Our dumbest purchase ever
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.