15 Dumbest Purchases You Make in Your 20s

10 February 2021

Your 20s Is All About Making Dumb Choices. Here’s a List of What Not to Waste Money on.

When you’re in your 20s, money has this strange tendency to disappear. Let’s have a look at dumb things to buy. This is a strange phenomenon that’s been going on for decades, and we’re about to break down the mystery once and for all. 

Where doe all the money go?

Welcome to Alux.com – the place where future billionaires come to get inspired. If you’re not subscribed yet, you’re missing out.

It’s just another dumb bargain to read a long boring article when you can switch out to the video version:


With that done, let’s bounce back to the article.


Coffee Pods/ Bottled Water / Avocado

More bottled water is sold in the US than milk and beer! According to statista.com, in 2018, “bottled water accounted for roughly 25 percent of beverage consumption in the United States, making it the most consumed type of beverage that year.”

In 2014, Americans spent over $13 billion on bottled water, and a gallon of water can cost anything from $1.60 up to $8 plus. Each person spends in the region of $100 on bottled water every year.

And Aluxers, that’s not taking into account the environmental damage left behind.

Then items like coffee pods, or trending fruit like avocados – all have shocking price tags to them. You’re not going to be worse off drinking a more affordable coffee or getting your “good” fats from olive oil, fatty fish, or sunflower seeds.


Take Out / Eating Out

When you’re in your 20s it’s all about convenience. You’re busy and preparing a meal is so time-consuming.

50 million Americans order takeout every day, contributing to an industry that’s worth over $110 billion every year!

Restaurants have around a 300% mark-up on their food, so if you pay $20 for a meal, technically you could whip the same up for $5 at home – of course assuming you’re using the same or similar quality ingredients. We realize that dining out is not just about the food but the entire experience – but in your 20s, you do it so often, it loses that appeal, it’s no longer a spoil or indulgence.

Same goes for take-out, if you’re paying a premium for the convenience but you’re not with kids, or major responsibilities, you can save yourself a fair amount by cooking at home and not falling for the dumb things to buy.


Pre-Cut Fruit and Veg

An article from CBSnews.com, written by Mitch Lipka, highlights the 5 most expensive pre-cut foods. He acknowledges that they do provide convenience for the consumer, but it comes at a cost.

His prices reflect 2015, but the principle behind his findings remain the same.

  •         Potatoes on average were $1.26 a pound. Buy them cut and ready to pop into the oven, and you’ll fork out around $3.11 a pound.
  •         Pineapples are not cheap in general, so one was costing about $2.75. When cut and ready to eat, it would be in the region of $4.28 a pound.
  •         Kale per pound was around $2.80, but increases 317% when someone washes, trims and cuts it up.
  •         Onions were 99 cents a pound, but cut up for you, $4.65 a pound. Unless you have goggles while chopping onions, we think this hike is worth it.
  •         Green beans – usually round about $2.25 fresh, but $6.56 a pound when someone washes and cuts up ready for use.

By forward planning and dedicating a small amount of time to your weekly food prep, you could save a lot of money during your 20s.

There is a load of great comparatives and ways to save money on our channel, so be sure to subscribe to stay in the loop.


Energy Drinks

Like American novelist, Ann Brashares aptly puts it, “I look back on my 20s. It’s supposed to be the prime of your life, the most vital, the most beautiful. But you’re making your critical decisions and sometimes your most critical mistakes.”

And in our 20s, we’re on the go all the time. You could be chasing the dream job, dream partner, dream house, wedding, babies, travel, and and and… It’s exhausting. So, what do we do? We grab those energy drinks and drink them like water.

Statista.com confirms that Red Bull is still the leading seller of energy drinks in the USA, with the next brand in line being Monster Energy drink. Aluxers, we’re not saying never drink energy drinks – but they do cost $2.50 a pop, give or take, and that’s money better utilized elsewhere. So this qualifies energy drinks as one of the dumb things to buy.


Partying… a Lot!

We understand that one of the reasons you’re reaching for the energy drink is because you had a rough night the previous evening.

Everything in moderation. Having a good time is important, but having a good time every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday night is not.

Bbc.com published results of a survey that found that most Britons spend an average of £70.56 when they go out. 73% of participants, aged between 18 and 30 claims to go out once a week. That’s 280-pounds a month, almost $400!

Like one participant, Georgina said, “If it’s a Saturday evening, then I really try to budget £50 with no food. But depending on where you go, that can be blown. Now I have Apple Pay on my phone, I just end up using that, even if I’m really strict and only take cash and no card. I would say it can easily end up being £100. Then if you add a meal…”

Of course, going out means you need clothing, which we’ll get to shortly and our next point…



M2U = M(akeup) 2 U are makers of high-quality trendy makeups priced 60% to 80% less than typical makeup brands. How is that possible, when you know the prices you’ve been paying for make-up of similar quality?

They explain in a clear to understand diagram, why companies are charging you a sh*t ton of money. Middlemen allow for a 2-x mark-up. Retailers add a 2 to 3 x mark-up, celebrity’s need their cut for their endorsement, television ads need to be paid for, staff need big bonuses and you, dear 20-year-old, pay for that each time you spend an outrageous amount of money on the dumb things to buy from the makeup stalls.

Shop around for good quality alternatives and stop lining the pockets of others that are lined enough already!

If you are interested in knowing how the rich gets richer in the makeup industry, check out How Kylie Jenner Became a Billionaire from Makeup.


Trendy Clothing

Before you think we’ve lost the plot, we haven’t. Alux, above all channels understands the importance of keeping on point but we also know that there is no value in buying trendy item, after trendy item, only to be worn once, maybe twice and then never again.

We don’t encourage that kind of buying behaviour and in addition, it’s just so bad for the environment.

What we do suggest is saving up to buy a few decent, classic pieces that will last you forever, which you can always accessorise to fit whatever’s currently in fashion.

We recommend you give our video, 15 Ways to Put Together A Proper Wardrobe a watch, for some serious inspiration.


The Car

When you hit your 20s, you start earning a bit of decent salary… hopefully… and you decide it’s the time to buy the car. You know the one. You’ve wanted it forever… and now, you can finally afford it. You think. Sure, it’s quite possible that you’re able to afford the monthly repayments, but things get a little hairy when you realize how insanely expensive it is to maintain a car and keep it on the road.

For a start, fuel currently is roughly $2.70 / a gallon. Until you’re paying for your own fuel, you don’t really realize just how much money it takes every month to drive around.

Then you need to worry about keeping the car roadworthy, you need to keep the licensing up to date, brakes need to be replaced, tyres changed, and oil replaced. And those, Aluxers, are just the basics.

A car that’s over your budget is indeed one of the dumb thing to buy, it’s not worth dealing with all those expenses and then trying to survive off 2-minute noodles and water.


Upgrading Tech Products’, the Moment New Models Become Available

Lifehacker.com wrote a noteworthy article over this exact issue, and noted the following, “we overvalue the new because it’s the last thing presented to us. We tend to forget the old information (that the old product is also great) and supplement it with the new (that the new product is “more great).”

Former Amazon CEO, Jeff Bezos called it the “upgrade treadmill.”

Aluxers, the changes are incremental. If you’re desperate for more or better, you can always add additional software, but it’s not necessary to go to the expense of continuously replacing your “outdated” tech.


In-Game Purchases and Currencies

While we’re on the topic of technology, let’s delve into in-game currencies and assets.

Do you have any how much this is worth in game revenues every year? According to medium.com – it’s worth $100 billion! They add that, “over 47% of the 2.2 billion active gamers around the world, spend their cash buying in-game currencies and assets.”

Aluxers, most of the time, this is a complete waste of money and absolute dumb things to buy. For starters, you can’t trade assets across games. You can’t cash out and there’s often issues of asset ownership.

You’re better off saving that cash and putting it towards something tangible, like the car we just mentioned.  


Lavish Weddings

In our video, 15 Reasons a Luxury Wedding isn’t Worth the money, we highlight that you can put a down payment on a house if you were smart and didn’t spend it all on trying to impress a cr*p load of guests.

We gave this example: “A Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan usually has a minimum down payment of 3.5% of the total cost of the property. So, if you were to purchase a property for $300,000 – you’d need to put down a $10,500 deposit.”

The average cost of a wedding is over $33,000 – so if you didn’t spend that much, you’d be able to put down a down payment for a property, which is a far better use of your finances in your 20s.


Gym Memberships

Aluxers, a Planet Money podcast had an interesting take on gyms. In their opinion, “Gyms need their members not to come, but they can’t just lock the doors. They can’t tell people not to show up. So, they have to rely on consumer psychology to get you excited enough that you’ll sign up for a gym membership but not so excited that you’ll get up an hour early to do some crunches before work.”

And honestly, you can have super effective workouts in and around your home. Grab some friends for motivation and do what you love, while saving a lot of hard-earned cash being thrown at the gym you hardly go to… but best of luck cancelling your contract. They’re some of the most watertight contracts in the world! Which definitely put them in the list of dumb things to buy.



We’ve got some solid advice that will save you a lot of money, and you’ll enjoy a whole lot more than slogging it out year in, year out at university. Watch our video, 15 Ways To Get Educated Faster and Cheaper, where we suggest streaming great educational content, using OpenCourseWare or opting for online courses that are far cheaper.

These choices need to be made in your teens though, so that when you’re in your 20s, you’re not down by the debt coming from tertiary education.

Like Katie, a dentist in Minneapolis is quoted as saying, “I am a 28-year-old dentist. I am married and we have a 10-month-old son. I have $380 000 in student load debt.”

We don’t suggest streaming how to be a dentist, but for less riskier careers, there is a lot you can learn online. Try our Bitcoin Essentials by Alux.com, the best Blockchain and Bitcoin Course for those who want to get started with crypto. This course is easy to understand, follow along and get started, no matter your technical level.



Holidays / Festivals You Can’t Afford

We’re all about travel and experiences, but you don’t need to go to every single festival, and every holiday doesn’t need to be to some exotic destination. If these trips and excursions are putting you under severe financial strain, but you have intense FOMO, try and think about the FOMO you’ll have when your peers are putting deposits on houses, or paying off their student loans years before you do. Doesn’t it make the trip tickets one of the dumb things to buy?

If you do struggle with FOMO, try remembering the words of Steven Furtick who said, “The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” 


Renting a Place Way Above Your Means

Sure, it looks good to say you live at an exclusive address in your city, but if it’s eating away at your already dwindling budget, why do you continue to do it?

Stop wasting your money on an address and find a place that’s more affordable, in a less “exclusive” area. You’ll find your living arrangements will have more space, a bigger garden, off-street parking, and are pet friendly.

Plus, if you’re not spending all your money on rent, you’ll have a little extra to invest in some timeless wardrobe pieces or taking a holiday that doesn’t leave you totally out of pocket left with nothing but those noodles and water.


Aluxers, which of your purchases in your 20s qualify as the dumb things to buy? We love hearing from you.