“Even looking like Beyoncé wasn’t worth the $500 I had paid” (A tale of buyer’s remorse)

Additional writing by Olivia Fairhurst 

Extravagant, impulse purchases, overspending or just plain wasting money on things you don’t need. We’ve all had that moment of temporary insanity where we just had to have something.

You justify it to yourself effortlessly and then it’s yours! And you’ve never been happier. Until a few months later when you uncover it from the corner of your wardrobe, dusty and misshapen. Oops.

The word “wardrobe” is the key here because the majority of my regrettable purchases have been dictated by the fickle fashion witch, following fashion trends. I don’t like being reminded of my wasteful ways, particularly when I mentally add up how much money I’ve blown over the years.  In fact, I could fill up my freestanding copper bathtub with all the dollar coins I have wasted on foolish purchases over time. Come to think of it, I might just do that because no-one ever uses the bathtub, even though it looks glamorous. But that’s another story and a lingering regret I have over taking TV renovation shows too seriously.

They say every wasteful purchase has a redeeming lining. I can honestly say my anxiety and stresses have been the result of small splurges that have turned into mistakes. This is in stark contrast to some people who suffer endless buyer’s remorse over big-ticket items like a house or a car. With the latter, there are numerous chilling stories about lemons. With the former, some underestimate the true price of putting down roots. Others hate the feeling of being trapped in a house they can’t immediately leave if the whim takes them. It’s a psychological nightmare as well as a money-sucking exercise, all under the dubious guise of an ‘investment’.

In a curious twist of Murphy’s Law, there’s no escape from the emotional damage inflicted on you through a simple buying mistake. For instance, if you go ahead and buy something, then wished you hadn’t, expect to feel the sting of buyer’s remorse – guilt and anxiety – for making this purchase decision. Yet, you may feel the same emotions if you say ‘no’ to a purchase. This is called ‘buyer’s regret’. We all know how it works – you want to kick yourself for not buying that set of very affordable wine glasses, and spend the rest of the day filled with buyer’s regret.  Damned if you do. Damned if you don’t.

Let your heart tell you where to go, but let your brain tell you how to get there. As if. I wouldn’t be writing this exposé if I had followed this retail therapy rehab mantra. Here are some things I’ve wasted too much money on over the years resulting in buyer’s remorse. These things (and I do mean that, they are just ‘things’ after all. Nothing of importance) add up quickly. Not just space-wise, cluttering your house, but money-wise, too.

For me, wasting money usually boils down to impulse buys or laziness preventing me from returning an item. I’m working to change things.

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Buyer’s remorse: Not every purchase is a good one.

Buyer’s remorse 1: Shoes that don’t fit 

I can think of at least two pairs of shoes in my wardrobe right now that I’ve never worn, not even once, because they don’t fit. But I paid for them and never returned them. And here we are, years later, and they just sit there taunting me, ghosts of money wasted.

Excessive amounts of Tupperware

We don’t have a dishwasher and sometimes lunch containers get lost in bags, the car boot, or just sit around a little too long for me to be comfortable hand washing them and knowing they’re truly clean. So, I throw them out. A waste, I know, but it happens. And you guessed it, every new purchase is paired with buyer’s remorse.  I’ve switched to glass recently so it’s easier to clean and harder to throw away. And anyway, it’s always great to be environmentally friendly!

Beyoncé jumpsuit

I once purchased a gorgeous $500 white silk jumpsuit because I thought it made me look like Beyoncé. In truth, it kind of did.

But I later realised that even looking like Beyoncé wasn’t worth the $500 I had paid. I felt so ill spending that kind of money on something as singular as a jumpsuit (as opposed to, say, a winter coat), that I couldn’t even enjoy it.

With an item that expense, it’s not likely you’ll get your money’s worth out of it and before you know it, it’s a fashion trend of the past. I returned it the next day, much to the perplexity of the sales assistant who said the jumpsuit was clearly made for me. Or Beyoncé.

That $500 could easily go into your savings account where you’ll feel gratified in the opposing feelings of happiness and pride. No buyer’s remorse over here. Compare savings accounts interest rates below.

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Clothes that don’t suit me

How often have you gone into a store you regularly shop at for basic tops and thought to yourself, “I shop here all the time, I don’t need to try this on”, only to get home and find out they had changed the cut of the shirt that season and, simply put, you just aren’t a fan of the new style. You think you’ll wear it eventually but you never do and it remains sat in your wardrobe serving no purpose other than taking up space.

Anything I ever bought because I needed retail therapy

You know what will never, ever lift a bad mood (unless you’re Sofia Vergara)? Trying on swimsuits. I’ve learned that lesson the hard way many times. Just go home and do a kickboxing workout until the endorphins are flowing. You save money and you get to uppercut your frustrations away. So really, retail therapy isn’t always actually therapy because a lot of the time, it turns into buyer’s remorse. The best way to lift spirits is to opt for forms of therapy that have a lasting effect and don’t burn a dreaded hole in the pocket.

Video games

I love video games, give me some Mario Kart any day. We have numerous game systems and I often find a game I want to play. The problem? I’m physically incapable of playing a game more than a couple of times, much less finishing it. We’ve recently started selling our games online because I’m ashamed of how many games we have accumulated and wasted money on. Hopefully, the sales will return a pittance of that money! My tip to you is to try hiring games from your local library and that way you won’t have to deal with buyer’s remorse or that unnecessary clutter. Win, win.

Half-hearted fitness goals

The Weight Watchers membership which I never fully committed to. That Fitbit I had to have but stopped wearing months ago. The fancy yoga membership I only used a few times. Those brand-new sneakers. Armbands. Headphones. Spandex. Sports bras. Anything I thought would motivate me. You’d think I’d have learnt by now. My advice to you to achieve your fitness goals, is to find exercise that brings you joy, even if it is lighter than what social media presents to you as the ideal form of exercise. Expectations will always be there but self-love is something we should contribute to each and every day.

Yellow eyeshadow or any beauty and fashion trends for that matter.

Yes, it was a hideously expensive designer brand but it was yellow. I considered it a personal challenge to make this work and not look jaundiced. I failed. I also bought a matching nail polish (I blame the persuasive department store sales girl). It looked great in the bottle but it made me look like I had some terrible fungal nail infection. Needless to say, it went straight in the bin.

Following on from the above, my bathroom cupboard is groaning under the weight of hundreds of bottles of toner, moisturiser, night cream, concealer, make up setter and a plethora of other expensive products. They just take up space because I feel like I’m throwing away money if I get rid of them.  The truth is, I was actually throwing away the money when I bought them.

A rule of thumb with fashion trends is that if it suddenly appears out of nowhere and is quite unusual at that, it is most likely a fashion trend! New Zealand street fashion roots from outfits worn by everyday people, just like you and I, so why not make a stand and be apart of that creation. Wear what you like when you like, and once you’ve reached that stage in confidence, people will notice! It’s true what they say, there’s nothing like a girl with confidence.

If you need some good budgeting tips, we have plenty. Here are some, budgeting & savings apps worth checking out and also take a look at useful tips on how to budget.

Your relationship with money

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