No matter how careful you are with your money, you likely have spending regrets. AARP recently published an article that listed the top 10 items people regret buying:
- time shares
- first generation technology
- as seen on TV merchandise
- elaborate weddings
- extended warranties
- trendy fashions
- get rich quick schemes
- gym memberships/exercise equipment
- pet toys and novelties
- prepaid funeral plans
While none of those items make my list of most regretted purchase, I do certainly have my fair share of items I bought with my hard-earned money and then regretted.
Kids’ Clothes. Sometime after my first child was born, when eBay was still widely popular, I decided that I’d buy kids’ designer clothes, specifically Gymboree and Gap, and sell them on eBay so I could quit my job and stay home with my son. My husband warned me that it wasn’t a good idea, but I ignored him. (I can be headstrong.)
Two years later, the room I stored my haul in looked like one from the show Hoarders, and I never did really make money. In 2009 I liquidated the “business” at a loss.
Meals Out. One of the reasons I wanted to make money selling kids’ clothes on eBay was that I was desperately unhappy at my day job. I would come home from work most days both physically and emotionally exhausted, and I wanted nothing more than to relax and go out to eat. We did this several times a week, and I’m guessing that some months we spent $400 to $600 eating out.
Of course, I realize now that the money would have been much better put in savings so we’d have a cushion when I finally did quit. Now, I’ve been freelance from home for two years, and we NEVER go out to eat. At least the financial lesson was learned eventually.
Now, the third regret I have is a bit different. I regret our large purchases like our minivan and moving to a bigger, more expensive apartment. I don’t regret that we bought those items, but I regret that we bought them too early.
We bought the minivan when my son was only 4 months old, but we didn’t have our second child for another 4.5 years. We definitely could have waited and saved a ton of money on lower car payments, cheaper insurance, and much, much less fuel consumption.
The same goes for our apartment. We moved from a small one bedroom, garden apartment to a spacious two bedroom apartment because we knew we were going to try to have a baby. Still, our first child didn’t arrive until a year later. We could have saved $350 a month for a year by waiting to move until sometime after our son was born. After all, there really isn’t much need for two bedrooms until the baby is at least 6 months old.
There you have it. My financial missteps and regrets.
What financial purchases do you most regret?