What Was Your Dumbest Purchase?


The Purchase

I’ve made some stupid purchases in my life, but there’s one that I’m truly ashamed of and kind of embarrassed to share. It was my purchase, and subsequent return, of a brand new Mitsubishi Montero Sport two months after I started my first job out of college.

The Rationale

It was 1999 and I was in love with the new Sport body style and just had to have one. I rationalized it by telling myself I had made it through college successfully and had scored a job with the biggest firm in town, so I deserved it. Plus, I was traveling a ton with the new job and needed to get there in style, right?

The Return

When I got the SUV home the thoughts began to sink in of how dumb a purchase I had made. I was now almost 30k in debt on top of my student loans. My monthly insurance bill was going to be somewhere around $250 (the Montero Sports were rollover prone). Even though I felt this way, I kept the car a few days and even took it on a long road trip across the State.

After the trip I decided I’d made a mistake and needed to take it back. I called up the dealership and they told me to get lost. The owner of the dealership even left a nasty threatening message on my answering machine. I then called up my Dad who proceeded to call the dealership and tell them they were, in fact, going to take back the SUV. My Dad has a way of influencing people.

The Shame

The part that’s still hard to swallow, besides the fact that I was 23 and had my Dad doing my bidding, is that I had given the dealership $1,000 as a down payment that I never got back. The exchange at the dealership of returning the SUV (now with almost 1,000 miles on it) and getting my old trade-in back were painful enough without me asking for my $1,000 back at the same time. So I just didn’t bother and thought I’d just do it later. Well, I was so embarrassed by the whole thing that I never went back to get the grand. So dumb. That $1,000 would now be worth around $2,500 had I invested it at 10% for the past 10 years.

So, now that I’ve confessed, it’s your turn.  Share your dumbest purchase ever in the comments below…

Photo: by lloydkrimmus

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About Philip Taylor

Philip Taylor, aka “PT”, is a CPA, financial writer, podcaster, FinCon Founder, husband, and father of three. He created PT Money back in 2007 to share his thoughts on money and to meet others passionate about managing their finances. All the content on this blog is original, and created or edited by PT. Read more about Philip Taylor, and be sure to connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, or Google+. Listen to the new podcast, Masters of Money!


  1. This blog post has been included in the “Carnival of Money Stories #51” at Life Lessons of a Military Wife. Hope you will drop by and read some of the many other wonderful entries received this week!

  2. @Pinyo – At times I’ve tried to think of it as one expensive rental. It’s still hard to swallow, cause I would never rent a car for that long for that much.

    Yes, I was really into the “look” of the SUV. Sometimes you just get hooked on a new car’s look, making it hard to avoid just going out and getting one.

  3. I am surprised that they take it back. Once you drove it, it’s considered used. I think losing only $1,000 was a steal.

    On a different note, that was one cool SUV.

  4. You took the car on a long trip and then tried to take it back?? lol – that’s awesome!

    Great pic by the way – D & D is one of, if not the best movies of all time….(and I just realized it’s very appropriate for the theme).


  5. Becky@FamilyandFinances says:

    I just posted about an FM transmitter that was my worst purchase!

    I love the Dumb and Dumber picture. I haven’t seen that sight in years 🙂

  6. impressive that you got 8 years out of it…yeah, a thousand is about what you get for every car that’s that old it seems like…

    i’ve lost money on gym memberships too…one could argue if they are even necessary outside of bad weather days…

  7. interesting. i bought a montero sport around that same time that we *finally* just got rid of last summer–and coincidentally sold for $1000. (i know that seems low, but trust me, it was NOT worth $1000 by then). i wouldn’t have considered the montero a bad purchase–at that time i was trading in my 4Runner that had 185K miles on it–but, it certainly wasn’t my favorite car and i will probably never buy a mitsubishi again!

    through the years i’ve made a lot of stupid purchases, but the one that it probably *the* stupidest was a gym membership i got almost 3 years ago. i *thought* i was paying month to month and could cancel anytime, but no, they got me for THREE LONG YEARS!! ugh!