I’d go as far to say everyone makes purchases they eventually regret at some point, and as an ex-serial spender, I’ve definitely got my fair share. In the hope of perhaps sharing some of my learnings as I approach the end of my twenties, here are some of my most regretted purchases over the years.
Homewares (for short-term living situations)
Some of my biggest regret purchases were while at University, when I lived in four houses in as many years, and tried to desperately create a homely, aesthetic vibe in each of the mouldy bedrooms I inhabited in that time. While harmless at the time, I wish I’d been far more conscious about the fact that the purchases wouldn’t serve me long term. I’d move out seemingly as quickly as I’d moved in as the year blurred past in a vodka-tinted haze, and me and my faux leather ottoman would up and leave to the next place where it inevitably wouldn’t fit and would be cast out for another more suitable yet equally throw-away alternative.
Fashion pieces I thought were ‘classics’ at 22
Despite my overconsumption of fashion, I’ve always maintained the desire to have a classic, chic and timeless capsule wardrobe. While my intentions were good, the items I was selecting as my ‘forever’ pieces were awash with youthful naivety, accidentally following trends that I hadn’t even really noticed were so. Unsurprisingly, they didn’t suit my style some two or three years later, and they were cast aside to the mini skirt graveyard that made its way to the donation bin.
Heavily discounted designer sunglasses
I once bought a pair of discounted Marc Jacobs sunglasses, though looking back it was for no other reason than the fact they were Marc Jacobs. Luckily for me they broke so I could return them, but it was a huge regret that I did not think through at all.
A crap tonne of stationery
I’m a sucker for an organisational solution, and so office supplies and stationery have sucked up a lot of my money over the years. My number one rule before buying anything stationery-related is to try and create the same experience with what you already have for a week before you purchase. My mum once made me wear an ugly AF coat for a whole week before I could get a new one, and while I hated it at the time, I appreciate her intention. It taught me to actually want to wear a coat out of necessity and habit regardless of whether it was shiny and new, and it helped me be more intentional with my spending. The same goes for the stationery. While you might think this specific journal is going to solve all your organisational woes, use an existing notebook or scrap paper for a week first and see if you can commit to the actual act of using it it before you buy.
Another habit of my Uni days and pursuit of a cosy homely bedroom – buying double bedding. I hadn’t considered at the time that eventually I might have a Queen bed or even a King, so buying multiple double bed covers just because they looked nice were ultimately a waste of money and resources.
Things that suited a current (but fleeting) identity
Tennis is the first one that springs to mind. Before I broke my elbow in 2019, I had been having tennis lessons fairly consistently for about 8 months. Being the phase-frenzied person I am, I immediately adopted my new identity as a tennis fanatic and bought things that were specifically suited to the sport – some essential, yes, but I can admit that some were non-essential. Once I broke my elbow, I was out for 3 months, and then went overseas and didn’t get back into it. Now I’m left with tennis shoes and a selection of skorts that I may never wear again.
When you’re making purchases based off of a new hobby or habit, be careful.
A Longchamp travel tote
I didn’t want to regret this purchase because it was something I’d wanted for so long, but bought the Longchamp travel tote after a couple of glasses of wine at Heathrow airport before a flight back home from the UK. Fuelled by sadness of leaving home, me and my smudged mascara decided to treat myself. Unfortunately I’ve learned that despite being nice to look at, the damn thing is poorly designed and limited in its uses. The handles are the short crook-of-the-arm handles, but the bag itself is big, making it too heavy to carry with the handles it has. It needs a long strap and I wish I’d realised.
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