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Tuesday, May 21, 2024   

Survey: Worst Buying Decisions
by Scott Bilker
Scott Bilker is the author of the best-selling books, Talk Your Way Out of Credit Card Debt, Credit Card and Debt Management, and How to be more Credit Card and Debt Smart. He's also the founder of DebtSmart.com. More about and DebtSmart can be found in the online media kit.
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Scott Bilker

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I'm frequently asked about "good debt" and "bad debt." Actually, there's no such animal. There is simply DEBT. There are however, good buying decisions and bad buying decisions. Buying your home is probably a good buying decision. Buying a new Audi Mazzerat, for people with an average income, is probably a bad buying decision.

This week I'd like to ask you what your worst buying decision has been? Leasing a car? Furniture? Electronics? Bad investment?


"A couch. it was a sectional costing $2000. it broke within 2 months and after I've had it repaired it kept on breaking. When I moved to another apartment it was too big to take."

"Any 'impulse purchase' is usually a bad buying decision. That's why I avoid places like Target. And, if I actually go in, I go straight to the area I need to go, pick up what I need, and get out, before something catches my eye--and the money in my wallet!"

"I once bought a set of encyclopedias just because the salesman was cute. This cost me about $2,000. I only used the books a few times and finally donated them to Goodwill after about 10 years, when much of the information was outdated. Coming in a close second, I joined a dating service which cost me about $1,900 and although a met a few guys this way, none of them were people I cared to go out with a second time."

"Using credit cards for small shopping sprees at places like Walmart or K-mart. We purchased things (I can't even remember what they were) and have found we were paying for these items years later. DO NOT USE CREDIT CARDS! If you don't have the available cash, you don't need the item(s)."

"I'd have to say, I could have done better than buying a Sportrac for my first car. I have no problems with the vehicle, it's just I've been paying for it since May, 2000 and still have $12,500 to go! With the money I've spent, I could have already paid for some other car."

"Buying my car. I am very upside down on the loan & owe about $7,000 more than it is worth."

"Without a doubt or hesitation, the worst buying decision for us was a house. Seeing as buying the house literally took every penny of savings we had & then some, (6 months before buying the house we took out a non-secured loan for $1800 to help cover closing costs & our down payment.) we had no money left to cover anything that might go wrong with the house or us. Literally, 1 slight happening to us or our finances & we were a goner. It was a very bad decision. We got out of the house 2 years later after moving to Ohio. WE have yet to buy again because we want to make sure we're settled so we don't have to buy & then sell 2 years later again!"

"My Orlando timeshare in 1988. Today I could buy the same unit resale for half the price I paid. Back then we didn't have the internet to research these things. Most timeshares are not investments. They are to be used to enjoy vacations with family members. Never buy from a developer except in extreme cases where resale may not be available. Buy, resale, and save $$$."

"Buying a fixer upper house in a bad economic time. Having to sell to relocate for a job at a bad selling time. (the same house) Lost $30,000."

"No one told me when I leased a car that I would also have increased insurance premiums. This was a bad decision!"


What was your worst buying decision and why? 

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