And apparently I’m not alone in my spending habits. A recent study revealed that the average person spends $2,429.16 on unnecessary purchases each year. Below are the five most common impulse buys along with our experts’ recommendations for the products you should be buying instead.
Thanks to online shopping (which is one of the things people spend too much money on), it’s way too easy to buy clothes you want but definitely don’t need. If retail therapy is your thing, though, there are ways to shop smarter. One great option is to use a service like Rent the Runway Unlimited, where you pay a monthly fee and can pick and choose from hundreds of designer pieces to rent.
Our director of audience engagement, Samantha Matt, uses it and says it has successfully helped her kick her expensive shopping habit. Now when she does buy clothes, she buys good-quality investment pieces that will last rather than cheap trendy pieces that will fall apart after just a few wears.
2. Food and drinks
Ordering Friday night takeout is much more appealing than putting in the effort to cook dinner—we get it. But making meals at home doesn’t have to be hard or time-consuming. Like most people, our editors are obsessed with the Instant Pot Ultra, which is the top multi-cooker of 2019. Not only does it have 10 different functions (everything from slow cooking to pressure cooking to steaming) but it can have a meal that usually takes an hour ready in just 20 minutes.
3. Big technology like TVs and laptops
A brand new TV or laptop is an expensive impulse purchase—but it can also be a smart one if you know what to buy. If you’re in the market for a TV, our experts recommend the LG C9 series (which is available in 55-, 65-, and 77-inch sizes). It’s the number one TV of the year because it has amazing OLED picture quality along with 4K resolution and LG’s user-friendly “webOS” smart platform.
And if you’re shopping for a laptop, we like the Dell XPS 13 the best out of all the ones we tested. It’s lighter than most laptops (making it super portable) and has an incredibly long battery life. Plus, the Dell laptop has one of the best trackpads and keyboards on the market along with a high-resolution display.
We’re all guilty of buying shoes on a whim. And while that $125 pair of sparkly heels probably isn’t the smartest decision, spending money on a pricier pair of shoes isn’t necessarily bad. For example, Allbirds are the washable sneakers that are all the rage online and on social media these days. One of our writers tried them out for herself to see if they’re worth buying. The verdict? Absolutely—she found that the wool sneakers were super comfortable and lightweight and provide just the right amount of support.
5. Smaller technology like phones and chargers
When you’re itching to make an impulse tech buy, it’s much easier to justify a $50 charger than a $2,000 TV. Just make sure you’re spending your money on the highest quality products. In terms of portable chargers, we found that the RAVPower battery pack is the best one out there. It can be used for anything from your phone to your laptop and has such a high capacity that it can charge your phone several times over before the pack itself needs to be recharged.
Another good tech purchase is our favorite wireless earbuds of 2019: the wildly popular Apple AirPods. Their range is as great as their battery life and they are easily the best sounding truly wireless earbuds that our editors tested.
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.