Know Thyself: Why Money Saving Gadgets Often Don’t Save Money

espresso machineBy S. Shugars, special contributing writer

Okay, I admit it. I’m a sucker when it comes to gadgets and other things that claim that they will pay for themselves over time. It appeals to my frugal senses to purchase things that will end up saving me money in the long run. The problem is that it doesn’t always work out quite the way that the advertisers claim (and I anticipate) that it will. While I realize that there are a lot of gadgets out there that really do save money and pay for themselves, there are also a lot that won’t work for me because I fail to take into account who I am. Here are a few that I have purchased with the good intentions of having them pay for themselves, but they never did:

Tread Mill (and other assorted gym equipment): I loved the reasoning (and convinced myself) that purchasing $500 in various gym equipment (including a $300 treadmill) would be the solution to my gym membership costs. Using the treadmill and other exercise equipment on a daily basis would get me in shape and I would save tons of money over the monthly gym membership dues. The problem is that I don’t use them. I find it extremely hard to motivate myself to work out at my own home compared to a gym, so all the exercise equipment sits in the corner of my garage gathering dust after being used for about a month or so.

Fancy Kitchen Supplies: I came to the conclusion that the reason that I was eating out was because I didn’t have a fancy kitchen supplies to cook my own meals properly. If I stocked my kitchen and made it easy to cook, and I could save all kinds of money by not going out and eating at restaurants. After spending $400 to get slicing and dicing kitchen gadgets, I realize that it wasn’t that I didn’t have the right supplies, it was that I just didn’t like cooking all that much. All those fancy kitchen gadgets get used once in a blue moon and I still go out to dinner as much as I used to.

Bike: A bike was the perfect solution to ever-increasing gas prices. I would use it to commute to work and to run errands while saving money on gas and other car related expenses. After shelling out $350, it took one hot day and one rainy day to cure me from this delusion. The bike sits in the garage next to the exercise equipment gathering dust.

Coffee Maker: Buying a fancy espresso machine seemed like the perfect solution to by Starbucks coffee addiction. No longer would I need to make my daily trip to get my coffee fix since I could brew my own for pennies on the dollar. After spending $200 on a fancy espresso coffee maker, I’ve used it maybe a dozen times. The truth is that when I get up in the morning and I’m still half asleep, I have no desire to make myself a cup of coffee. The espresso machine is back in it’s box sitting on top of the refrigerator.

All kinds of crap from TV: Although I am somewhat ashamed to admit it, I get hooked into those late-night TV commercials to buy all the stuff that is going to make my life easier and save me money. I could probably make giant list of stuff that came from these shows that were supposed to save me money, but never did. Most of them never worked nearly as well as they seemed to work in TV commercials and so they didn’t ever get used again after a few trials.

My point in all this isn’t that you shouldn’t try to save money. I’m also not saying that all of the above items that didn’t work for me will not save you money. What I’m saying is that when you buy something you need to know yourself well enough to anticipate whether it will really save you money or not. In theory, all those things should have saved me money, but it was different in reality.

The better you know yourself, the more realistic you can be with your purchases and not convince yourself to purchase stuff that is supposed to save you money, but in reality will not. I’m still working on it and have a long way to go, but I’m getting better. Now if I could just get myself to stop watching those late-night TV commercials…

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9 Responses to Know Thyself: Why Money Saving Gadgets Often Don’t Save Money

  1. Tom says:

    Regarding the espresso machine, ditch it and try the AeroPress, instead. I’ve been using one every morning and sometimes in the evening for about a year, now. I’m constantly amazed at how easy and GOOD it is (I can’t drink most coffee prepared outside the house; spoiled, I am!). Easy to use, easy to clean, and only $30. I’ve given four of them to good friends, and they’re even better friends, now. I can’t say enough about this gadget!

  2. cmalloooom says:

    french presses or those little italian stove top espresso makers are great if the investment of a full-blown espresso-maker isn’t worth it… I went in on an espresso machine with a roommate, utilizing her cousins’ employee discount at starbucks, bringing the cost down to $100 apiece, and I alone have used it nearly 300 times in the last year…. that’s a savings of about $1100, not to mention I can drink my cappucino in my pjs….

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  5. lavendergal says:

    My husband had a rule that a gadget had to be on the Christmas list for 3 years before we could get it. By then the fad had passed or we might actually use it. A cookie gun was the only thing I think he actually stuck to the rule on. But seriously, most of the gadgets we have bought over the years end up in the basement and then in the Goodwill bag if we can’t pawn them off on family or friends. So much money could have been spent on another vacation or something more worthwhile.

  6. cakesy says:

    I think you should rename this thread. It should be called Why I am a lazy bum – so lazy that you even blame your gadgets for your lazyness. To lazy to cook, to lazy to exercise, to lazy to ride that bike, to lazy to even make yourself a cup of coffee. That isn’t the worst bit, you don’t even realise that you are lazy, and you think it is your gadgets faults.

  7. SYLVIA says:

    O.K., Smarty, so maybe he is lazy; most of us are. At least he’s truly honest, which a lot of us are not! And his points are truly valid. Most of us are quite guilty of doing the same things.

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  9. Daniel Burke says:

    Just sounds like you’re a lazy person. Most of those items will save money for those that intend to use them.

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