Ten Things I’ve Bought That Were A Complete Waste of Money

January 19, 2012 | Kate Horrell

Nobody’s a perfect shopper, and I am certainly not.  Every once in a while, I buy something that has absolutely no value for my family.  Each time I realize that something was a bad idea, I have all sorts of feelings:  frustration, embarrassment, guilt.  “I can’t believe that I wasted good money on this.”  “What was I thinking?”  “Duh!”

I’m sure you’ve got your own list as well, but maybe you will find mine humorous.  (Or depressing, depending on how many of these things are on your own bad purchase list.)

  1. Cat scratching pole/pad.  Several times.  I’m an optimist.  Does anyone know of a cat that actually scratches on their scratching pad or pole?  I have never seen it happen, yet I continue to be tempted by the advertisements or packaging.  I keep thinking that I am going to save my furniture…
  2. New upholstery on antique furniture.  (See number one.)
  3. Far too many items of “not right” clothes that were worn only one or two times before I figured out that they weren’t going to work for me.  It is truly shocking how awful my judgement can be, particularly when it comes to clothes and shoes.  At least when I’ve made the purchases at the thrift store or consignment shop, I’m not out a lot of money.  But still, how hard can it be to buy clothing?
  4. Automatic cat watering contraption.  (See number one.)
  5. Most exercise equipment or contracted gym memberships.  Yes, gym clothes have usually been a good investment for me, and I’ve probably gotten value from my basic equipment like hand weights and some of the DVDs.  But anything larger than a pair of tennis shoes is likely to gather dust and waste space.  And as for those gym memberships…I know some people get good use out of them, but I tend to go in fits and spurts.  A twelve month membership isn’t much of a bargain if you only go for four of the twelve months.
  6. A storage unit for all the stuff we couldn’t fit in our house.  Now, there were many mitigating circumstances.  We were moving a family of five into the teensy, weensy house we’d purchased as newlyweds, and we’d inherited a bunch of junk stuff along the way.   For some reason, we only thought that we’d be there for 18 months.  It all seemed so sensible at the time.  But however I rationalized that choice in the past, I have declared that we’re not doing that again.  If it isn’t important enough to keep in your house, it isn’t important enough to pay to store.
  7. Cat collars. And leashes.  Sigh.  Noticing a theme here?
  8. Any number of tools/crafting items/kitchen items/gadgets that get used once a year or less.  Sure, it is nifty to be able to peel and core and slice an apple in less than a minute, but how often is that really an important part of your work load?  The price per use on any item is pretty high if you only use it once a year.  This is not to say that I don’t believe that people should own good quality tools for things that you do everyday.  I reckon a good set of pots and pans is worth somewhere near a bjillion dollars if you are trying to be frugal and cook three meals a day at home.
  9. Ginormous vats of protein powder.  Why is protein powder only sold in gallon buckets?  Every year or so, I think that I’m going to start whipping up delicious smoothies or baked good that contain protein powder.  I head to the store, looking for a little container with which to experiment, and end up with this gargantuan container with enough protein powder for an entire bodybuilding team.  And then I try it, and remember that protein powder tastes awful.  And it sits in my pantry until we move again, or I remember to give it to my brother who doesn’t find it so revolting.
  10. Plastic tubs to store our excess stuff.  This is sort of related to number six.  If it isn’t important enough to have it out, and used regularly, or looked at and loved, then why do you own it?  Who needs a box full of spare fabric, or old cassette tapes, or assorted stationery?  And what sort of life involves spending your days opening and digging through plastic tubs?  Rather than spending good money buying storage containers, I would have been better off getting rid of the excess stuff to begin with.  Now, don’t get me wrong…plastic storage tubs can be very useful tools for a variety of purposes.  However, using them to separate and label your junk doesn’t make the stuff inside any more valuable.

I hope that you have found this entertaining, or enlightening, or both.  I’d love to hear what sort of purchases you have regretted.  It is a fascinating topic.