Thursday, June 19, 2008

Thursday Money Tips: Not-So-Well-Spent Edition

Each Thursday, Ms. Moneypenny provides 5 money tips. Have a tip you'd like to add? Leave a comment and I'll add it to a later edition.

Last week I talked about things that were worth the money to us. Here's a few things I've spent money on that just weren't, and the lessons they have taught me.

1. Wasted food
It happens. No matter how hard I try to stay on top of things, an open jar gets forgotten at the back of the refridgerator, or something rots in the crisper. I don't have an estimate on how much food gets wasted per year in this way, and perhaps I don't want to know. Most of the time it's not much, but tossing that asparagus a couple weeks ago hurt.

Lesson learned: We need to stay on top of what's in need of eating better, and plan our menus around it.

2. Shoes and clothes that don't get worn
I used to be something of a clotheshorse. I'd buy things because they looked good, not necessarily because it fit well. I shudder to think of all the money I wasted over the years on uncomfortable shoes and clothes that weren't practical or wearable. As part of my de-Stuffing efforts, I'm working on getting rid of some of the things that I just don't wear or use. Consignment shops and donation bins are my friend.

Lesson learned: Buy what's comfortable, usable and serves a purpose. Useful and attractive are not mutually exclusive, but buying those shoes just for looks ensures they will sit in the closet so I don't get blisters.

3. Skin care products that don't work
I have sensitive skin. Over the years I've bought about every product on the market. Most of these purchases I've regretted quite a bit, especially the super expensive cleansers and creams. Now I use just a few reasonably priced products that work great.

Lesson learned: Just because it's expensive, doesn't mean it works better. Get samples before sinking big dollars into skin care.

4. 20 yards of grey silk velvet
I bought it years ago. I won't get into why. It's still sitting in a storage bin in the attic. I'm not yet able to part with it.....although I'm getting there. I still have this idea that maybe I'll use it. For something.

Lesson learned: buy project stuff for only identified projects. Don't just buy it because of someday. It will sit in your attic. Or mine, as it were. Need some velvet?

5. A really expensive bag
A couple years ago, I bought a Coach bag. I was consulting, making good money, and I wanted to spoil myself. I bought it on sale, but still. Honestly - I love this thing. Why do I regret it? Because it's a cranberry color, and suede. Good for the fall. When the weather is perfect. A single drop of rain....well, not so much. So for about 10 months of the year, perhaps more, it sits in the closet. Sure, I use it. I love it.

Lesson learned: for 2 months a year, I could have gotten a cheaper bag.

Confession - I had a hard time getting to 5 on this list. Not because I've never bought things I've regretted, but because I had to think about how much money I've spent foolishly.

Honestly, I'd rather not. But it was good for me. Now I just have to figure out what to do with that darn velvet.


Erin said...

This is not very original, but selling on craigslist and ebay is great. It has not only earned me extra money, decluttered my house, but also released any guilt of a wasteful purchase. And just the other day my neighbors were having a garage sale and let me drag a few things over to sell. I sold pretty much everything- things that would I have otherwise thrown away eventually.

Anonymous said...

I think that you should make 5 identical bags with the velvet that you can carry with you with wild abandon - rainclouds be damned. (because, you know, if 1 gets ruined, you could move on to the next one)