Regrettable purchases

Meredith over at Like Merchant Ships is asking people to share stories of purchases they regretted. Sadly, I have no trouble thinking of a few. In the kitchen dept, it would be the juicer and the bread machine, neither of which I have used in the last year or so. Hubby advised strongly against the juicer, but I was bent on it. I did use it some when my son broke his jaw, but mostly we eat our fruit whole instead of squeezing the life out of it and sticking the drippings into a glass.

In the ‘bigger items’ department, I’d have to mention our horses. My husband wasn’t thrilled about that purchase either– guess I really ought to listen to the man– he’s got good instincts! We just got rid of the last horse last month, after having 1-2 at a time around for nearly a decade. For a very brief time, one of my daughters actually used the horses (after begging non-stop for 3 years to have one!). But most of the time they were just ‘pasture ornaments’ as my husband says — AND money pits, of course. I don’t think we’ll be talked into horses again. If our younger girls show an interest, we’ll tell them to save their money til they have their own place.

Currently we are trying to decide about a swimming pool. Last year we had a 10 ft by 30 inch pool with an inflatable upper ring. It was awesome and the kids enjoyed it so much, but it has now died. (I think it lasted 2 summers– not bad for $40.) We are toying with the idea of getting something big– above-ground, but in the range of 18 feet across and 4 feet deep. That would be more like $500, besides the cost of fencing, since we’d need to make it 3-year-old-proof. Oh, and we would probably want a little deck along one side of it. At least another $500. Pretty expensive, but from our experience last year, I KNOW the kids would be in it every day, probably a couple times a day. We live a bit out of town, so it would be really nice to have a really fun thing to do right here at home. And what a fun thing to invite friends to do. It’s just hard to know if it is too extravagant a purchase, esp given the added hazard for the 3 year old. We’d really have to watch her like hawks, and if soomething ever happened. ….I can’t go there. On the plus side of the pool, my husband is leaning towards getting one. And we should be getting that tax incentive soon…but wouldn’t it be better to pay down our mortgage? Decisions, decision…..

How about you? Have you made any purchases you regret? Have any you’re waffling over right now?

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  1. I used our breadmaker to bits, though we had a juicer once and never used it. I’d say our water softener was our worst ever purchase.

    Pools are nice but I HATE caring for them. My dad had one up for the kids but we don’t have enough warm days and they prefer swimming in the pond anyway.

  2. We had an above-ground pool several years ago and the kids did use it alot when we had warm-enough weather, but my husband didn’t like the upkeep so now we are looking into investing in a trampoline. Less upkeep but I hope they continue to enjoy it beyond the first month or so.

  3. I would love and juicer and would use it! But unfortunately, I can’t get myself to buy one – too many other things. See my problem is the opposite, I agonize over things for so long I make my life probably more difficult. I so desperately want to pay out mortgage down and our 1 car payment off that I have a hard time justifying. I know I would use it, before we were married my mom had one and I juiced carrots all the time – I loved it!

    Anyway… my most recent regret would be some cloth diapers I bought for my toddler and don’t fit him. I can’t return them because I got them used, in good condition, off a swap. But considering I paid a little under 60% the regular new price.. it’s not so bad. I’m sure when I get the time to sell them online I can get what I paid. Still.. I hate to see them just sitting there. Blah!!!

    2 things I really want that we’ve considered for the last 3 years : fencing in the backyard, and getting a big swingset. (I, too, have too many pool fears with little ones at the moment)

  4. Hmm. Not sure I have anything big that I regret. have small purchases that I regret…….such as the oodles of $ spent on collecting vintage glassware…..when we moved gave it all away to friends.

    I think the pool sounds lovely. I would get a good fence that your daughter could not climb and make sure it locks and only you will have a key. We considered a pool, but water is so very expensive on the coast, so it would have been too costly to fill and maintain.

    Sometimes having fun trumps being practcal, and I can imagine the pool will be very enjoyable!

  5. We had an above ground pool growing up and it was great-one thing that helped with safety (besides the fence around the pool that is) is that my dad made steps up to the little deck that had hinges where the steps met the deck. At the end of anyone’s “swimming session”, we had to flip the steps up and we had a combination bike lock that went around them so we never had to mess with keys and only our family knew the combo. It was great, easy and there was not really any way for a tiny kiddo to get in there w/o climbing gear and some serious scaling skills!!

  6. Since we live only a block from our town pool and park, I never even had to think about our own pool.
    My father-in-law bought our family Pass every summer and we made great use of it!

    My sister and her husband had an above ground pool while their son was school age. She absolutely hated the maintenance time and expense of chemicals.
    As soon as the kid got too tall to really do much with it, they got it dismantled and put in a few more rose bushes along the fence.

    A purchase I have regrets about was rollerblades. I bought a nice pair, plus all the safety extras like wrist supports.
    It was about the time that the town pulled up the abandoned train tracks, paved over the bed and made a nice long hiking trail as a recreation area.

    I thought WOW! as a kid, I always loved the skating rink when our Girl Scout troop went there, so a nice long trail would be great exercise!

    In-line wheels are quite different than skates with 4 corner wheels. I could barely get from our front porch to the neighbor’s driveway.
    So I decided to take lessons offered at the sporting goods store where I got the skates.
    That afternoon we got a thunderstorm like no other. There was still an inch of water in puddles in the area.
    I was about 2 feet from the starting place when I went down. I really bruised my right side, pinky finger, and hip, not to mention wet clothes for the rest of the lesson.

    The skates went back into their box, where they remained in the hall closet for 4 years before I donated them to the church rummage sale.

    I’m liking our recent purchase of a treadmill as my exercise buddy.

  7. The one thing I wouldn’t do again is have a big wedding. That was a lot of money for just one day!

    The things I’m contemplating are
    1. a pair of leopard tortoises
    2. an 80 acre property/house
    3. a new sewing machine

  8. I love my juicer, I use it when I fast, and I just discovered that veggie juice tastes much better mixed with fruit juice. 🙂

    Regretted purchases? Tons of clothes I’ve given away new or nearly new because I bought them the wrong size or changed sizes right after buying. Homeshcool curriculum that I didn’t research or pray about enough that really didn’t fit our style or what I was looking for. Bulk vitamins. Yuck.

    Nothing too big or serious, thankfully!

  9. One of the BEST purchases was our pool. I do understand your concern with safety…we use a pool alarm. I’m sure you could find a less expensive one, when I googled it I found this one to give you an idea:

    For far less money you can get a gate alarm for the fence around the pool.

    Best Wishes!

  10. I had an in ground pool, and it takes a lot of time and money to keep it clean! Add in the cost of chemicals to your calculation. Having said that, the kids had the best time in it. We fenced off the whole area and that worked really well.

  11. a condo-my husband had to take a job in a city about 3 hours away and we decided not to move the whole family and give up my job–yet, so we bought a townhouse condo and he would come home on weekends and occasionally I went there–it was fun. Less than a year after we bought it, the company closed his division and he was jobless. The condo is now on the market, and we all know what the housing market is like. To add insult to injury, my husband had to take a job 3 hours in the other direction from our house–this time we are renting. So now we rent, we have a mortgage on a condo, and we have our own mortgage–and my oldest goes to college next year. You just never know what the future might bring.

  12. I’m not a fan of swimming pools we live on an island with many lakes and a VERY cold ocean. I don’t like the idea of my kids having a chemical bath every day.

    Our community is opening an indoor pool and is using alternative treatment methods. That my kids will only use for swim lessons and swim team practices.

    I’m peculiar in many ways one of my personal feelings is doing things in season ie skate in winter, swim in summer.

    The biggest waste of money in my life time is those 1yr memberships at exercise clubs that I use NEVER use any where close to a year.

  13. Oooh, what a good story. Thanks for linking, Mary!

  14. I can only think of a pair of pant I bought last month on credit, as my only regret. Not so much compared to your stuff. What do you do with them then?

  15. We started out with in above ground 12 ft. swimming pool about 15 years ago. We loved it so much, we then got a 24 ft. above ground and about 5 years ago my husband and sons built an in ground pool. Safety with little ones has always been a very high priority to me so with the above ground pools, the step for it were hinged and when the last person got out, they flipped the steps up and locked them. With the in ground, it has a locking cover on it as well as a locking 6 ft. fence around it. Our pools have been one of our best investments. Mary, feel free to give us a call if you want and talk to my husband about the pools and any tips for upkeep, etc. It is great family fun.

  16. i have regrets purchasing my camera. quality sucks! hope it wont happen again on my other stuffs!

  17. I, too, have regretted the horse thing 🙂 But, I did want to share that our big pool was one of the best purchases we have made. We LOVE it and practically live in it in the summer!

  18. I miss my horse but would not do that again. I was off again on again with the juicer, and gave it away – too much to clean, too much time but I loved the results.

    We have a small in ground pool and our well fills it, so it is not terribly costly, though it does get very warm by August here in the South. We didn’t open it since we got our youngest from Ethiopia because she did not listen well and I had nightmares of what might happen. But, a friend took out her fence last year and gave it to us, so we just have to put it up this year and we will have a fenced pool. I want to do it because our new son needs to learn to swim and I know they will all LOVE it. I think with a family your size, it is a good investment, especially since you have older kids to help keep eyes on the younger ones.

    Can’t wait to see your book!!

  19. I bought a timeshare in Mexico a couple of years ago. And then when my husband and I went to Vegas we bought another one! The really stupid thing is that we’re self employed and can’t even afford the time off to use them. A HUGE waste of money. And we went to the “presentations” because they promised us some ridiculous free gift (not so free now, is it) Oh, I could just kick myself!

  20. We LOVE LOVE our pool! Yes it costs to upkeep, but is well worth it for the hours upon hours of fun for all!! We also have a trampoline with a net. We’ve had one for 8 years or so, and they STILL use it daily. Both were costs well worth it, now my $1000, 100 lb. Kirby vacuum on the other hand….

  21. A smaller purchase I regret is the quesadilla maker that I never use and it just takes up space in my kitchen. A big purchase that I regret is the second dog. Our first dog ran away, and I was heartbroken and a month later I got another puppy. I think I was expecting the second dog to replace the first one, but she ended up having a much different personality. Not to mention – PUPPIES require so much care! I just didn’t have the patience with her. We gave her away 3 months after we got her. I regret bringing her into our home just to ship her off to another one; I regret all the money we spent; I regret how it affected the cats because the puppy was MEAN to them. I also got some pretty nasty comments on my blog when I announced I was going to give away my dog! (Telling me I should never have children because obviously I was an unfit parent… that any puppy would be better off than with me… etc.) That really hurt – and still does – and it makes me sad that I got attacked for such a difficult decision. 🙁

  22. The purchase I most regret (oh, many) of late is the one we recently moved up to the attic until I get organized enough to put it up on ebay. It’s wheat grinder/mill thing. I was on an organic kick and determined that fresh milled wheat was WAY more wholesome and healthy and so on. I bake my own bread often, but not always and I thought this would complete that circle. Hmm. Used it maybe 3 times. It was wonderful and delicious and just NOT something I am gonna use w/ so many kids in the house (6 kids, one in college, one coming home – hopefully soon – from ethiopia). So. It was expensive and is great but not realistic. And it’s price would’a bought a LOT of bread! Ha!

    Now, the pool…that’s a winner! We waffled for literally TEN years about putting in a pool. It was so expensive and it needed to be in ground. Finally, we did. And man, it is fantastic and the best place for us all to hang as a family…we wish we had done it years ago. It was the money and the safety issues that held us back. But if you can work those out (safety = fence and/or cover, and stern rules) it’s awesome. No regrets at all! Go for it!

  23. If you’re worried about chemicals, one alternative is salt or ionized. My SIL has this, and it’s heaven.

    Regrettable buys?
    Back in the 80’s, memberships to warehouse ‘at cost’ furniture stores.
    Water and air filtrations systems
    A Ford Windstar the first year it was manufactured.

    Lemons all of them.

  24. Oh I can really relate to this. To try to get over (emotionally) a failed adoption (prior to placement) a couple of months ago, I decided I needed a few days away with my Bible to rest, relax, pray and heal. I found a reasonable B&B/hotel that looked beautiful. A stunning countryside home that was 200 years old, beautiful gardens, a jacuzzi with unlimited use. It was pricy, pretty much the remainder of what was left in the savings (lost most of the adoption fees and some travel fee), about $1500 for the week. Not something I would normally do, but after failed adoption and a very very nasty viral infection I coudln’t shake I decided I had to do this for myself.
    Arrived to find:
    junk slewed across the front and back yard
    no nice gardens
    the beautiful home was only for owners, the guests were in a converted out building
    the bedrooms on the site were nothing like the rooms in this other building
    the shower didn’t work, it was cold, you could not use the jacuzzi.
    I left after a day and a half, but they charged for 4 as part of their cancellation policy, so in all I had to pay $800.
    I feel quite sick about spending that money for a day and a half, but I was really backed into a corner and was scared (went on my own) they’d say I would have to pay the full amount.
    So I’m home with $800 less now having to start saving all over again, the 3 years of frugal living to have adopting savings is all gone 🙁
    Yes, my worst “purchase” was this week at this hotel!!!!

  25. must be the full reclined lounge seat.

    Took up space, mainly useless and way too costly.

  26. Absolutely please get the pool. We loved our pool and the kids enjoyed it for years. We always had pool parties and we fenced it for safety of course. At first when the kids were little, we were always worried, but with the proper precautions, it really is a joy. Since we moved when the kids were 13 and 16, and our new home does not have a pool, I have to say, we miss it! I think you will get so much pleasure and joy if you put it in. Please do not pay down your mortgage over this. That really doesn’t make a big difference in the long run and meanwhile having a pool is so much more joy for your entire family.

  27. Michelle G-I might be able to take your grain grinder off your hands for you. I use my MIL’s whenever I’m at her house. I really want one. What kind is it?

    My greatest regret is still our first mattress. We bought an IKEA spring mattress. We paid $700 for the best one. My hubby wanted a custom made futon mattress, but I was pregnant and wanted the softer mattress. We saw a similar mattress in the as is room for $200 but went with the one we had chosen. within a year it was lumpy and uncomfortable but we were stuck with it. We kept that mattress 4 years before finally passing it on. I will never buy a spring mattress again. High density foam and cotton all the way man. it doesn’t jiggle when the other person moves. I love it.

  28. I’m obviously way behind in blog reading/commenting, but I thought I’d share a little tip from one pool owner to another. We have 6 kids, two of which are 5 and 2. We have an alarm on our back door, but once you’re in the backyard, the whole thing is a pool and patio. There is a play structure in one area, and an ESPN game center in another. We also just go out in the backyard to eat and enjoy the beautiful weather sometimes. With no fence around our pool, these activities include an inherent danger. We have found a solution though. Our 5 year old is a fairly confident swimmer, but is never allowed in the pool without a life vest unless he has one on one adult supervision. He does not need to wear the vest when he is participating in other activities in the backyard. Our two year old must have her vest on at all times if she steps outside the backdoor. It is a “heads-up” vest, which means it is a vest with another portion attached at the neck. If the child falls in the water, it will always cause them to flip over face up. We just bought her a new one at Wal-mart for the rather frugal price of $12.88. Not bad for the peace of mind for us and the safety for her. Enjoy your new pool. It is the best investment we have ever made!!!!

  29. If I could talk my husband into getting a pool, we would have had one a couple of years ago. Unfortunately, in my neighborhood, they do not allow above ground pools (except if you have one of the inflatable ring ones that will only be up for the Summer), so if we want a pool, it will be at least 30K. 🙁 We belong to a pool, but it’s NOT the same as having your own.

    My biggest regrettable purchase is my current house. I wish that we would have bought in a neighborhood that has a community pool.