OPINION: Some things you can’t avoid spending money on: Your rent or mortgage, your power, your fuel.
But there are hundreds of other little expenses that drain most people’s budgets – and some of them deliver little value.
Here are five things you might be wasting money on.
Multivitamins: Supplement aren’t cheap. You can pay more than $50 for a bottle at the supermarket, or more from a specialist retailer.
But a study published in May questioned their effectiveness.
The authors, publishing in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, examined data from past studies of people receiving Vitamin A, B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6, B9 (folic acid), C, D, E, beta-carotene, calcium, iron, zinc, magnesium, selenium, and multivitamin combinations of these.
They looked at whether there was any effect on the incidence cardiovascular disease, stroke, and death from any cause.
Multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium, and vitamin C were found to have conferred no benefit. But they didn’t increase the risk of these events, either.
The exception is folic acid during pregnancy.
Cough liquid for kids: You might be better off making a home remedy with honey than buying cough liquids for your kids.
Medsafe recommends that parents not use over-the-counter cough and cold medicines in children under six., because there is no evidence they work but they can cause serious side effects.
Even for adults, cough suppressants should be avoided if you have a wet cough. Coughing up mucus is important to protect your lungs against pneumonia.
Unflushable “flushable” wipes: Lots of strengthened bathroom and baby wipes are marketed as flushable – but if you’re thinking that they are a better environmental choice, you’re out of luck. They are flushable in the sense that you can make them disappear down the toilet, but they still cause problems when they get to the water treatment plants.
Bottled water: If you’re on a town supply, it costs you about 0.2c a litre to fill up a bottle from the tap. Compare that to $2 for 750ml for bottled water from Countdown. If you’re worried about the quality of your water it’s possible to add a filter to your tap for less than $150.
Phone insurance: You can opt to pay up to about $16 a month for insurance for devices as part of your provider’s phone plan. But if you have contents insurance, it’s probably unnecessary. Most contents policies that cover the things in your house will also cover your devices if they are lost, stolen or damaged within Ne Zealand.