Our dumbest purchase ever

By glblguy

Myrtle Beach Sunset

Debtkid recently shared his dumbest purchase ever and is asking others to “fess up”. As further incentive, he’s giving away his dumbest purchase ever. Unfortunately, my dumbest purchase ever isn’t near as cheap or small. Sure wish it was…

Prelude to the dumbest purchase ever

I had never been camping before in my life until I met my wife. Her family had been camping for years and as I started seeing her more frequently and we began dating “steady” I started to go camping with her and her family to the beach. At first I really hated it. Not the camping so much, but the sand. I wasn’t much of a beach person at the time. I hated the fact that the sand just plain gets everywhere…and I mean everywhere. Funny though, after a few trips, I learned to love it and looked forward to the trips.

After we got married and had our first child, we continued to camp with her parents and finally decided we enjoyed it enough to purchase a camper of our own. It was beautiful, but we payed far to much for it. Dumb yes, but still not the dumbest purchase ever.

Our dumbest purchase ever

We camped in that first camper for a few years until we started having more children. That first camper quickly became too small. We owed more on it than it was worth, but that didn’t stop us. We ended up purchasing another trailer, once again paying way too much for it. To make matters worse, we rolled the negative equity from the previous trailer into the new one. Thus began the first half of our dumbest purchase ever. At almost $19,000, it wasn’t a cheap half either.

After a few months, we realized that the full size van we had wasn’t really getting the job done pulling that big trailer and was putting significant stress on it. After doing some research, we decided to purchase a full size 2500 series Dodge diesel pickup truck. The good news is I negotiated an incredible deal on it. The bad news, it still cost $30,000.

The truck and trailer together constitute our dumbest purchase ever, and $49,000 of dumb at that. While we have purchased lots of little dumb things over time, the amount of money we spent here definitely puts this one at the top of my list.

What made our purchase dumb

Owning a truck and camper in and of itself isn’t necessarily dumb. In fact, camping in an RV is probably some of the best times we’ve ever had together as a family. Camping is a way of getting away from the normal world and really spending some quality time with your spouse and your children. All the while being able to enjoy nature at it’s finest. What made the purchase dumb was the following:

  • We paid too much for the camper. In fact, we should have bought it used instead of new due to the high depreciation of RVs.
  • We bought a new truck. This is a mistake I won’t make again. I could have purchased a 4 – 5 year old diesel truck for half the price and it would have worked just as well. Diesel trucks run forever, and purchasing a new one was just a huge waste of money.
  • We rolled the negative equity from one trailer to the other. Looking back, we should have been more patient, the first RV we had was really nice, and while not as large would have served us just fine.
  • We purchased all of this while still having considerable credit card debt. Dumb, dumb, dumb.

The new (and smarter) plan

We miss camping very much, as do our children. Our 5 year old asks weekly when “Daddy is going to get another truck and go camping“. The decision to sell the truck and the camper was probably one of the hardest decisions I have ever had to make because of my kids. My wife and I discussed it for a long time, and we decided to sacrifice in the short term to gain in the long. We decided to think with a 2-marshmallow mentality. We sold the camper and broke even, and sold profiting about $8,000 or so. We took the $8,000 and purchased a used compact car for me to drive back and forth to work and took the rest of the money and applied it against our debt. I can’t even begin to tell you the weight that was lifted off our shoulders. With the $500.00/month in payments, $100.00 in insurance, $55.00/month in storage fees, and extra gas cost now gone, it was like getting a huge raise too. To the tune of almost $800.00/month.

We’re now focused on paying off our debt as quickly as possible along with saving for a new home in the country with some land. Once these two goals are out the way, we’ll re-look at purchasing a used truck and another camper. But we are determined the credit card debt will be gone first. We’ve explained all of this to our children. They miss the camper, but understand why we’re sacrificing.

In the mean time, we’ve taken a couple of tent camping trips and while not as luxurious as the camper, we’ve had fun. There is something really comforting about cramming 8 people into a tent at night. I know that sounds crazy, but it’s true.

What is your dumbest purchase ever? Write a blog post or add a comment Debt Kids article for a chance to win a Nintendo DS lite.

19 Responses (including trackbacks) to “Our dumbest purchase ever”

  1. Four Pillars Says:

    Holy cow – this series just gets better and better… :)

    I think the best part of your story was when you realized that no matter how much you and your family loved the camper/truck, it had to go for the financial future of your family. Tough choices are tough to make but you did it.


  2. This Mom Says:

    We came “this close” to buying a camper… we were tired of cramming all of us into one tent. After being sick of the whining and complaining, I vowed to get something bigger and better for our next camping trip.

    We bought another tent. LOL

    Now we camp with two tents. More than enough room for husband, myself, and four kids, and a lot cheaper than buying a camper!

  3. Dan Says:

    Good for you, guy. Don’t buy another camper until you can pay cash!

  4. Peter Says:

    Wow, that was a dumb purchase! haha.. jk.

    I have a friend at work who has a camper -it just sits in the third stall of their garage and hasn’t been used in years..

    hmm.. Now, what was my dumbest purchase?

  5. Mrs. Micah Says:

    What you need to do (eventually) is find someone else who’s dumbest purchase was a camper and buy it from them. ;)

    And a second tent might be a good idea in the meantime. ;) Depending on how big your tent is. I’ve slept in tents that could hold 8 if some were small. And I’ve slept in tents that held two kids…I’m hoping yours is the latter.

  6. glblguy Says:

    We have a BIG tent, so no problem sleeping everyone…just need a way to air condition it ;-)

    We do plan to buy both a used RV and truck later, but our goal is get pay off the credit cards first, then get a house on some land, then the new RV and truck.

  7. Fiscal Musings Says:

    We’ve all made some pretty dumb purchases I’m sure. I wrote about when I bought new wheels and tires for my car to the tune of $1200.

  8. Justin Says:

    It isn’t camping you’re describing, it’s parking. Camping involves a tent, or no tent as the case may be. ;)

    Air conditioning? You had AC in your camper? That’s most definitely not camping. You may as well rent a bungalow or a cabin or a hotel room or something, it would be cheaper in the long run than an RV type of thing.

  9. Make Friends, Earn Money Says:

    I love camping, I wouldn’t be too hard on yourself, we’ve all made dumb purchases, if i lived in the US I’d by the camper off you!

  10. Doofie Says:

    I read your article “dumbest purchase ever” and I can relate.

    I am only now paying down some of my credit and i hope to have it gone soon too. Last summer i bought way more toys then i should have and recently seeling them to pay off my debt has been cathartic.

    With regards to a camper, I bought a used ford ranger for 5000 and a small viking truck camper for 600. Against much advice to buy new i firmly believed that you buy what you can afford not what others think you can afford.


  11. Get Paid To Drive A Car Says:

    Am i allowed to make a suggestion? I believe you’ve got a little something good in this article. But imagine you supplied a number of links to a internet page that backs up what youre telling? Or maybe you could give us something to look at, something that would be connected what you’re declaring to one thing real? Just a idea.