Things you probably don’t need to pay for in your home

Row of houses

Bills are so high right now, the very last thing anyone wants to do is throw money away.

But in and around the home, it turns out many of us pay for things we’re never going to use, or services we can do ourselves.

A nonprofit consumer advocacy group is listing them as things you may not need to pay for after all.

MORE: Don’t fall for these misleading home warranty mailers

Home Warranty Regrets

Yvonne McCloud knows about overspending.

She has a broken dishwasher as well as a broken oven.

She thought a home warranty she was paying for would take care of everything. But for both appliances, this proved not to be the case.

McCloud said her home warranty company contractor was unable to repair the appliances, and offered her just a fraction of what a replacement actually would cost.

“They offered me $246 for the dishwasher,” she said. “But that doesn’t even cover the cost of taking it out and delivering a new one.”

Worse, she said the contractor her warranty company sent over made two holes in her wall, and did not patch them.

“So I’ve got a hole in my kitchen wall, and two holes downstairs,” McCloud said.

And to top it all off, her dishwasher is still broken.

Things You May Not Need to Pay for

A home warranty is one of the 65 things you probably don’t need to pay for according to a list compiled by Consumers’ Checkbook.

Executive editor Kevin Brasler said there are way too many exclusions buried in the fine print.

“If you dig into their policies,” he said, “you’ll find that. And these are still expensive purchases.”

“And the worst part about home warranties is you the homeowner don’t get to decide who does the work,” he said.

Brasler says the same applies to most furniture and carpet protection plans that you pay extra for.

“Most of these plans just have so many loopholes, so many fine print exemptions,” he said.

Brasler also suggested you skip air duct cleaning, unless you notice that your air ducts are extremely dirty.

“You definitely do want to change your furnace and air conditioning filters regularly,” he said. “But there is very little evidence that having your duct work cleaned does any good.”

Besides warranties and air duct cleaning, Consumers’ Checkbook says other costs to avoid include:

  • A cable package, if you find you’re mostly streaming your TV.
  • A home gym that you’ll never use.
  • Home alarms with expensive monthly contracts.

Yvonne McCloud isn’t sure her $500 a year warranty was worth it.
“It’s a nightmare,” she said. “I get so frustrated with them.”

There are cases where these items may be worth paying for: for instance, if you are committed to using your home gym 3 or 4 times a week, you have mold or dust visible in your vents, or you are in a high crime area and want the best alarm system possible.

But in many cases, they may be a case of don’t waste your money.

John Matarese, WCPO

About the Author

John Matarese

John's goal is to help as many TV viewers as possible save money, avoid bad deals, know a rip-off when one comes their way, and be educated consumers. His informative weekly consumer segment "Don't Waste Your Money" now airs on 45 TV stations from San Diego to Tampa to Houston and Cincinnati. More.

More to explore