16 Things Warren Buffet Says Are a Waste of Money

Warren Buffett, one of the wealthiest men and most successful investors in the world, has some surprisingly simple rules for accumulating wealth that involve steering clear of typical financial missteps. Known for his frugal lifestyle and wise investment choices, Buffett’s insights into what not to spend money on can help anyone improve their financial health.

Here’s a deep dive into the top 12 financial pitfalls Warren Buffett warns against.

Overly Expensive Homes

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While homeownership is a core component of the American Dream, purchasing a home that stretches your financial limits can be a grave mistake. Buffett himself lives in a modest home he bought decades ago. He suggests buying a property that meets needs without jeopardizing financial security.

Expensive Drinks

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While it’s okay to visit a bar and pub occasionally, visiting regularly can be expensive, as the prices of drinks and food, along with tips and taxi fares, can quickly add up. Instead, having a get-together at home or enjoying a quiet night in can be just as enjoyable and will save you money.

New Car Purchases

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Cars depreciate when they leave the lot; therefore, buying new is often a poor investment. Buffett is known for driving his cars for many years and choosing models that are not the latest on the market. He says, “It would take me probably half a day to go through the exercise of buying a car and reading the owner’s manual and all that. And that’s just a half a day I don’t want to give up in my life for no benefit.”

Things to Impress Others

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Buying things just to impress others is an easy trap to fall into, even if those items don’t benefit us. Everyone has their tastes and needs. Instead of trying to keep up with or outdo others, spend money on things and experiences that enhance your quality of life.

Credit Card

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While credit cards come with perks like cash back and travel points, these only benefit you if you pay off your balance in full each month. Carrying a balance can lead to interest rates of around 20%, significantly increasing the cost of your purchases. To avoid financial strain, pay off your balance regularly and be cautious with borrowing.

Eating Out or Take Away

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Eating out regularly can be one of the biggest drains on a budget. Cooking at home is significantly cheaper and also healthier. Buffett is known for his simple and cost-effective meals, often highlighting how small savings can compound into substantial amounts over time.

Luxury Brand Shopping

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Spending significant amounts on luxury brands is rarely worth the cost. Buffett advocates for buying quality goods at reasonable prices, focusing on value rather than prestige. He says, “ Value is what you get.” This applies to clothes, technology, and other consumer goods where brand names inflate the price.

Unused Gym Memberships

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Gym memberships can drain finances, especially if they go unused. Buffett promotes an active lifestyle but suggests using cost-effective or free methods of exercise, like walking or simple home workouts, to maintain health without financial waste.

Latest Gadgets

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Technology evolves rapidly, but constantly upgrading to the latest gadget is a costly endeavor with negligible returns. Buffett didn’t switch to a smartphone until very recently and encourages evaluating whether upgrades are necessary or just a desire to keep up with trends.

Lottery Tickets

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Buffett criticizes the purchase of lottery tickets as a waste of money. The odds of winning are astronomically low, making this nothing more than a “tax on ignorance,” in his words. Investing the money you would otherwise spend on lottery tickets can yield much better returns.

Too Much Skincare and Beauty Products

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While personal care is essential, overindulging in skincare and beauty products can be wasteful. Opting for a simple, effective routine can save both money and time—a principle Buffett supports by avoiding extravagance in his personal care.

Cigarettes and Tobacco Products

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Smoking is not only harmful to your health but also a significant financial drain. The cost of cigarettes adds up, and the long-term health consequences can lead to high medical bills. Quitting smoking can result in substantial savings, aligning with Buffett’s emphasis on long-term health and financial planning.

Expensive Coffee

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Daily purchases of high-priced coffee can quietly consume a significant portion of your budget. Investing in a quality coffee machine for home use can save hundreds of dollars annually. This is a prime example of Buffett’s principle of avoiding unnecessary small expenses that accumulate over time.

Unused Subscriptions

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A recent Forbes Home survey found that 47% of Americans pay for streaming services they never use. These forgotten subscriptions often become costly financial traps for many people. A quick review of your bank statements might reveal similar unused subscriptions, which can slowly drain your finances. Warren Buffett strongly opposes the idea of paying for unused subscriptions and believes in mindful spending that enhances his quality of life.

Low-quality Products

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Warren Buffett famously stated, “Price is what you pay; value is what you get.” He emphasizes the importance of quality over novelty in his purchases, choosing items that are durable and reliable. Whether it’s socks or stocks, he prefers to invest in high-quality products that are available at a discount.

Risky Investments

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As per Buffett, “Risk comes from not knowing what you’re doing and advises to never invest in a business you cannot understand.” Before investing in any company, make sure to thoroughly research it. If you’re new to investing, consider consulting a financial advisor to guide you.

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