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Financial Wellness

9 Products You Should Never Buy Online

Advances in technology have reshaped the way we as consumers shop. Going online can often provide greater choice, convenience, and customization. You can shop from anywhere in the world and get items delivered right to your doorstep. You have more payment options—besides cash, credit and debit cards; you can elect to make mobile payments, use cryptocurrencies, or digital wallets.

While shopping on the internet can provide you with these benefits, you, however, might be better served shopping in-person for some specific items.

Utilizing online services, such as Amazon Subscribe & Save and Google Express to purchase toiletries and pantry items online can save you a ton of money. However, when it comes to buying fresh food online, many experts advise that the grocery store is the better way to go for two main reasons:

  • Quality: Industry experts agree that you can never be sure how fresh online veggies are. In-store, you can physically check for freshness, food quality, and expiration dates. When you order food online, you can't be sure they are checked for the same things.
  • Price: While buying food online can save you time, experts advise that it won't always save you money. For example, Amazon's prices on most food items can't beat the sale prices offered at many supermarkets or warehouse stores.

Buying furniture online may seem like a huge time-saver, but purchasing these big-ticket items online has its downsides including testing for comfort, high shipping costs, return fees, re-stocking fees and no opportunity for negotiating price. The internet is, however, a great tool to check prices before you shop. If you find a great deal online, you can use it as ammo to get the salesperson to reduce the cost of the item in the store.

High-End Musical Instruments
Purchasing a high-end musical instrument can be a significant expense. It's essential to see how the instrument sounds and feels before you buy it. In addition, when you purchase a musical instrument online, you run the risk of it getting damaged during shipping. Insurance may be able to cover a financial loss; if it is a rare or vintage instrument it will be hard to replace.

You might want to steer clear of a sight-unseen bicycle. A good test ride with the intended bike might be the best option. If you can find a certain make and model online for a better price, you'd at least feel more comfortable knowing you rode it and liked it. Or, you could always use that pricepoint as a negotiating strategy.

Large Appliances
Let's face it, if the refrigerator, washer, dryer or water heater goes, you'll need a replacement fast. Start your journey online, but don't skip driving to the retail store to check out features and measurements, etc. in person. Negotiating opportunities may also be more likely in person. If you just can't check it out in person, be sure to check warranties, return policies, restocking fees and get all of your questions answered before you buy. 

The Humane Society of the United States recommends pet buyers to avoid internet pet shopping. Many of those puppies sold online come from puppy mills, which are high-volume dog breeding operations that irresponsibly contribute to "overpupulation" and animal suffering. Instead, why not check out puppy or kitten availability from a local rescue group or shelter? They often have a variety of breeds, both mixed and purebreds.

Consider that you spend one third of your life sleeping (or trying to), it's important that you give this one a serious look. Price shopping on the internet is a smart idea. But ideally, that should lead you to the showroom where you can actually do the comfy test on the mattress you may buy. There are many good manufacturers with promotions all the time, but all mattresses are not equal. Find the right one, and your body will thank you for it.

Prescription Medication
You can save a lot of money buying from an online pharmacy, but they're unregulated, so any purchase would put your health and safety at risk. Always see a doctor if you're feeling ill and pick up prescriptions from a reliable pharmacy.

Buying paints or stains from an online store is like buying clothing or wallpaper online— there's no way to know exactly how the product looks or feels without seeing it in person. The color you see on a monitor or screen is only so accurate, and it will not always match your expectation.

Resources:; Business Insider; Buzztribe,