Financial Review

April Review: Buying Stuff I Didn’t Use or Need

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It’s almost mid-May, but this series has been on my mind. We often buy things on sale or on a whim because we think we want it, or we think we’ll need it, or we just think it’s a great deal. But how often does it end up sitting in the closet, or worse thrown out without ever being used? Not all our purchases can be hits, but just how many of them have we not even thought about after buying? How many items have we actually straight up forgotten about until we have to move?

I used to have an entire storage locker in New York filled with my stuff. When I cleaned it out…I didn’t even remember I had 80% of it. I literally had a pack of 100 plastic pipettes I thought was worth keeping. I can only say to myself…”WTF?”

Let’s review my purchases for April:

I think I did a good job overall. I had a few misses with the Sushi Game and Backcountry Stick Clip, but I think everything else is something that is going to add enormous value. I would categorize my impulse purchases last month as the Tripod, Sushi Game, Stick Clip, and SD Card. I’m very happy with 2/4 of them, but at least I’ve used the other 2/4.

  1. Necessary Sweatpants
    These were a necessity. I even wrote it in the title! My boyfriend and I were flying back from Thailand and had a layover in Wuhan. We hadn’t realized how cold the airport would be (no heating!) and had frozen our asses off during the layover there. As a preemptive measure we decided to pick up sweatpants at Duty Free before the layover so we would be warm. These have been great and I’ve already worn them so many times this month! I don’t love them but I really did not want to suffer the 7 hour layover without them.
  2. Manfrotto Mini Tripod
    Not totally necessary. Buying a mini travel tripod was on my mind since our cave tour in Vietnam. The pictures we had taken when we went to Phong Nha Ke Bang National Park turned out a little shaky because I hadn’t had any sort of stabilizer and we took tons of photos that were 8-10 second exposures. Surprisingly we’ve already used this nifty little tripod a lot because it’s super travel friendly! Last month we went to Red Rocks State Park and got some amazing climbing footage. Usually I’m the spotter and can’t take photos of our climbs, so setting the camera 20 feet away to take a video and seeing it later is so fun!
  3. Cordless Vacuum
    Not a necessity but a super nice to have. We splurged for a cordless vacuum because neither of us like to clean, and not having to fuss around with cords just makes the barrier to entry for cleaning so much lower. We just pop this baby outta the closet and do a quick run over our kitchen and living room. It has honestly been a lifesaver!
  4. Sushi Go
    I kind of regret this purchase…It’s this cute little card game you can play with friends. We actually did bring it with us to a picnic by the lake and got a few good plays out of it. I only regret this purchase because I have tons of other board games, and at least 3 or 4 that are just as travel friendly.
  5. Backcountry – Stick Clip
    Probably my biggest question mark purchase of the month. My boyfriend and I have just started doing some outdoor sport climbing, which involves climbing up and clipping into the wall as you go. A lot of people carry one of these Stick Clips to help with putting the equipment in place before starting to make the climb a little safer. I did bring this with me on my Red Rocks trip and a few other people we ran into while climbing actually ended up using it. We almost needed it when we realized 15 feet up a wall we wouldn’t be able to finish a route, but then we decided just to do a risky rescue of our equipment instead of hassling to climb all the way up while using this fancy thing.
  6. 16 GB SD Card
    Not necessary but definitely a nice to have. With the videos I was taking on my camera, I feel safer with a card that has just slightly more capacity. One of 8 GB cards is also broken — the little Lock slider keeps sliding out of position when I stick the card in.
  7. REI – Climbing Helmet, Locking Carabiners, and Safety Slings
    Necessary. Climbing without a helmet and safeties would just be dangerous! We aren’t going to be using these every day but we’re committed to going outdoors more and owning our equipment.
  8. Red Rocks Bouldering Book
    Not totally necessary, but omg, this is the most beautiful guide book I’ve ever seen. I’m going to have to go back to Red Rocks to make this one worth it. It also made me feel slightly better that this particular book isn’t the easiest to find online.
  9. Wearever Pot (My boyfriend venmo’d me for the strainers)
    I’ve been putting off this one for a while as well. We have a lot of pots that are huge that are more suitable for cooking a whole batch of soup for 4-6 people, but sometimes if I want to steam rice or just boil some water [for ramen…] it just feels like a little much. I had an older version of this pot from college, but I lost it during my move to San Francisco. So happy to have this in my life again! It has a built in strainer and makes everything so easy. It has the ugliest product picture ever though.

I’d love to hear your Retail Retros for last month! I always find it so useful to review my purchases because it’s so easy to slip into the mentality of “this is a one off purchase”, without realizing that at the end of the month you’ve had 5 other “exceptional” or “one off” purchases.

Jing is currently a software engineer based in Oakland, CA. She left her job in New York, moved to San Francisco unemployed, and more than doubled her salary in 4 months.

6 thoughts on “April Review: Buying Stuff I Didn’t Use or Need

  1. Lol I ran through the list and was like “OK, OK, don’t know what that is, OK she needs that, …SUSHI GAME?! Nope.” Hahaha just kidding :p I brought my cotton candy machine and never used it.

    PS. That’s not the full price of the sushi game…I think I saw it on my deals app marked down to $6.95? You got a good price for it.

    1. I totally splurged on the sushi game because I bought it at this cafe instead of Amazon! It was only $7 because my boyfriend paid for the other half of it. 🙁 Should have bought it on Amazon, though I do enjoy supporting the local businesses who can’t afford to work with tiny margins like that.

    1. I feel this was not the best example of a retail retro since there were so many gear specific items. I do want to make sure I don’t catch myself saying this is exceptional gear every time I make a purchase though. It’s always dangerous territory when you have a hobby that does require some purchases to get started!

  2. Well, I guess I’m like the other 2 people because I haven’t heard of most of the stuff on your list neither, but then again I’ve never been hiking. However, I can totally relate to buying stuff that I don’t really need or don’t use once I buy it. I feel like I’m getting much better at that though. Most of the time I would spend money on clothes I didn’t need just because they were on sale. Now I f ask myself if the item wasn’t on sale would I still want it?

    1. Clothes used to be a huge weakness of mine too, though I haven’t cut the habit entirely, I’m way better about it now. It’s seriously those sales!

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