A recent post by David at My Two Dollars inspired me to review my own budgeting records from 2007 and think about whether I'd made good use of all the money I'd spent. Here are some things I wish I hadn't purchased and why.
An expensive sushi dinner at a mediocre sushi restaurant - $40. I've decided that when I'm craving sushi, nothing but the best will do. I will not waste $40 on sub-par sushi anymore. (Admittedly, a $40 sushi dinner is actually showing some restraint on my part--I adore the stuff.)
Expensive haircuts - $206: The last expensive haircut I had didn't look any better than if I'd gone to a low-priced chain. So maybe I will, next time, or maybe I'll just wear my hair up so no one can tell how long it's been since my last trim.
Melatonin $13: I bought a bottle of melatonin pills from a health food store to help me overcome jetlag on an overseas trip. They don't do a thing for me. I wish I had spent the money on Nyquil instead.
Car rental I didn't need, $79: When visiting some friends out of town, I rented a car. I probably should have just let them drive me around instead, because the only thing I used the car for was to spend more money taking myself to the mall and out to eat!
Getting my check engine light checked at an overpriced mechanic because I was impatient, $89: I should have just gotten a ride to work or taken the bus instead of insisting on driving my own car to the mechanic as soon as the check engine light went on. Now, I have an OBD-II reader so I can conveniently and inexpensively check the engine light myself.
Thanksgiving plane ticket, $322: It's not a bad price for a holiday plane ticket, but if I had made up my mind about where I wanted to go earlier, I could have flown for free with my frequent flyer miles. The particularly annoying thing about this plane ticket was that I purchased it through Cheap Tickets, who didn't manage to put my plane seat requests through to the airline. This got me stuck in the last row both to and from my destination and nearly got me bumped off my flight on the way back. I'll never purchase through them again!
Pants and purses from Goodwill to re-sell on eBay, $21: This seemed like a great idea, but I wasn't able to sell any of them, which ended up being a frustrating waste of time and money, particularly since I hate the funky smell and disorganization of thrift stores.
Gardening supplies, $80: My garden didn't produce a thing this year. Add this $80 to the $200 or so I spent last year and you've got the most expensive twenty-five sugar snap peas and seven cherry tomatoes I've ever eaten.
eBay shipping, $30: I perpetually underestimate the cost of shipping my old stuff that I sell on eBay, and then I lose money. I don't want to depress myself by actually adding up these numbers, so we'll just call it $30. Since then, I've bought a shipping scale that weighs items up to fifty pounds--I figure it will pay for itself pretty quickly.
Overall, I'm happy to say that I feel most of my purchases this year were money well-spent. Of course, I certainly wish I hadn't needed to spend $2000 on dental work and other such unanticipated required expenses, but that's life. Overall, I wasted close to $900 on the items described here (which was even more in pre-tax income), and while I'm not beating myself up over it, I'll certainly strive to waste less money next year.
Photo by B Tal