Updated on 02.20.07

Ten Things I Wanted To Buy This Year – But Didn’t

Trent Hamm

I’m proud of myself. In the past year, I’ve wanted several expensive items for myself, but I’ve fought off the urge to buy them. The closest thing to a splurge for myself in the past twelve months was my investment in a new laptop when my desktop machine was literally dying.

So, instead of spending thousands of dollars on … stuff … I decided to take a trip through these items that I didn’t buy and consider the financial shape I’d be in if I had purchased all of them.

Wii!1. A Nintendo Wii
Now that I have a son, I’m moving rapidly towards what one might call a casual or nostalgic video gamer. This system is basically designed for me; not only are the games simple, yet distinctive and interesting (thanks to the remote), the system allows you to download tons of classic games I remember from my youth. It wouldn’t take me long to blow $600 on this machine, games, and accessories – but it’d be a lot of fun. One drawback: I can easily see myself staying up all night playing Super Mario 64 again… the college memories come flooding back!

A KitchenAid stand mixer2. A Kitchenaid Professional 600 Series stand mixer
I love burning time in the kitchen, but one major problem is that mixing bread dough and other such tasks are very time-consuming with my current hand mixer. I either mess it up entirely or get impatient with the speed of the hand mixer. Thus, whenever I see a KitchenAid stand mixer on display, I stare at it with longing in my eye. Not only would I dump $450 or so on the mixer, I’d also buy a ton of attachments for it, too, meaning I’d be down $700 after buying the thing. But, oh, the breads I would make…

3. A handmade liquor cabinet
Currently, we keep our wines and liquors in one of our kitchen cabinets, a kitchen that’s already too small for its own good. I keep my eye out for liquor cabinets and I’ve only seen one that made me go “Wow.” It was a handmade liquor cabinet built by a Mennonite craftsman that made my jaw drop. Dark, well-finished wood and plenty of interior space made me quiver with desire, but the price tag made me quiver in another way: $1,300.

4. A 42″ LCD TV
We currently have a 32″ tube television that has a slight blue discoloration in the upper left corner. Before, this would have meant that a new television needed to be found immediately, and I would have stepped up to the plate by dropping $2,500 on a 42″ flat panel television, expanding our view while reducing the footprint of our current television. It would be hanging on the wall right now, beaming down at me with high-resolution video goodness. Actually, it would probably be turned off right now, as our television is, which begs the question of why I would have bought it in the first place if the television is rarely on.

DDR!5. An “ultimate” Dance Dance Revolution setup
I recently sold off all of my video game consoles and the game I missed the most was DDR. The version I had unfortunately had a very terrible pad for gameplay that didn’t recognize about 20% of the footsteps one would make, making the game incredibly frustrating. After realizing how much I actually missed playing DDR, I longed for a complete DDR setup, which would include a pair of $100 pads, the game itself, a game system, and a memory card, totaling about $500 for everything. At least I wouldn’t have to go to the gym any more… wait… I don’t go to the gym.

Treo!6. A Treo 700p
Pure technolust here, I’m afraid. $325 for an incredibly cool cell phone with all sorts of features on it: a full QWERTY keyboard for editing documents, an email client, a 1.3 megapixel camera, an mp3 player, and so on. Wonderful and amazing and pure technolust, as I already have devices that I don’t use all that often that do all of these things. Why rebuy them?

7. A TiVo
There are several television dramas that I would like to follow, so I considered buying a TiVo to make keeping up with Grey’s Anatomy and the like much easier than before. $250 plus an ongoing programming fee would have been my reward for buying a device that would enable me to watch programs that I don’t already watch and don’t make the minimal effort to even try to catch. Why?

Solis!8. A Solis Master 5000 espresso/cappuccino maker
I occasionally enjoy a cappuccino in the afternoon at work and have desired a drink at home a few times. In the past, this would have been more than enough to convince me to drop $550 on this exquisite cappuccino/espresso maker. The truth of the matter is that my preferred morning drink is orange juice and I very rarely drink any form of coffee at all.

9. A custom tailored suit
I’m a very large man and I always wanted a suit that fit me properly. I tried to talk myself into visiting a tailor and having a custom suit made instead of actually doing a bit of research; eventually, my wife saved us both a lot of money and got me a quality suit that fit me for a reasonable price, much less than the $500-$1000 a custom-made suit might have cost.

10. A trip to Italy
I’ve always wanted to visit Italy, so early in the year I began to save up the $4,000 I thought that such a trip would take. After debating it, we decided instead to go on a long camping trip along the north shore of Lake Superior instead, which turned out to be an incredibly memorable vacation that cost about 10% of the Italian trip.

So what did I do with that money instead of buying all of this stuff? I paid off more than $10,000 in credit card debt, paid off my entire truck loan, built up a three month financial reserve, and put a little under $4K in a mutual fund.

I might not have some goodies, but I wake up in the morning without worrying about how I would pay the bills that day – and I never will again.

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  1. Congrats on getting your financial house in order! Happy Holidays!


  2. efipo.com says:

    I also wanted a Wii. Looks so much better than a PS3.

  3. Congratulations on your accomplishments! It’s tough to resist the urge of buying stuff.

  4. I justified the Treo 700P by the amount it saves me in Internet connections on the road. On my most recent trip it allowed me 10 days of full Internet connection (via Bluetooth to my laptop). The cost of the connection is typically $10 a day. It only saved us a couple of dollars in finding a few cheaper things to do while on the road.

  5. David says:

    What you have received instead of all those things (some of them are almost a must-have) is something much more valuable and gratifying… peace of mind. Enjoy it! Because I certainly enjoy reading your blog

  6. Ron says:

    Great post! I’ve recently found your site and am loving the practical advice/tips/reviews you give and the down to earth tone. I’m trying to make the same trip, recovering from some poor financial choices I’ve made in the past.
    The funny thing is, if you’d asked me to make a list of things I’m lusting after, but didn’t buy this year, at least four or five of mine would have been the same ones as you (I’m a recovering Video game addict and gadget coveter).
    Also, I’d like to hear more about the suit your wife found for you. I have a hard time in this area as well, and often wish I could just go the custom route, but the money always seems better spent elsewhere.
    Thanks for this interesting blog. I look foward to reading it every day.

  7. Ron says:

    I forgot to mention something that helps me avoid buying things that I’ll later regret. I’ll go to Amazon and put it on my wish list and treat that as a kind of cooling off spot. If I’m able to put off buying something the instant the impulse strikes, I will sometimes get over the craving. Just setting it aside in my wish list is sometimes all I need to get over that hump. (And, sometimes even if I do buy it, the price will have dropped or a newer version will have come out – Xbox, I’m talking to you!)

  8. rodgerlvu says:

    Congratulations on your accomplishments! It’s tough to resist the urge of buying stuff

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