August 1, 2010

Purchases That I Regret

Over the years I've bought things that I wish I hadn't.  Like everyone I am not perfect and I make mistakes.   Many of those mistakes are pretty easily avoidable.

Purchases I regret

Maintenance for my car at a car dealer.   One time several years ago took my previous car to the dealer to get the regular maintenance checkup done.   It was probably something like a 50,000 or 75,000 checkup.  I don't know for sure what they did.   I didn't check the price before hand and I didn't shop around.   Cost $400.

ASL Solutions DP Hunter Insulated Dog HouseEarlier this year we got a dog house with a heater mat for our newly adopted dog.   Its a perfectly good dog house and we paid a reasonable price for it.   I don't think the dog has used it at all.  Cost $180

Manual lawn trimmer thing that barely works.  I since realized that our weed wacker pivots to act as an edger and I now don't use the manual tool.  Cost $25. (?)

I got an HD-DVD player during the battle between Blu-ray and HD-DVD formats.  I got it in late 2007 and shortly after that the HD-DVD format died.  Its now no better than a $50 DVD player.  Cost $200.

URC RFS200 PowerPak Bundle w/ MasterControl RF20 and PowerBlasterAbout 3 years ago I bought a remote control that will work from anywhere in the house.   At the time I was going to use it to control my Tivo box while I was using the computer in the other room.  I barely used it.  Cost $120.

Over 10 years ago I got a X10 home remote control system.  I bought this one because I followed a banner ad on a webpage.   It looked like a neato gadget.  It actually was a very neato gadget but I barely ever used it and it sat in a closet for years.  Cost $50.

Many years ago I got an off brand CD changer for my car.  It was a very good price at the time.   Unfortunately the good price was not a bargain for what turned out to be a very very poor product.   I really regret that purchase. Cost $130 (?)

Over the years I've bought various video games at the store because the box looked good.   I have had several PC games that I distinctly remember paying $20 or more for and then playing just a few hours.   These games weren't really that bad but they just weren't my kind of game or not a great use of my money.   I've probably had at least 5 games in this category.   Cost $100

 Around 7 years ago I went on a vacation to Florida.  I got a rental car from Thrifty in Orlando (who has 1.5 out of 5 stars at Yelp) and at the checkout they did a hard sell on extra insurance.   I wasn't sure what insurance I needed or what kind of coverage I had so I went ahead and got the optional insurance.   Cost $50-$100

All together thats about $1000 that I have spent or over-spent and now regret.   This list does span many years but it is just the items off the top of my head and I probably have other regretted expenses.    I've probably spent $100-$200 or more in a typical year on items I later turn around and regret.   So what can I do to stop this?   I should look at why I'm making these purchases and what I can do to stop them.

Mistakes I made

Don't buy things on a whim based on marketing.   The X10 system and video games are things I've bought on an impulse due to good marketing which turned out to be things I didn't really want or like all that much.  

Buying without research.   The CD changer I bought was a bargain and I had not heard of the brand.   I should have done some market research to see if they were any good.   I should have figured out what I needed for rental car insurance before going on vacation.

Shop around before buying.   I really should have called a few auto shops before I got my car serviced.  I'm sure I could have saved a substantial amount by doing so compared to what I ended up paying the dealer.

Don't gamble on new technology formats.   If I had held off a few more months before buying the HD-DVD player then the format war would have ended and I could have then safely used my money and bought a Blu-ray player.

You're still going to make simple mistakes in purchases.   The dog house, remote control and lawn edger are products that I really thought I'd use but just ended up not using. 

1 comment:

  1. Once I bought a rowing machine for $900 that I'd only seen online. I'd tried a rowing machine at the gym, a Concept 2, and liked it; but this was a different kind of rowing machine, with different resistance, and I ended up hating it and found out the advertising claims were wrong.
    You can't sue about false advertising claims. Only complain.
    It took a lot of work to sell the thing.
    I realized later I'd bought it mostly because I liked the photo that was used to advertise it.
    And the one-month return right didn't help either. I only came to hate it later. There were red flags within the first month, like the machine was first delivered broken and they had to replace half of it for me. After the one month was over I found I was no longer getting a good workout from the machine. It was a magnetic rowing machine and I found if you want to get a good aerobic workout, air resistance, like the Concept 2 has, is better.
    I wished I'd returned it when they first delivered it broken. They didn't package it well for shipping, and a company that can't ship right doesn't have its act together.
    I wished I'd asked a lot online about a major purchase like that. I only checked on Amazon and there were only a few reviews.
    It's not a good idea to rely on return periods, either. Once you have a thing, the threshold for returning it is fairly high. It takes effort and expense for shipping. So I try to buy things as if there weren't a right to return it.


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