New year, new me, new budget. Right? Well…not exactly. The start of 2019 saw me update my budget using brighter colors, smaller fonts, and more fun bolds and italics where need be. I was eagerly on edge towards the end of December waiting until I could make my first purchase of the new year just to run home and record it on my spreadsheet.
As all new years begin with a glimmer of hope and a chance to change for the better, I told myself that I wasn’t going to do any unnecessary spending. But, alas, just as those goodhearted folk who went to the gym the first two weeks of January and then petered in their determination, I left my dreams of becoming a “smart spender” in the past. Here are five things I already regret buying in 2019.
1. A 3-Pack Of Those Spiral Hair Ties
Spiral hair ties made their debut this summer, and at first, I laughed them off. I already own a normal hair tie. What is this squiggly piece of rubber you expect me to wear in my hair? It looks like one of those coils that lifeguards put their whistles on and then leave high up on their bicep. Why would I want that?
Then I met the most stylish gal named Cydney who wore hers on her wrist and she looked SO. COOL. She had different colors — browns, clears, pastels — and I thought they made the cutest accessories to tie an outfit together. I imagined how it would look next to my gold Casio watch and decided it was worth it.
A pack of 3 was on sale for $7.99, and the regular price was so hidden I had to guess that this was maybe a good deal. When I put one on my wrist it felt very tight — more so than your average elastic. When I take it out of my hair, it often gets stuck and pulls hard. When I type at work, I have to take it off my wrist because it is so 3D I can’t rest my arm down properly. I was at Nordstrom Rack the other day and they had so many spiral elastics that were larger, in different colors, and MUCH CHEAPER than the ones I bought. I was not impressed with my original purchase. Also? I found a larger pastel pink one on the ground at my work the other day and I took it. (Don’t judge me. I watched it all day when I passed in that hallway and no one came back to pick it up.)
2. An Instagrammable Brunch
An old friend and I decided to meet halfway between our homes in a cool part of town that I don’t often get to. I originally suggested to just get coffee because I didn’t want to spend too much money, but after searching all the restaurants in the area, I decided this could be a good time for both a delicious meal and a great food pic. Unfortunately, the little vegetarian spot we picked was less impressive in person than it looked online. The $20 meal was lackluster, something I could have easily made at home. The cafe was empty except for us and one other set of friends, and although the hostess had their choice of EVERY TABLE in the place to seat them, the two girls got sat directly beside us. In addition to overhearing each other’s conversations, these other girls made me feel self-conscious for wanting to be a typical millennial and Instagram my meal. What if they looked over, saw me take a pic, and judged me?
3. A 10-DOLLAR TURMERIC LATTE
I’m currently on a 4-week restricted diet that followed an eight-week naturopathic pill regime to eradicate a stubborn case of SIBO (Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth). Because of this, it is very hard to eat out and my life right now is very bland and includes very strict meal-prepping.
A group of friends decided to meet for dinner at a trendy vegetarian/vegan spot downtown, and I pre-ate a dinner beforehand in the public library. When I got to the restaurant, I had no intention of buying anything, but eating with friends is one of my biggest joys and I wanted to feel like part of the group. After confirming with the waitress that the almond milk they use is unsweetened, I ordered a turmeric latte thinking I could sip it slowly while my friend chewed their delicious-looking meals. My latte came out before any of the food and it was in the SMALLEST cup I have ever seen. I was livid. Especially because I have the ingredients to make a turmeric latte at home if I really wanted one. But I didn’t even really want one! I just wanted to participate!
4. “Sleeper” Hoop Earrings
If it wasn’t obvious from the past few notes: I love a good trend! I’d been seeing lots of girls wearing little tiny hoop earrings that hug the lobe and look so precious. I wanted to look this minimalist and dainty, too! But all the cute earrings I was seeing on Etsy were a bit too expensive once you factored in shipping and tax. Instead, I went to a drugstore and bought some of their hypoallergenic “sleeper” hoops after I heard from a friend they would be small enough to achieve the look I was wanting. Sadly, I must have explained the look wrong to my friend because the moment I put the earrings on and reached up to feel, I found they were still much bigger than the tight baby hoops I imagined.
5. “Mom’s Lasagna” Pizza
What comes to mind when you think of lasagna? Layers of ground beef, melty cheese, warm noodles, roasted veggies, ricotta, etc. Now imagine all of that on a pizza. Too good to be true, you say? Well, you’d be correct. “Mom’s Lasagna” was the specialty pizza at a classic pizza restaurant in my city, and I was so excited to eat two of my favorite foods in one. However, this establishment must have never seen a lasagna before, because this pizza was just cheddar cheese and ham. So. Much. Ham. If this is how mom made her lasagna, then someone should tell her she’s doing it wrong.
Although it hasn’t been a perfect start to 2019, I think I’m able now to see that my fault when it comes to spending money is trying to fit in or to follow trends. What I need to do instead is start evaluating my purchases through a lens of “Will this make me happy?” and “Is this what I want?”. It’s all too easy to fall into a group-think mindset, but once you’re able to separate yourself from the zeitgeist, I believe that both your wallet and your sense of self will grow.
Hailey is a homebody. Follow her social medias @hailmast.
Image via Unsplash