Saturday, 18 June 2011

Impulse buys

I was thinking about the things that I have bought on impulse in the past and regretted, I don't do this so often any more, but it is a useful exercise, I think, to know where you can be impulsive and take care when you are in those situations. So I made a list of my worst impulse buys over the years. It would be quite fun to hear from other people and see where they are impulsive.

1) A set of tarot cards for £20 (never even properly looked at or used)
This is more than 20 years ago, but it sticks out in my memory because I regretted spending that amount on something so dumb within 15 minutes. Still not entirely sure what drove me to buy them but they were a waste of money and were lost within my parents house by the end of the month and I have never seen them again.

2) JML vegetable chopper for £5.
 I was seduced by the advert where someone would put a piece of veg in the chamber and then press the plunger on the top 10 times and the veg was minutely chopped. As is the case with these things, it never actually worked properly as carrot would get clogged up in the blades and washing it up was way harder than washing a knife. Binned.

3) Exercise machines (anything upwards of £50) There have been a number of these over the years. When I was a student I bought an all singing all dancing weights machine determined to make mine the body beautiful. Of course, I used it diligently, getting up every morning to start my workout and eating accordingly. It lasted a whole month. Soon it became just an annoying and massive object in the corner of the bedroom, although it did have a use for hanging clothes on. Add to that numerous gym memberships over the years (good value while you are getting something out of them, but soon become a huge waste of money when weeks go by without you going near) health and fitness books and I have probably spent close to £2000 over the last 20 years, possibly even more.

4) The latest i-pod/mp3/mini disc/walkman/portable cd player. Numerous amounts from £20 to £130.
The most recent impulse must have device was my i-pod, now 2 years old. Now don't get me wrong, it is beautiful and it does the job in a beautiful way, but it was completely unnecessary, mostly because I don't listen to that much music. I was seduced by those tiny light and gorgeous technology. And yet, it sits in a zip compartment in my rucksack for months on end without seeing the light of day. What proves that I am still susceptible to pretty technology is that I was looking at my friends new i-pod touch the other day and getting seduced with the thought that i would like to own one of those. Fortunately reality set in and I shoved the idea right out of my head. Still, all those apps that I can't live without...........OH, hold on, the human race has survived without them for thousands of years.

5) Superfood supplements.(probably minimum of £500 over 10 years.)
I still have a pack of 10 kilos of whey protein in my cupboard (from the last time I went gym crazy) retailed at something like £40 I also have a couple of packs of vanilla flavour similar something or other. I have had garlic tablets, seaweed snacks, protein bars, b vitamins, multi vits, zinc. The list is too numerous to go on. It turns out that I eat a very balanced healthy diet of home cooked, often home grown food and don't need any supplements at all.

6) Skin products that are going to make me younger and more beautiful forever. (£1000+)
Over 20 years I hate to imagine how much I have spent on not needed stuff for my face and body. Male grooming has become huge industry and men (who will never spend quite as much as women) are spending millions on staying younger. Nowadays I have a much more modest routine and have even started home making certain things.

7) A pair of Salomon walking shoes £90.
These didn't quite fit me, but I bought them anyway because a friend of mine was with me and said his were so comfortable. I tried on so many pairs and none of them actually fitted me very well (it seems that I was a perfect half size and these shoes didn't come in half sizes) but I was being hassled by my friend and hassled by the shop assistant and I bought them rather impulsively. I wore them for a while, but if I had carried on I reckon they could have done my feet permanent damage because my toes didn't fit them properly and I was beginning to get terrible pain in my big toe and the bones in my feet were clicking badly. So almost brand new they went to the back of a cupboard and were never worn again.

There have, of course, been many other things, but most of these are habits I have now kicked. What were your worst impulse buys? How do you stop yourself now?


  1. You speak of habits. I guess if you make it another habit that you only buy what you truely need, you never really go impulse buying. I have not been impulse buying since my childhood. Can`t say that I miss it, lol.

  2. You are absolutely right, in my 20's I used to go to shopping centres just for something to do on a weekend. Now, I dislike having to go at all and so only go when I really have to get something I absolutely need - reluctantly. I look at people who are going for a 'day out' and wonder when it was that shopping became a major hobby for people?

  3. They will call it retail therapy. I call it money wasting activity.

  4. I had a set of weights once, soon got fed up of tripping over them. Various kitchen gadgets and I don't like spending time in the kitchen. Oh, and the daftest buy was a computer, just before they brought out Windows etc. Thought it was dead cool sitting in my living room, hadn't the foggiest how to use it, ha ha.

  5. Hello Ilona, Its kitchens that it is easiest to get drawn in with. Gadgets that are apparently going to make life simpler - usually they take twice as long to dismantle and wash up. I notice when I visit my mum that on top of the fridge is a deep fat fryer in its box. She says that she used it once and it made everything so dirty that she just boxed it up and put it out of the way. I have had a juice extractor and smoothie maker. These days I have a wonderful gadget free kitchen. People don't seem to understand the sense of peace you get from living simply. I have far less to worry about than I used to.

  6. Is it too late to take those shoes back - sometimes they will take them if you are not happy with them - worth a try even if they give you a credit.
    One shoe store here in the States has no time limit.

  7. I have had them for over a year, but I could maybe sell them on ebay, its true.

  8. Funny, I was looking for one of those vegetable choppers today, my mother has one and I think it's very useful. Especially for dealing with courgette/zucchini and onions. Washing them is a problem though!

    What you say about buying shoes is extremely recognizable. Also if you are with people who get a bit impatient it is hard not to buy something quickly to avoid irritating them even more. I have decided I will just quit shopping without buying if this occurs.

  9. My DH is a sucker for kitchen gadgets too....his diddly capucchino maker is rarely used, he uses the food processor to chop a few vegies and then has loads of extra washing up to do!
    I can't stop buying wool from the Op-shop but at least it's cheap and get used ;)
    Being pensioners without credit cards keeps a tight rein on our spending!
    Enjoying your blog btw

  10. Thanks for the comment Sue, I am glad you enjoy reading, I have been working far too much throughout August, so have been a little hopeless at any updates. Things are quieter now so I hope to get back to writing soon.
    I think it is easy to get sucked in by kitchen gadgets that offer so much - then deliver little. Most of the old tried and tested methods work better with just a little more elbow grease sometimes.

  11. This is true and I've just enjoyed John Seymour's book Forgotten Household Skills which shows a great array of jobs we no longer do around the house...he writes with lovely humour too,

  12. I will check the book out, sounds right up my street.

  13. Hi there - new to your blog but enjoying it. I have wasted a fortune on lipstick over the years and have too many now to use in my lifetime. I guess i thought it was a relatively cheap treat, and being a bit overweight, at least a lipstick will always fit! Try to avoid big chemist / retailers now as far as I CAN.

  14. Hi Rachel and welcome, glad you are enjoying.
    I guess we all have things that we have wasted a fortune on in the past. But I never try to regret too much and just learn how to either do without or make it myself with most things now. It becomes a bit of a game and one that I really enjoy.