According to Wikipedia, buyer’s remorse is “an emotional condition whereby a person feels remorse or regret after a purchase.” It often refers to higher-priced items that are difficult or impossible to return, thereby making the buyer feel like, well, a complete idiot.
If you’ve ever felt a twinge of regret or self-doubt and caught yourself saying “I should have known better,” then you’ve definitely experienced the heartache of buyer’s remorse.
Buyer’s remorse most often occurs after you discover you…
1) were sweet-talked by a smooth-talking salesman into buying something you didn’t really need, or
2) were goaded into buying something you didn’t really want because of a high-pressure sales pitch, or
3) were caught in a moment of weakness and made an impulse buy, or
4) failed to do the proper research and/or verify your ability to really afford it.
I saw a commercial that said four out of five dentists surveyed have experienced a severe bout of buyer’s remorse at least once or twice in their lifetime. And although I’m not a dentist, I did write a guest post over at Ask Mr. Credit Card chronicling one of my worst experiences with buyer’s remorse.
It’s okay to admit it, you know – we’re not the only ones crying in our (root) beers. To prove it, I asked a few of my favorite bloggers to share some of their stories. So grab a tissue and let the pity party begin!
From Ray, proprietor of Financial Highway: My worst purchase was a CyberShot 3.2 megapixel digital camera I bought six years ago for almost $1000 on credit while a student with no income.
From J. Money, proprietor of Budgets Are Sexy: Haha…Does my house count? Whenever I hear “buyer’s remorse,” the first thing that comes to mind is my house. Not that it was the only thing I’ve ever questioned (I can’t even count THOSE numbers of times), but just that it’s the only product you can’t return and get your money back when you need to. I love our 3-level lake view townhouse dearly, but what I wouldn’t give to be back in the city rockin’ out in a cozy 1 bedroom condo! Now is this anyone’s fault other than my own? Nope. And have I learned a lot about getting my finances on track and being more responsible? Oh yeah. But if I could do things over (and keep the knowledge I have now), I would totally go back to renting and feeling “un-trapped.” Whether my wife would be okay it or not, however, is a whole other story.
From Moneywatch: My worst recent purchase was the bike I bought to save money after I got rid of my car. It cost £110 ($175) and I have ridden it three times in a year.
From Tom, proprietor of The Canadian Finance Blog: I bought a car a few years ago without getting it inspected or having its records checked. Turned out the car was in an accident and written off. When I did get it looked at, the rear bumper was partially held on by duck tape!
From Four Pillars: My house – we rushed into a huge remodel project without knowing the costs. Things worked out okay but it wasn’t a good move. The renovation was too expensive and as a result, the house ended up costing a lot more than planned. We just didn’t research it.
From Jason, proprietor of Redeeming Riches: I bought a brand new car on a “Smart Buy” from GM, not realizing a balloon payment was due four years later – buyer’s remorse kicked in then!
From The Investor, proprietor of Monevator: Buyer’s remorse kicked in over my iPhone almost as soon as I bought it. For a start, I’m not using anything like enough of its functions, and have barely downloaded a dozen apps so far. Worse, some of those are financial apps making it tempting to check up on the stock market index level — a bad, wealth-destroying habit if it encourages you to over-trade. The camera isn’t as good as I expected, and 3G coverage is poor where I live. Adding to the misery, like any good money blogger, I worked out the total iPhone bill in advance for my 18 months minimum ownership, so I know I am paying over $1,500 in your pesos for the pleasure of this disappointment. Finally, to buy it I had to track it down via multiple shops and phone calls — there was a run on 3GS iPhones in London at the time — which reminded me how time-consuming buying stuff is. I mean to blog about all this, but unfortunately the blog I actually did write about the iPhone — before I bought it — was about how buying one can make you money. The idea behind that post is that too much abstaining things is bad for your money-making morale. My next post will be more straightforward: “Buying stuff costs a fortune, isn’t worth it, and could have been spent on income producing stocks instead.” Bah humbug!
From The Bobo, proprietor of The Bobo Files: Do marriages count?
From Paul, proprietor of Fiscal Geek: My worst ever was a Chinese ATV for my son that I spend about 60 minutes per attempt to ride to get the battery charged and engine to run. My son still uses it, but it causes me to curse it every time; the safety strap comes out often on turns, killing the engine. I had to replace the battery three times and it takes 15 minutes to “warm-up” even when the temp is 80 degrees F outside – but I saved $400. Yeah right.
From Bret, proprietor of Bret Frohlich dot Com: We lost the transmission in our minivan and I needed to buy something quick for my wife to get the kids around. My wife wanted a Jeep Cherokee. I found a ’94 Country Edition for around $4300 at one of those flea-bag dealers and we bought it with a credit card. My thinking at the time was that I definitely didn’t want to buy a new vehicle on five years of payments. And, the Jeeps I was looking at were too cheap to get a car loan from my bank. So, I figured I would just drop it on the card and make some big payments and I would have it paid off in about a year. Unfortunately life doesn’t always go as planned. Two and a half years later I paid off the credit card, right about the time the Jeep died. I don’t recommend anyone else try this at home.
Speaking of credit cards…from Mr. Credit Card, proprietor of Ask Mr. Credit Card: Buyer’s remorse? – uh, taking a loan on my car rather than paying cash… because I could have sold stocks at the highs in the early part of 2008!
From SpendOnLife: My worst purchase ever: Zebra print jeans, 8th grade, $90 of my Christmas savings money, and I wore them once… money lesson learned!
From Hawk, proprietor of The Debt Hawk: While I love my house now, at the time I bought it, I experienced buyer remorse. It was such a big purchase I over-analyzed it.
From SVB, proprietor of The Digerati Life: As participants in the dot com boom and subsequent bust, my household at one point had felt comfortable enough to take on big projects for our house. We bought a new house right at the end of the dot com boom and felt compelled to make further improvements to it — my spouse and I earmarked some stock options to pay for those improvements. Lo and behold, after committing to the projects and several months into the work, the dot com bust begun in earnest. The value of our stock options evaporated quickly and I felt immediate buyer’s remorse! We had redeemed just enough of those options to pay for the projects, but it still did not remove my guilt for instigating the job. In hindsight, I do NOT regret the improvements — I enjoy my home everyday; however, I consider it to be the worst timed purchase I ever made. And if the bust happened earlier, we would never have signed up for the work (and wouldn’t have bought the home entertainment system that we ended up owning).
From Me Without Debt: I usually think through big purchases and don’t remorse, even though I may be disappointed. My buyer’s remorse comes from many small-to-medium sized purchases like expensive meal upgrades at restaurants… or extra drinks you buy when you are slightly drunk.
Boy, what a bunch of dolts! Can you believe most of these people are dispensing financial advice faster than the U.S. Treasury is printing money? Hey, now – I’m just kidding!!!
But honestly, stupid purchases happen to almost all of us – at least those of us who are willing to admit it.
I’d like to give a big THANK YOU to everybody who took a chance and shared their story with me! If you have a sad story of buyer’s remorse that can top some of the ones you just read, why don’t you take a minute and leave a comment so we can all share your pain? Pretty please?? After all, misery loves company, right?
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