t want the internet in my pocket, and I don’t want the talk to my friends while I am listening to Aerosmith, and I don’t want to type a boatload of text with my thumb. The only free time I have to indulge in activities like watch movies, surf the net, etc., is when I am at home - and have access to other time-wasting products (like a TV and a computer) to do those things, so I don’t see the utility of a $599 gadget for doing that.

Plus, from my personal experience, I won’t hesitate to say that AT&T sucks - big time. I must have spent 238536 hours of my life trying to get due credit on billing errors on our AT&T phone bills in the past. A 2-year contract with these people is just out of question.

I just need something that allows me talk with the person on the other end without any distractions (like dropped calls, horrible receptions, etc) and I don’t need $499 to pay for that. Come to think of it, you can get two Wii consoles in that kind of money!

In fact, with the availability of some good free phones (or phones with negative price), any cell phone deal that costs more than $10 ~$15 for the instrument seems like a bad deal to me.

GPS unit6. GPS Navigation Unit: It’s not like I drive regularly in the tropical rain forest region or the Siberian wilderness - the places where I drive to are well documented on all paper maps and there are easy to read directions on roads all over the country (except in New Jersey). So yeah, I won’t be spending a few hundred dollars on this electronic doodad as long as $6 paper maps are doing the job.

Also, I have a theory (based on observing a few people) - those who have a hard time finding roads using maps also have a hard time using the GPS technology effectively. Technology cannot solve problems created by lack of attention, lack of planning, and general panic.

memory foam7. “Memory Foam” Mattresses: Take a look at this price for a queen sized memory foam mattress. $5,799! are you kidding me? How can people get peaceful sleep after spending so much money on a mattress? (of course, there are cheaper ones available - I am just giving an example)
Here is a typical sales pitch for such ridiculously expensive products:

By purchasing a memory foam mattress, you aren’t paying money for a mattress. You’re paying money for your health. You’re investing money into your better sleep and less back pain in the morning. So tell me, is it worth risking your health by purchasing a cheap crap in this case? Definitely not.

I love these sleazy marketing tactics: create buzzwords –> make up stories –> create unnecessary health concerns –> rope in suckers.

There must be a few genuine products in this memory foam business, but now-a-days, every Tom, Dick, and Harry is using that term “memory foam” and it’s becoming difficult to spot the good from the bad.

incandescent light bulbs8. Regular Incandescent Bulbs: Done with those filament light bulbs already. Will never buy one in future. These bulbs are not very economical in the long run - neither for your wallet nor for the environment. Plus, I am not a great fan of the yellow “soft white” light.

cell phone booster9. Cell Phone Signal Booster Stickers: The concept sounds like scam and probably is a scam. Read more about it here. If it were so easy, cell phones would have come with these stickers built-in. If you search Google for these things, you will come across a lot of “positive” reviews. Seems to me like the signal booster sticker interferes with psychology in certain instances - “I have paid money for this stuff, and hence it must be working” type of mindset.

radar detector10. Radar Detectors: Fancy detectors ones can lighten your wallet by as much as $400+. How about driving within speed limits instead? that doesn’t cost a penny and it is completely stress free. If you think you will save a lot of time by driving fast, read this and think again.

geeksquad personal-finance11. Services by Best Buy’s GeekSquad: Take a look at these prices and services. I am pretty sure these guys target some old people (or the absolutely ignorant) who hit the monitor when their computer slows down. Come on, $249 for installing Windows?

Operating System Upgrade
Professional installation of the latest version of Microsoft Windows that best suits your needs. Software not included.
In store: $129
In home: $249

A couple of hundred more bucks and you will be able to buy a brand new computer.

12. Two Way Pet Communication Device: This $199+ gadget is not a conventional item, but I found it pretty funny, so I included it in this list. Just read this list of “features”:

  • pet communication Speak to Your Pet up to 12 Miles*
  • Collar & Harness available for Cats & Dogs
  • Control up to 14 Pets with one Radio
  • “Call Owner” Button
  • LED Lights with 2 Mile visibility
  • Lol.. things are out of control here. :)

    By the way, this whole SkyMall shop is full of such fancy stuff. Does anyone ever buy products from these people?

    There are many other funny/interesting (and pretty much useless) things (for example) out there, but for now this is enough from my side. Feel free to share things on your must-not-buy list.

    Image sources: www.andysautosport.com, www.worldnetdaily.com, www.become.com, blog.scifi.com, www.gadgetell.com, images.amazon.com, www.lolkeegan.com, shopping.com, askbobrankin.com, k43.pbase.com

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    { 92 comments… read them below or add one }

    1 KMC 08.16.07 at 5:54 am

    Just two comments.

    I shave with a big old stainless steel safety razor (like they used in the 50’s) and it works great. Oh, and it has one blade.

    Also, I love your theory about programming the GPS and reading maps. Too true.

    Thanks for the list and the laugh.

    2 Jon 08.16.07 at 6:02 am

    The only one in the list I have is a GPS device. It is a hand-held one that I use for geocaching and backpacking when I don’t have time to get a paper topographical map before going.

    3 joewatch 08.16.07 at 6:17 am

    Well, I have to disagree with you on 2 things. I have a GPS (Tomtom Go), and it has been life-changing. I used to get seriously lost all of the time, which made me afraid to visit people and places. Since getting GPS, I no longer have that fear. Have you ever been dumped off of a major road because of construction or an accident, then realize you have no idea where you are going? GPS fixes that problem. I love GPS so much, I bring it with me to use on trips if I’m, renting a car.

    The other is memory foam mattresses. You can buy these for $700 at Costco. They sell them compressed in a medium-sized box, so you don’t have to pay for delivery. So the price isn’t any more than a regular mattress.

    I agree that the rest of the stuff is a waste of money, but I can see that a lot of people aren’t going to have any choice other than a service like Geek Squad to install new software, set up wireless internet, etc. I know from personal experience that it can take hours to work out all of the bugs sometimes.

    4 BAMAToNE 08.16.07 at 6:27 am

    2) The worst part is you can only get 3-4 shaves out of those razors… if you’re lucky. I use a Mach 3 (best razor I’ve ever tried), but even that one doesn’t last very long. And yes, those cartridges are hella expensive, too. (Good thing I shave only once a week on average.)

    3) I think it really depends on what kind of electric toothbrush you get. My dad sent me an article or two once that suggested these things really do a much better job of brushing than the average person does manually. That said, I have always been of the same general mindset of you: “Wtf, you can’t brush your own teeth anymore?” I’m pretty sure I’m using a Crest SpinBrush right now - kind of a mix of automatic and manual. :P

    5) Absofrigginlutely. I and I loooove that picture of the ball and chain AT&T logo. What a loser company. Seen this?

    http://www.usatoday.com/tech/wireless/phones/2007-08-14-iphone-bill_N.htm

    6) The only thing about the GPS thing I think you’re missing is the advantage of being able to navigate a complicated city by yourself. If you have a navigator (passenger) with you, it’s no big deal. But it’s nearly impossible to be looking at a map and back at road signs and traffic all at the same time. Being able to glance at the GPS map while driving could be invaluable to some people. And let’s face it, studying a paper map for 20 minutes before you leave will not prepare you for a city like Chicago, etc. (That said, I don’t own one either, nor do I plan to own one.)

    9) I got one free with an eBay purchase once so decided to try it out. Waste of time. (Just like I figured it would be anyway.)

    Good list!

    5 girl150 08.16.07 at 6:49 am

    #7 - We bought a foam mattress, and love it. (We also didn’t pay what you’ve quoted.) It can be invaluable to the marriage. :o)

    #8 - Beware: apparently there’s trouble disposing of CFLs. Due to their chemicals, they can’t be haplessly put in landfills (http://www.epa.state.oh.us/pic/cfl_info.html#dispose).

    6 Mike 08.16.07 at 7:23 am

    #3) I have a Sonicare. I love it. It brushes my teeth better than any manual toothbrush I have ever used. My nephews each have a $15 spinning toothbrush that works off an AA battery. It doesn’t work at all. I think if you commit to invest in, and use, a *good* electric toothbrush, you will notice a difference at the dentist’s office.

    #6) I also have a GPS in my car, and I love it. I have a great sense of direction, and I never used to get lost, but the GPS shows me shortcuts I would have never thought of. I agree, though, that if you have no basic map reading skills, it will be of very little use.

    Maybe I’m just justifying my unnecessary purchases, but I really do like my toothbrush and GPS unit.

    7 John Jay 08.16.07 at 7:41 am

    A few words…

    The business models for most razors and printers are the same- “give away the blade/printer, sell the cartridges for an insane markup”. I use the cheapest disposable razors I can find (1980s 2-blade technology!) and they work great.

    For a printer (which happens to be a color ink jet, though I admit that I print in color perhaps thrice a year), I use one recommended by Consumer Reports for low ink costs; I’ve calculated that I pay around a nickel a page to print, including paper cost; it helps that my printer is set up by default to print on both sides of the page (which it can do).

    Note that cheaper printers tend to have very high ink costs, eg a dirt-cheap $80 Lexmark printer uses $30-$40 ink cartridges. If you’re going to play this game you might want to refill your own carts, hmm…

    I use an electric toothbrush and enjoy it, but it was a gift. It it were to quit on me, I wouldn’t spend $100 to replace it. It uses the same business model as most printers and razors (though they actually make you pay an outrageous price for the initial gadget); a cheap replacement head sets me back $8.

    8 Jeff 08.16.07 at 7:54 am

    Unfortunately, I have been duped into buying something from SkyMall. It was overpriced and cheaply made. Boy did I learn my lesson!

    9 Own Your Own Decisions 08.16.07 at 8:31 am

    Great post, I couldn’t agree with you more, except on the electric toothbrush, which I always disdained until I got one, and now I absolutely love it. Of course, I am probably invested in liking it since I spent so much money on it.

    -zot

    10 Kitty 08.16.07 at 8:38 am

    About electic toothbrushes.
    I also use Sonicare as one of the posters above. It was first recommended to me by my periodontist. He told me it uses sound waves to break down plaque under the gums where the regular toothbrush doesn’t reach. After I started using it, hygienists that do professional cleaning always commented on how much less plaque I get. One even asked me if I were using Sonicare, and then told me that it shows.

    I think if you are gums are good, you may not needed it. But if you are prone to periodontal desease, it makes sense.

    Agree about most other stuff. I do still have some regular bulbs for cosmetic purposes (e.g. I have a chandelier where I need small round bulbs).

    11 Baz L 08.16.07 at 9:31 am

    You don’t NEED any of these things, but a couple of them are reasonable.

    3. Don’t knock the toothbrush man. Some work better than a manual brush ever can. I’m not talking about the cheap ones that just pretend to brush for you. I’m talking about those that vibrate while between the teeth and help remove plaque.

    6. I’m currently saving up to get myself a GPS for Xmas. Most likely it may be a used one off of ebay. But have you ever tried driving downtown Dallas? With/Without map it’s hellish, even with a navigator in the passenger seat. I’m frequently on my own and a LOT of the time, you just can’t pull over to read a map. Eg. on the highway at night. I really don’t feel comfortable on the side of the highway with huge trucks wizzing by at 10:00 PM on my left, and endless darkness on my right. Or even in some dark parking lot for that matter. Right now, my travels are restricted to specific points where I can get directions before hand. But I would like a bit more freedom.

    Baz L
    Day In The Life of Baz
    http://www.LifeOfBaz.com/

    12 steve 08.16.07 at 9:37 am

    great list - but here is my two sense.
    Tooth brushes - while i usually grab my trusty manual brand, the Sonic Care brush we have is incredible, the sonic technology with little bubbles has long been used to clean jewelry, then window mini blinds and works great for all the hiding places in your mouth. As someone who is about to spend more money on poorly managed teeth as a youngster this is not a place to skimp - so brush really well for three minutes morning and night - floss and rinse with listerine, and my opinion - if you can afford it - try Sonic care (no opinion on the simple moving head brands.

    #2 - bed - 1/3 of our lives in bed. Give yourself a few more years and the pain or comfort of a limp or solid mattress will become evident. We have always found the money for a good mattress - with a 20 year warranty. Even $6k divided by 480 months isn’t a bad investment in good sleep. We gave up our futon many years ago after learning that to keep it lofty we needed to lift and drop all four corners each morning -a little too high maintenance for a mattress!
    Our Temperpedic memory foam is amazing in this one thing - I fall asleep and wake up in exactly the same position! - that may sound silly to you but is a real indication of a good nights sleep.

    13 Leadhyena 08.16.07 at 9:39 am

    The only thing I have to comment on is the necessity of color printouts. Programmers like myself are sold on the necessity of syntax highlighting, and if you need to print out a segment of code as an example of good idiom, it’s best if the code is syntax colored. I agree that inkjets are a scam; the razor blade economy is taken to its natural and expensive conclusion. However, until color laser printers are cheap enough to buy, I’ll stay with my existing inkjet.

    It scares me though that my aging printer is now on par with Strongbad’s.

    14 Meagan 08.16.07 at 9:52 am

    About toothbrushes. I have a electric one from Crest that set me back a whopping $6. My teeth feel cleaner using it. I guess it’s probably a manual/electric combo, but you definitely don’t need to spend $100 on an electric toothbrush.

    15 Tim 08.16.07 at 11:01 am

    electric toothbrushes do a better job. we use oral-b

    although i don’t have gps, they do come in handy for people on the go who travel frequently.

    mattresses…well, we are planning on going to tempurpedic as well.

    razors, i agree. i too use the DE safety razor. shaves better than those disposables and has lower cost in the long run. use good shaving cream or shaving soap (not those canned foams or gels).

    16 Big 08.16.07 at 11:38 am

    Great call on the Office Space Quote! Hilarious.

    17 devil 08.16.07 at 12:24 pm

    Yeah, any service from Best Buy is a rip off. We purchased extended service on one item years ago - total waste of money as Best Buy does NOT stand by their merchandise. I certainly wouldn’t trust their Geek Squad.

    We need a GPS unit for our small airplane. It’s been worth every penny for that extra peace of mind up there.

    Radar detectors ARE a scam. My FIL is a retired traffic cop and ticketed drivers with radar detectors all the time. Boy, would they get mad when they realized they’d wasted their money on the detector AND had to pay the speeding fine.

    18 John Jay 08.16.07 at 1:25 pm

    There is a HILARIOUS Sky Mall parody, called SkyMaul (with a “U”). The Amazon link for it is here: link

    The tagline is “Happy Crap You Can Buy From a Plane”.

    It’s worth getting from the library (or requesting that your library add to its collection). Enjoy your llama cycle!

    19 R 08.16.07 at 2:16 pm

    Sonicare is worth it. My story is very like those mentioned above: it was recommended by my dentist, I read up on the actual research and was (to my surprise) persuaded, and since getting and using it I’ve had no cavities and much better reports from my dentist.

    20 Christy 08.16.07 at 2:32 pm

    I respect the list, but I agree with the other posters about the electric toothbrush and the GPS. Thought I’d throw out another perspective.

    I was skeptical until I actually used an electric toothbrush, but now my teeth just feel so much cleaner — to me it’s worth it. I don’t recall the price but it wasn’t anywhere near $129. As for the GPS… I knew it was a luxury item but I’ve just moved to Seattle and it’s impossible to drive somewhere then return the same way. Freeway onramps, for example, aren’t intuitive. I’ve printed out many pages of directions and bought map books, but it’s such a pain, especially when I’m driving by myself trying to balance a Google maps printout on my lap.

    It’s possible I am just more directionally challenged than most of the population, but
    I like to think my GPS pays for itself in all the time I save.

    21 Patrick 08.16.07 at 3:27 pm

    - I use the Mach 3. I love the razor, hate the price of blades. I have thought about going to the one-blade safety razor, but what I have works well.

    - GPS. I don’t have it, but I wouldn’t be opposed to having one someday, depending on how often I drive in unfamiliar places. They are useful if you know how to use it. (also for the guy that hikes a lot!)

    - Office Space. What a great movie! :)

    22 Steve Austin 08.16.07 at 3:45 pm

    razor: shaving cream is a related expense that can be dropped — just lube face w/ bar soap

    toothbrush: electric brush users are missing out on the therapeutic circular brushing motion (great for your fingers, wrists, arms, particularly if you train yourself to go ambidextrous — heavy computer users should not give up the manual brushing)

    2-way pet comms: that is the scariest lookin’ kitten face I’ve ever seen

    23 Steve Austin 08.16.07 at 3:46 pm

    inkjet printers: look into toner refill kits as a way to save coin on new cartridges.

    24 justin 08.16.07 at 5:35 pm

    Toothbrush. Sonicare cleans much better than a manual brush ever can. Teeth feel clean.

    GPS: Travelling on an unknown interstate in an unfamiliar area of the country, the road is closed up ahead. Route around with a GPS instantly. Or, you are running low on gas, find a route to the nearest station instantly. That’s above navigating downtowns with one ways and tricks that a map can’t tell you quickly or easily.

    25 Chief Family Officer 08.16.07 at 7:11 pm

    Like many other commenters said, Sonic Care is great. I got it to whiten my teeth painlessly and relatively inexpensively before my wedding (it works for a few shades) and it’s also improved my gums tremendously. Dentist visits have been a LOT less painful because of it.

    Oh, and at least in California, the neon lights are illegal. (But street racers love ‘em.)

    26 Art Dinkin 08.16.07 at 8:43 pm

    I have to agree, I have an electric Oral B toothbrush which my dentist sold me … at cost. She likes them so much she became a distributor and sells them without making a dime. I think mine cost $18.

    27 golbguru 08.16.07 at 10:45 pm

    Man.. manual brushing of teeth seems to be a less popular activity than I imagined. :) I will take solace in Steve Austin’s (funny?) remarks till I eat my words on electric toothbrushes:

    electric brush users are missing out on the therapeutic circular brushing motion (great for your fingers, wrists, arms, particularly if you train yourself to go ambidextrous — heavy computer users should not give up the manual brushing)

    girl150: “Beware: apparently there’s trouble disposing of CFLs. Due to their chemicals, they can’t be haplessly put in landfills” - I addressed that issue here:
    Things You Should Know About Mercury in CF Light Bulbs

    28 sfordinarygirl 08.16.07 at 11:38 pm

    I sat in my friend’s car who uses a GPS system because she’s a nervous wreck on the road with directions. She needs to know when to turn in advance without having to look for the map or papers. It’s especially great in LA when you’ve got back to back traffic and you need to be somewhere fast. It’s a lifesaver!

    I’m gonna disagree with the electric toothbrush. Maybe it’s because I did such a terrible job brushing as a kid but the electric toothbrush seems to clean those hard-to-reach areas and it goes the extra mile for your gums. And it’s nice to have that fuzzy feeling on your teeth. It’s kind of like being shocked.

    29 Jonathan 08.17.07 at 1:40 am

    I must join the electric toothbrush party. We never actually spent anything for it (wedding gift), but we like it a lot. I think it does clean the teeth mo’ better. I also spend extra for the nice floss.

    Luxury for the teeth!

    30 madisongrrl 08.17.07 at 5:56 am

    I’m going to have to disagree about the electric toothbrush. Many dentists recommend them over manual toothbrushing. Electric toothbrushes do a better job at cleaning your teeth and they don’t recede your gum lines (which manual toothbrushing has done to my gums) like manual toothbrushing can. The Sonicare electric toothbrush is what I use and they are the brand that is highly recommended.

    31 Laura 08.17.07 at 6:23 am

    I actually bought something from SkyMall, but I have a good excuse! I ordered a personalized print for my fiance (a picture of the Yankees locker room with his last name on one of the jerseys… silly, but he loved it). The only other place I could find it was a website called Personalization Mall, and when I accounted for matting and shipping, SkyMall was the better deal. I did get a nice frame at a local craft store and save a bundle, though…

    32 razmaspaz 08.17.07 at 6:25 am

    OK,
    I totally have to call you out on the toothbrush. First of all I own an electric toothbrush that I paid $6.99 for. Crest makes it, and it sells at Wal-Mart right next to the other toothbrushes. The refills don’t cost anymore than a standard toothbrush. I used the electric toothbrush for a while (I stopped because the batteries died, and I got a new toothbrush from my dentist). While I was using it my teeth were noticeably cleaner. This isn’t about laziness, this is about cleanliness. I did just as much work with the electric as the manual. Thing is, after the same amount of work, my teeth were cleaner. In fact, I’m putting new batteries back in the electric, and using it again starting tonight.

    33 knabar 08.17.07 at 6:32 am

    I have to agree with most comments regarding electric toothbrushes. I destroyed my gums with a regular one and have been doing much better since getting an electric one. Perhaps I’m just too incompetent to use a regular one.

    34 golbguru 08.17.07 at 6:43 am

    The electric toothbrush brigade is growing :) and I am feeling like a caveman.

    Is there ANYONE who brushes his/her teeth with a normal toothbrush?

    Also, don’t get too hung up on the price references I have used - they are for specific products (not representative of a family of products), so you might be using cheaper (or more expensive) versions.

    35 Justin 08.17.07 at 6:49 am

    Maybe you should try one of the Sonicares and see the difference. You do actually brush your teeth manually, however the vibrating brush makes a huge difference. The differences between it and a regular toothbrush, which I use when in a hurry, the Sonicare takes the solid 2 minutes.

    36 Angela 08.17.07 at 7:02 am

    I think neon car lights for under your car are illegal here, as well as radar detectors. As for Geek Squad, my computer guy works out of his house, fixes your computer in 30 minutes or less and charges $20 to $50 depending on the service. You’re much better off finding a real geek.

    37 dimes 08.17.07 at 7:08 am

    In VA, like some other states, the neon lights below the car are illegal.
    My in-laws have one of those $500 GPS things, and it works fine… until you make a wrong turn. Then it gets LOST for as much as several minutes before it recalculates your route. This isn’t a problem with a paper map.

    38 Gina 08.17.07 at 9:20 am

    Lordy, people are hilarious in what they can be sold on as ‘better’. Have you seen the ‘upgrade your toilet paper commercial’? We can be convinced of anything. I use the FREE toothbrush that I get at the dentist. Works just fine if you use it properly.

    What I would never spend money on:
    -testicle implants for your neutered dog
    -sales fees on mutual funds
    -stainless steel appliances

    39 Kristi 08.17.07 at 10:29 am

    A Sonicare toothbrush loosens the plaque underneath your gums and between your teeth that your regular toothbrush or floss can’t reach. You can get one for $80 on sale oftentimes and that is less than the price of a filling, let alone dentures down the road. Simple toothbrushes do not do the job as well, which is why we see people who have regularly brushed and flossed getting cavities, root canals, dentures, and especially gingivitis.

    It’s a small investment that will potentially save you lots of money.

    40 Dave 08.17.07 at 12:14 pm

    4: Ok, please tell me where you can get a B&W printer for home use that is cheaper than the color inkjets. Printers these days are essentially free (which is probably why they break so much and the ink is so expensive). I’d probably do fine without the color printing too, but B&W printers don’t exist anymore (unless you want to shell out for a laser printer).

    5: If you don’t see the point of doing all that the iPhone can do, clearly you are not the intended audience for this product. I assure you, plenty of us will be happy to take yours instead.

    10: Disagree. You don’t need to spend $400 for a radar detector. I got mine for $99 (less than the cost of one speeding ticket) and it still works fine 5 years later. It’s saved me from more than one ticket in that time frame, so it’s paid for itself multiple times over.

    11: Totally with you on this one. Call up your nephew (or your froend’s nephew) who’s a CS major and offer to buy him dinner if he’ll install your new software. Problem solved.

    41 golbguru 08.17.07 at 12:45 pm

    Dave: Sure, B&W laser printers will turn out to be cheaper in the long run if you are looking for B&W jobs only. And yeah, you get some of them for free - but that’s the point I am making - I won’t spend my own money on one of those things. :)

    @ iPhone: Of course, I am not the intended audience for the product. In fact I am not the intended audience for all the listed products - well, that’s the idea behind the post. The title says ” I will never spend a dime on” - that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t too. I am sure iPhone users can write multi-page essays on why they think the phone is awesome - but it doesn’t change the fact that I won’t pay a dime for it. :)

    @Radar detector: Agreed, people can get them for cheap. I just gave an example price. If a product exists at that price, it means there is some market for it, right? That means someone must buying it to avoid tickets. You didn’t buy it, but people do.

    @Software - well, since you agree with me there, I will spare you the pain of an elaborate explanation. :)

    The comments really turned out to be fun in this post. I enjoyed reading them all.

    I would encourage you all to make your own list of things that you will never buy. It would be interesting to cross-check our “needs”.

    Maybe we get sold on the products first - and then create the “need” to justify the purchase. I have my own bag of temptations in this matter, but that’s a story for some other time.

    42 Steve Austin 08.17.07 at 12:51 pm

    madisongrrl, manual brushing recedes your gums if you do it wrong — 5 or so years ago, my dentist informed me of this and since then my (correct) circular motion manual brushing has caused me no gum problems.

    golbguru, I wasn’t joking w/ my prior comments, I really am a manual brusher. an electric toothbrush is just another convenience appliance that costs more money, takes up more space, and is heavier when you pack it for travel.

    43 golbguru 08.17.07 at 1:08 pm

    Steve: Glad to know there is someone on my side of the table. About “manual brushing recedes your gums if you do it wrong” - that’s what I was thinking. Perhaps incorrect technique has been masked by the “better” results with the electric version.

    @ your earlier comment: I thought you were rubbing it in to a caveman. ;)

    44 threedotinc 08.17.07 at 3:55 pm

    Great and hilarious post. Where did you find some of that stuff! Good one.

    45 Liz 08.18.07 at 1:22 am

    Thanks for this-it really made me laugh! Sorry I’m also on the other side of the toothbrush question. The dentist recommended it to my husband and me, and together we spent $50 on two. If it will help my teeth and gums, I’ll do it. Now that your comments have taught me about sonicare I’ll be looking into that lol.

    46 Jenners 08.18.07 at 5:38 am

    CFLs may be saving the environment (except that the contributor is correct in that they have to be disposed of carefully) but they are playing havoc with my wallet. What do they promise? 8000 hours or so? I replace each one at least twice/year, sometimes more, even tho they are only lit 4-6 hours/day. I may be saving on electricity, but I am enriching the CFL manufacturer big time.

    47 Eileen 08.18.07 at 6:01 am

    Respectfully but STRONGLY disagree about the GPS and take slight offense that you blow off the need to “poor planning.” I am not gifted with a sense of direction. I would spend HOURS pouring over maps and typically if at all possible I would make “dry run trips” to a new destination the day before, and I would still struggle. Roads are unpredictable and often your preplanned route gets trashed by some unplanned calamity. Once I got detoured due to a flood and got badly lost in a dangerous area. If you are alone in a car it is totally impossible to safely refer to written directions. Pre GPS my fears of directions lead me to decline opportunities social and professional because I worried about getting there. My GPS paid for itself very quickly. Peace of mind is priceless. No more double trips because I don’t need dry runs–saves a lot of gas. Immediate correction if I get veered off the planned route, saves a lot more gas. I who worried about driving a couple of states away recently successsfully accepted an important business opportunity that required a visit to a city about 4 hours away and it went flawlessly. I’ll never again be without a GPS. This is not a video game to me, this is practically a survival tool.

    48 Deila 08.18.07 at 6:49 am

    As I’ve read, I find that the majority of the posters are confusing ELECTRIC toothbrushes with SONIC toothbrushes, which are completely different things. The electric toothbrush basically just makes movements which replicate brushing your teeth. A SONIC toothbrush creates ‘waves’ that loosen plaque… but you are still required to make all the brushing movements yourself.

    I personally own an Oral-B Sonic Complete, given to me by my dentist, which will ‘vibrate’ every 30 seconds to let you know to move on to the next section of your mouth, then gives you a ‘vibrating signal’ when you’ve brushed for two minutes. Since the toothbrush is only sending off sonic ‘waves’ and not moving, I am still brushing manually.

    As for the GPS system, I would have to say that it is worth it for 1. People who travel cross country (like my mother) and 2. People in a metro area with weird highways, byways and signs.

    49 michael 08.18.07 at 7:05 am

    GPS is totally worth it.

    GPS saves time and DOES solve problems created by:

    “lack of attention, lack of planning, and general panic.”

    50 walman 08.18.07 at 7:47 am

    I appreciate the part about the cellphone signal booster stickers. They are scams alright and i wouldn’t part with my money over such marketing gimmicks.

    Very often, when a lot of people are in a frenzy over a particular product, it is difficult for the average consumers to know if the product is really worth the money we are paying for.

    51 MC 08.18.07 at 8:39 am

    I don’t know what “BAMAToNE” is smoking, but those 5 bladed Fusion razors last a long, long, long time. If he says 3-4 shaves, he must mean his annual Grizzly Adams shave. I’ve never had a razor last as long as those. I bet he claims to be able to hear a substantial difference between 320bit and 240bit encoded MP3’s, too. Uh-huh.

    I don’t know that it’s in the “money saving” range of longevity, but it’s a smooth shave (at least as good, and probably better than a Mach 3), and lasts so much longer it’s just crazy.

    52 golbguru 08.18.07 at 10:46 am

    Is it remotely possible that people “need” GPS because they have not really put in the time and patience in understanding how to read maps?

    I can understand the need for it when “spontaneous driving” is your normal mode of driving, or when geocaching is your hobby. For other modes of driving, all it takes is a few minutes on the computer to study your destination - and a paper map to help you just in case. Plus, there are phones and people who answer your phone calls to help you reach your destination.

    Another tool that has been a great help for driving into unknown areas is Google Earth. Do any of you use Google Earth as a pre-driving navigation tool? It’s a great supplement to simple driving directions.

    On a long-time perspective, I wonder what will happen to our map reading skills say 10~15 years from now. :) At present, I don’t see students navigating around our campus with GPS units, but I won’t be surprised to find some in years to come. ;)

    53 Eileen 08.18.07 at 11:04 am

    Golbguru, you must live in a nice country where preplanning is all you need, or else you have 6 pairs of eyes and 4 pairs of hand, plus an unboard internet connect to check google earth (which is, by the way GPS). I guess you never have detours either. I know my state NJ, is one of the worst for marking routes. But I have found it is also foolish to believe that all or even most people at my intended destination, know how to help me get there. May be true if you are going to someone’s home, but rarely true going to a business, where the usual answer is, “gee, I don’t know, I only know how to get here from my place.”
    If you don’t “need” it, more power to you. But it is quite arrogant of you to keep taking jabs at people’s map reading skills. For my part, I would rather NOT be behind you with your superior map reading skills as you are reading the map while you drive with one hand.

    54 brien 08.18.07 at 5:02 pm

    I’d like to jump on the pro-GPS bandwagon with a point that isn’t often made: If you’re comparing GPS to using paper maps, you should seriously consider safety as the most important factor.

    Using paper maps while driving is a serious distraction, especially when you need it the most: in an unfamiliar area. GPS is much less distracting.

    Even using GPS passively while driving (i.e. in the “follow the map” mode) increases safety because it gives you a broader sense of your surroundings (i.e. increased situational awareness, always a good thing).

    55 Eileen 08.19.07 at 3:11 am

    brien, you send it perfectly. It as a safety issue. Worth spending a dime on.

    56 Allison 08.21.07 at 6:58 pm

    I actually got a gilette fusion razor xD I had been shaving with a metal straight razor for. . . well since I started shaving (fourth grade?). when I was at my boyfriend’s house this summer though, my not-very-trusty (that thing chewed my legs up on more than one occasion) razor developed a severe case of rust, and as I neglected to bring another blade, I groped around on the bathroom counter and chose the razor I prayed wasn’t my boyfriend’s dad’s xD in fact, it was one he got in the mail and never used so, it was win.

    Upon returning home, I did pay $12 for the razor and whatever exorberant price for a cartridge of four blades (but the razor itself had a coupon for the next blade purchase, so I felt better about it xD) and I have to say, the green strip goes white ridiculously early so I just ignore it and change blades when my legs start getting cut, which is also ridiculously early, but at least the first shaves are wonderful xD

    of course waxing works a lot longer, for not very much (I forget how much I paid for the nair ones you heat with the friction of your hand, but I haven’t even used half of them yet)but man that stuff hurts.

    my mom has always gotten me to swear off razors marketed to women. She says they’re not as sharp xD Women have coarse hair too!

    57 Allison 08.21.07 at 7:02 pm

    and by straight razor i do not mean straight razor, but dangit, you know what I do mean. they have two blades and they’re metal and the thing is metal and not the scary kind.

    (I have been referring to razors wrong almost as long as I’ve been using them)

    58 Robert 08.21.07 at 7:43 pm

    I have to admit that I recently purchased a new mattress, a tempurpedic to be exact, and absolutely love it. Best sleep I’ve ever had in my life. To be fair, I purchased with the money I won in a poker tournament :) Although I didn’t pay $5k for it (mine was like $2k), I effectively paid $70; the cost of entry in the tournament.

    For the phone, my wife and I were never into the latest and greatest phones but I think I will get an iPhone. However I’m going to have the company buy me one so it will be a write off. Being a software developer is what leads me to wanting one. You know, for development purposes…

    Lights under the car? Come on Golb, we all know you have that already, along with a strobe light on your rear package shelf.

    59 Charles 08.22.07 at 12:09 pm

    I have to agree with the majority of posters regarding the electric toothbrush. Buy even a $30.00 Oral B/Braun brush and tell me your teeth aren’t cleaner. This is not a matter of being lazy or wasteful - my teeth are simply not as clean when I brush manually. Plus, the plaque builds up and needs more scraping at the dentist (and yes, I know how to brush with a manual brush). Your arms and wrists can’t realistically move the tens of thousands of times an electric brush can in a two minute session. Twenty or thirty years ago these things were a gimmick but now there is science to back up that it’s more effective. You’re missing out…

    The bed issue is a difficult one because you *are* getting hosed for a piece of foam or some springs with a fluffy top. However, for as much time as one spends in bed it makes sense to buy one with a high rating for comfort made of quality material.

    60 stidmama 09.05.07 at 2:01 pm

    Once again, late to the party… I have to disagree with the people who think a GPS is useless or a crutch for people who are too stupid or too lazy to read maps; and agree with Eileen and Brien.

    A GPS is handy also when you are traveling and want to take a backroad because the traffic along the route you had planned (or are used to) is blocked; or for having the most up-to-date road maps. We had our son’s GPS along a couple weekends ago on a trip in the mountains (he is a map geek — can tell you exactly where any road in our county is and how to get there quickly from any point) and it helped us a couple times. He loves being able to tell us to the hundredth of a mile exactly where along our route we are!

    I think there is a big difference between a person using a tool intelligently and a person using it as a crutch. Another example is the calculator… how many people would spurn using a calculator to balance their checkbooks or do taxes? Yet I remember my fifth grade teacher insisting I had to learn long division anyway (in the mid 1970s) because I might actually need to know it. She was right, but I still used a calculator in advanced accounting classes!

    61 The Finance Network Blog 09.06.07 at 4:41 pm

    I would add not spending a dime on coffee. Myself, after careful calculation you will find a coffee a day is worth over $365 per year, if you spend this on your credit card bill rather than a coffee, half the world would not be in debt! :)

    62 cpfoutz 10.14.07 at 9:19 am

    interesting on the Mach3…I was using an electric razor which wasn’t doing a good job. My brother got one for free from gilette on his 18th, gave it to me and i’ve used the mach 3 ever since…by giving me that free razor they’ve been getting $2 a blade for the last 10 years. It is a better razor though….

    63 TheComputerDude 12.07.07 at 5:25 pm

    Well the thing about the color inkjet printers really hit home with me. I never really thought of it. The printers have come down in price so much and isn’t it harder finding just a b/w printer?

    But you are right because I rarely use the “color” portion of the ink. I think the last time I did was when I printed a webpage and just forgot about the colors that were included in the webpage. Usually when I print something out I make sure that I’m just using the black ink.

    64 Baz L 12.26.07 at 12:08 pm

    You guys need to stop the GPS bashing. First off, I don’t have one and I would have gotten on this Xmas except there were some unexpected expenses.

    I leave in the Dallas area and I’ve NEVER seen a $6.00 map that can give me the detail I need. I walked into a store and picked up a Dallas/Fortworth MAP book that had some good detail. I left it at the checkout when the lady rung up the price at $45.00.

    And most importantly, I frequently travel on my own and at night. Pulling over on the side of the road/highway or in a parking lot at night and reading maps is NEVER a good idea.

    Yes, I will agree, maps and Google/Mapquest can get you where you need to go and back. That’s not what I need a GPS for. I had an experience the other day, that kind of sucked. Driving over Dallas and my gas light came on. I called a friend and luckily he was able pull up Google and give me a play by play to a gas station. I want a GPS for instances like these when my insomniac friends aren’t available online.

    Huge maps never show much more than highways. 90% of the time when I’m lost that’s what I want…to get back on the highway. Yes, you can pull into a gas station and ask directions, but in my instance when I asked a cop, he had no clue where to find a gas station. “I think the closest one is across town”.

    No one needs a GPS, but it has it’s uses and for $200, it’s worth it. Hey, no one NEEDS a cell phone either, if they plan their route around pay phone locations.

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    66 JP 02.10.08 at 11:45 pm

    I know at least a dozen people who have iPhones. Most of them tell me it is the most useful “thing” they have ever purchased.

    67 iPhoneLover 02.24.08 at 8:02 pm

    Ha, using an iPhone to write this comment. I resisted the urge to buy one for a while, since it really is just an expensive toy. I have to say now though, that it really is the most useful thing I’ve ever owned. From helping find the right road to looking up the name of the hotel we couldn’t find to looking up the active drugs in a hangover cure I was offered (which ended up saving me from an allergic reaction to coding), I would purchase it again in an instant.

    68 Jeremy 03.04.08 at 9:28 pm

    Black and white laser printers can be had for cheap second hand, the goverment sells tons of them(google government asset investment recovery to find an auction or cash and carry near you
    the cartridges cost a lot more to replace or refill, but they don’t dry out, and don’t smudge, and last for years, the last time we put a new cartridge in was 4 or 5 years ago.

    69 Rob 03.05.08 at 12:42 pm

    I bought several of the black and white printers at auction and they work great.
    http://www.recreateyourlifenow.com

    70 SherryRDH 03.24.08 at 9:05 pm

    I recommend electric toothbrushes everyday because they absolutely work better and can make a world of difference in the health of some people. The Oral-B is my favorite, I use one everyday and have given them as gifts.

    71 Webhost Guide 05.30.08 at 1:14 am

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    72 Yezzur 10.15.08 at 1:19 pm

    eh some of your stuff i disagree with and think your being a tad ignorant but some of the things really are a waste of money like neon lights under your car, this isnt fast and the furious people, your neon lights dont give you 40+ more horsepower.

    73 cgardener 11.12.08 at 5:13 pm

    Too funny! I have to agree with most of those, although incandescent bulbs are the only thing that words in nightlites, which save me from breaking my neck several times a month. When I compare the cost of them, and the operation to, say, a $50,000 hospital stay, I think I’ll keep them.

    74 Cam 05.31.09 at 1:06 pm

    Radar Detectors - I have heard both sides of this story. There are the guys who buy the little cheap detectors (about $150 - $250 CAD) and the ones who spend more on the detector than their new iPhone. Talking to both shows that the more expensive do save them tickets, and the cheaper ones only scare you with automatic sliding doors at the grocery.

    I am from a family involved with law enforcement, and also have another beef with these detectors. Some of the new ones even boast they are LASER detectors as well, so you don’t have to worry about radar OR the speed traps. (science tidbit) while the frequency of waves coming from a radar gun can be received and interpreted from a distance, a laser is as exact as - well a laser! The only time your little black box will catch one of those is if you are staring straight into one, and I don’t think that’s enough time to hide from the law.

    75 Mr. Craft 06.23.09 at 1:11 pm

    Buy regular light bulbs… Florescent Light bulbs produce a certain chemical which will totally screw up the power grid because we are used to the other filament type. Thus, causing the power companies to fix this, causing them to raise prices. Either way you will sooner or later be spending the same amount of money. And global warming is fake. :) They also produce Mercury. I’m an electrical engineer, please work with me here.

    76 jimmy 08.11.10 at 10:27 pm

    “eh some of your stuff i disagree with and think your being a tad ignorant but some of the things really are a waste of money like neon lights under your car, this isnt fast and the furious people, your neon lights dont give you 40+ more horsepower.”

    Agreed 100%.

    GPS is awesome when moving to a new city.
    Sonicare has saved me loads of money at the dentist.

    77 Anon 08.31.10 at 2:09 am

    Funny reading this post, as well as the comments…

    You realize, we don’t need ANY of this shit right? I mean why even ‘waste money’ buying a toothbrush? Use your finger!…

    All of these things, while borderline unnecessary simply make some peoples lives easier (or them happier). If you are a map wizard and somehow know how to navigate through towns you’ve never been to (Oh, and you don’t care about traffic updates) then by all means, bust that paper map out. Besides, it’s annoying being told how to drive, amirite?

    I hate arguing for this one also, but it’s basically the point. So what if that guy wants to drive with bright neon lights under his car? If it makes him happy, then so be it. After all, money is simply a tool to provide us with what we need (and then what we want, after)….

    Rant rant rant rant rant…. <3

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