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You’re wasting your money if you buy these household products

There’s a good chance you don’t need a third of the products on your Target shopping list. Some that you so desperately “need” are partly the invention of executives to make you spend more. Others can be replaced with cheaper alternatives.

Read on to find out which items to put back on the shelf for good.

1. Dryer sheets

Upon discovering I don’t use dryer sheets, a friend thought me a barbarian. I tried some out in my next load of laundry to prove them wrong. As expected, there wasn’t a noticeable difference (it could’ve been because my apartment complex’s washing machine is ancient) but others agree you don’t need them.

dryer sheets, products that are a waste of money
Sara M. Lentz/U.S. Navy

Dryer sheets promise to reduce static electricity and make clothes softer, says the “laundry blog” on NJ Laundromats. But that comes at the risk of exposing yourself to harmful chemicals, says EcoWatch. Nix the dryer sheets to save money and your health.

2. Shaving cream

For shaving legs, that is. For faces, using a shaving cream that is gentle enough for delicate skin is a safer way to go. Good Housekeeping advises against using bar soap on your gams but says that hair conditioner will do just the trick. On using bar soap, dermatologist Ellen Gendler, M.D. tells Good Housekeeping this:

shaving cream, products that are a waste of money
Matt Jelonek/GettyImages

“It doesn’t create enough lubrication for a razor to slide easily against your skin, which can up the odds of cuts.” The article also recommends waiting about 15 minutes in the shower before taking a razor to your legs — this softens the hairs.

3. Napkins

Napkins — who’s got ‘em, who needs ‘em? No one and no one! Sorry, Baby Boomers. Market research company Mintel discovered only 56 percent of consumers bought napkins within the last six months in March 2016. Eighty-six percent of survey participants said they bought paper towels. It makes sense — you can use them both for meals and cleaning.

napkins, products that are a waste of money

Mainly Millennials opt for paper towels at the dinner table. Napkins just aren’t an economical choice for many consumers, the survey indicates. Dan Nirenberg of consumer goods company Georgia Pacific told The Washington Post “it’s one less thing to buy.” Basically, napkins suck and research proves it.


4. Bottled water

The 2009 documentary Tapped explores the evils of the bottled water industry — its executives deceive the public and its products harm our health, contribute to pollution and climate change, and increase dependence on fossil fuels. Especially if you care about the environment, wouldn’t those facts alone make you put that water bottle back on the shelf?

bottled water, products that are a waste of money
Department of Defense

True, there’s the convenience factor. But for everyday use, you can save money and the environment with a reusable water bottle. Some like Hydro Flask cost a pretty penny but there are BPA-free options that are easy on the wallet at Target.

5. Leave-in conditioners

L’Oréal Paris’ website says this hair product is applied to the hair after you wash and towel dry to make styling easier. “They can help provide extra moisture as well as detangle strands, which can help make styling easier,” says L’Oréal’s website. But do you really need it? Naturally Curly says “maybe.”

leave-in conditioner, products that are a waste of money
Ric Capucho/Flickr

“Whether you need a leave-in, DIY concoction, or to re-purpose regular conditioner is totally dependent upon your hair and what works best for you,” says Naturally Curly’s website. Usually, a good quality conditioner will work for most hair, so save yourself money and bathroom cabinet space.


6. Prepared food

Who could forget the hysteria caused by Whole Foods’ pre-peeled oranges in boxes? Not only was it a waste of plastic and money, it was just plain dumb. Prepared food foods like pre-washed lettuce, pre-cut fruit, and those spiralized zoodles at Whole Foods typically cost more than regular, intact fruit and vegetables.

prepared foods, products that are a waste of money
kenji ross/Flickr

Sure it’s convenient, but it only takes a few moments to wash your lettuce. Also, research finds that “triple-washed” bagged lettuce usually contains chemicals like bleach. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does encourage the use of bleach because it kills E. coli but chlorine lingers on your lettuce, therefore lingering in your stomach.

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