Our Dumbest Purchase Ever

Posted by Madison on March 18, 2008

DebtKid recently shared his dumbest purchase ever: a Nintendo DS Lite. In fact, it was such a terrible purchase that he’s going to give it away today! He’s encouraging others to share their story. Here’s ours…

Our dumbest purchase ever: a sauna!

It’s a tradition in our family that everyone has a sauna at their house. When we were building our new house two years ago, I insisted that we put one in. And not any old sauna…. an 8 x 6 foot sauna.

The unassembled unit cost $4,536. But in addition to that cost, tack on at least another $1,000 for the builders to assemble it and their overhead. We’ll call it $5,500. Luckily, it came in under our budget of $7,600. (Of course we came in over budget on many other items, but that is a completely different topic!)

But let’s not forget that the $5,500 will be added into our assessment and we’ll be paying real estate taxes on it to the tune of $100 per year at our current mill rate. Add on the interest from our mortgage for that and it’s at least another $130 in the first 5 years before the adjustable rate kicks in.

Let’s say we stay in the house five years. Our money spent on the sauna will be $6130.

In addition, when we sell our house down the road, I’m pretty sure that a sauna isn’t on most people’s need list. They probably won’t mind it, but it’s definitely not going to recoup the cost.

If we look at cost per use, it’s even worse. Take into account that I was pregnant most of last winter and couldn’t use it. My husband doesn’t even like saunas! Sure it’s fun now on cold days, but there’s probably many things that I could buy for $6,000 that would bring more enjoyment.

What’s your dumbest purchase ever?

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Comments to Our Dumbest Purchase Ever

  1. Wow. If pampering were on my mind, maybe a few days at a good spa would be cheaper.

    Mrs. Micah

  2. It’s the gift that keeps on giving! The scary part is we’ve considered adding on with a small deck and sauna at our house (I have arthritis and various aches and pains, and the sauna would be therapeutic). We’ve yet to take the plunge, and your article has scared me away for now!

    Frugal Dad

  3. I do know a couple who lives in MN and uses their outdoor whirlpool every day.

    A sauna would be a horrible purchase for us, but if you happen to be Scandinavian, it is a critical part of your culture.

    Doesn’t sound like you are Scandinavian.


  4. @ Mrs. Micah: It would definitely be cheaper to go to a spa!

    @ Frugal Dad: I don’t want to scare you away from it! It’s really nice, just a little too big and would be better the way you might do it… as an add-on.

    @Rocket: Yes, my family is Scandinavian. That’s why everyone has one. Most of my family members take a sauna every week, I guess I’m the slacker!


  5. Cool, more dumb purchases. We had a sauna in the basement of one of the houses we rented years ago. But we were scared to see if it worked for fear of burning down the house with an electric fire.

    Randall at CreditWithdrawal

  6. Not sure if it was my dumbest purchase ever, but a few months back I was visiting my parents in Virginia and I bought a Sony PSP for the sole purpose of having it to keep me occupied on the flight back home. Totally impulsive and stupid. I tried to justify it by telling myself (and my wife) that I would make use of it, at the very least giving it to my son. Alas, here we are months later and I haven’t used it since we got off the plane, and my son is too young to really be able to have it. Dumb.

    Know The Ledge

    • A paperback would have been much cheaper. But I bet you already know that.

      Donna Freedman

  7. A sauna would be pretty awesome to have if it were included in the house. Sometimes it isn’t all that funny to look back and see what money we’ve wasted. If you learn from it, at least that’s something.

    So I’m guessing the next house won’t have a sauna? 🙂

    @Know the Ledge – Sell it on eBay!

    No Debt Plan

  8. I couldn’t figure out how to comment on DebtKid’s blog, so I am posting it here. Hopefully he will read it.

    I did the SAME thing. Bought a DS Lite completely on impulse from Best Buy. I played it maybe 5 times…if that. It sat around for a year and I finally listed it on Amazon.com, along with my other console, Gameboy Advance. Both sold within hours of my posting for nearly 90% of the price I paid originally. Maybe DebtKid could do that instead of giving it away. Apparently there’s a market out there for Nintendo handhelds!


  9. I’ve been selling saunas for over 25 years and could introduce you to a slew of people that consider it the best purchase they’ve ever made.

    I suppose it’s a matter of preference, but there are therapeutic and other health benefits from steam and sauna bathing that you just can’t get anywhere else.


  10. I probably had some dump purchases big and small, everynow and then… but the stupdiest one would be purchasing of a “dream” to get rich fast… I blew $5K on a get rich scam! An expensive lesson learnt.

    Bernard Ng

  11. I’m going to go with a 2005 Lincoln Navigator. Fantastic vehicle ( really ), but overkill. After all, there are only 3 people in my family! Big payment + huge fillup costs = bad, bad purchase. Glad it’s behind me now.

    Llama Money

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