Buyers remorse is a thing that happens to all of us. Today, Ill share what I regret having spent money on. As I shared before in my lessons from being broke, I didnt have much money growing up, and that would continue into my 20s. Because of that, I learned to be really frugal, to look for deals, and to identify quality (especially on used goods) so I could get the best value for my money. However, Ive still had my share of regrets about buying some things, and Ill list 20 of them today.
What Are The Things I Wish I Hadnt Bought?
1. Gillette Mach 3
The first item I regret buying is a cartridge razor system. Its what my dad used, what he taught me how to shave with, and so I just continued using it. Once during an internship in Hungary in 2006, I bought a package of razors that turned out to be fake Mach 3s; they were quite expensive, and my face looked like a mess after I shaved with them.
Over the years, I probably spent hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on Gillette products. I got a mediocre shaveuntil I discovered the double edge razor and what a positive difference it could make.
2. Car Bike Rack
I really regret buying a bike rack for our car, as we probably used it three times and never thereafter (because we just bike locally). I sold it at a garage sale, at a big loss.
3. Hawaiian Jacket
I bought a Polo jacket that had a light background and flowery big paisleys in 2006 at Macys. Since retail practices in Germany were different than those in the US, I wasnt accustomed to retailers having stuff 80 or 90% off, so I was tempted by big sales. I think the jacket was marked down 90 or 95%, and I just bought it for $40 or sobut I wore it a whopping zero times.
In other words, the cost-per-wear was indefinitely high. Eventually, my wife made me throw it away, and I just cut off the mother-of-pearl buttons, which I still have to this day.
4. Bosch Microwave
In 2012, my wife and I bought a condo. We had the kitchen remodeled, we got a nice Bosch oven, and then got a matching Bosch microwave. Whether or not they were actually the manufacturer (as opposed to the label being licensed), we paid $800 for that thing, and it broke down and was complete garbage two days after the warranty expired. From that day on, I swore never to buy a Bosch microwave ever again.
5. White Suit with Mao Collar
In 2002, for my high school graduation, I wanted to be different, so I found a cool suit on eBay. It was all white, and had four or five front closing buttons and a Mao collar. I bought it for around $100, and I wore it in combination with a black belt, black shoes, and a white shirt with a wing collar. Check out the picture here, it looked horrible! The pants were puddling, too. But hey, thats how I got interested in menswear and it just got better thereafter. Looking back, it was a pretty pathetic look, but I stood out from the crowd!
6. Cashmere Socks
The first time I touched a pair of cashmere socks, I thought Wow. This is amazing. They were super soft, and cost over $100. Eventually, I realized because they were so smooth, they were also more prone to slip down my calves, and so they would always hang around my ankles. When I wore them with boots, they would go all the way into the boot, and so it was just a pain. Moreover, they got holes very easily, and so I just had to throw them away after around 6 months.
Dont get me wrong! I like cashmere for sweaters, for scarves, and so on. For socks, though, I have never found a combination with blends that has the same characteristics of cotton or wool. Also, I found cashmere was just not as absorbent. When it was worn, it was just a weird sock.
7. One-Size-Fits-All Socks
Before I could afford cashmere socks, I had these one-size-fits-all socks from Polo Ralph Lauren because I liked their patterns, but they had nylon and polyester and Spandex, and were sometimes quite tight around my calves. So at the end of the day, I would take them off and I would have strong marks on my skin; it sometimes hurt because it just didnt fit my foot right. I really regret buying them, but without them, I may not have come to appreciate over-the-calf socks as quickly as I did. Perhaps because of this, we only sell over-the-calf socks in our Fort Belvedere shop today.
8. Steadicam Equipment
When you film outside, for example, its very easy to end up with shaky video footage, and no one likes that. So back in the day, you could buy what was called a Steadicam, which had weights that helped you balance so you had a smoother picture. It took a bit of practice to use and was quite heavy. I think I bought three different Steadicams, and we used exactly zero of them for any video shoot. So, it was all a complete waste of money! Fortunately, the market advanced, and now you can find gimbals that are three-way or four-way stabilized with engines, and its a lot easier to film.
9. Green Duffle Coat
I thought it might be kind of cool to have a different color of duffel coat that was bolder. I didnt have a duffle coat with a hood, so I thought Yeah! Why not get one? But so far, Ive worn it zero times. Maybe this winter, who knows? Well, I doubt it!
10. My College Education
I went to law school in Germany and the US. Overall, it cost a lot of money, and I never worked in law for a single day in my lifebecause in my opinion, it sucks and I hate it. That being said, I met my wife during a law school exchange program in 2006, so without having gone to a law school, I would not have met her! So Im glad I went there but without that, law school was a big fail for me.
11. Rimowa Suitcases
Rimowa is a luxury suitcase brand thats particularly popular in the US and in China. I traveled between Germany and the US quite often between 2006 and 2009, so I thought Id give the brand a try. Sure enough, after the first trip, the suitcase I bought was broken. It was a polycarbonate suitcase because I wanted it to be lightweight so I could bring a lot back and forth.
I returned it to Rimowa, who said that they were having some issues in production. They gave me a new case, but the same thing happened again, this time after the second trip. From that point on, I said to myself, Rimowa no more! So what did I do? I gave Samsonite a try and sure enough, theyve been good companions ever since. (This post isnt sponsored; this was honestly just my experience.)
12. Crew-Neck Sweaters
Especially in high school, crew-neck sweaters were pretty much all I knew in terms of knitwear. The problem with them is that theyre usually so tight that if you wear a shirt or tie under them, it just covers up everything and its completely pointless. For that reason, I much prefer v-neck sweaters.
13. Short-Sleeved Dress Shirts
When I was a teenager, I thought it was cool to have dress shirts with short sleeves, but ultimately theyre a bad investment. You cant wear them with a tie, and they have the more formal button-front placket, so youll be better off with a polo shirt or a long-sleeve dress shirt where you can roll up your sleeves in case it gets hot.
14. All-Inclusive China Trip
In 2015, my wife, Teresa, joined Gentlemans Gazette full time and to celebrate and commemorate that, were going on a long round-the-world trip in 105 days. When we were in Europe, I thought it was cool to go to China and so we booked a two-week all-inclusive trip and we had two options; one was the regular one and one was the deluxe one. Of course, the deluxe cost twice as much and we thought it wasnt really necessary. Now, when we took the China trip, it was memorable in many ways, including the fact that a granny tried to climb over me in the airplane. Apart from that, the hotels that company chose were really bad, they were outside of the city center, oftentimes, they were No Smoking hotels but you can find burn spots all over the place or just a spot of someone threw over their coke but hey, they had jeans flavored condom in their hotel room, isnt that great?
During one of the trips, we take an overnight train and they put us in compartments with a bunch of different people that we just didnt know, which was interesting, but even better were the toilets because oftentimes in China, they just have a traditional hole and so on the train when things move left and right, you can guess that peoples aim is not the best so where does it end up? Well, all over the floor and it was just a terrible experience! Looking back, I wish Id shelled out the money for the deluxe tour and, of course, I dont know if it would have actually been better but Im a firm believer that the grass is always greener on the other side.
15. Bold Accessories
I remember once buying a pocket square with a vivid blue and an orange hand-rolled edge. At the time, I thought it was cool because I was in New York and I had bought this New York Knicks jacket which was orange and blue but I ended up wearing the pocket square never again, really, so it was just a waste of money. Anything thats really strong and bold is something I just didnt end up wearing very much down the line. Why? Well, its not really versatile and it just makes you stand out from the crowd in a weird way.
16. Online Courses
I once spent money on an online course about Adwords and to this day, neither I nor any of my employees have actually taken it. Its just a complete waste of money. If I talk to other people who either buy online courses or who sell them, they tell me a surprisingly small number of people actually take the course at full and maybe just even a quarter of the people even start the course. So when you buy an online course, you are all excited but then real life kicks in and you just dont finish stuff. Why is that? I think it has to do with the lack of coaching and no, Im not going to sell you any coaching here but if you look at all the pro athletes, they all have coaches. Its not because they probably wouldnt know what to do themselves but you need someone who holds you accountable and you will just accomplish more that way. I am in my 30s and Im just now realizing the true value of mentorship and coaching.
17. Ill-Fitting Gloves
I remember my very first pair of peccary gloves was from a German brand called Roeckl. It was really soft and nice and tried them on and I thought they were good. The problem was they were way too wide in my hand and the fingers were way too short. So yes, I had this beautiful leather but ultimately, the gloves didnt really fit me, they were flopping around my hand and looked really bad. Now, fortunately, the leather held up but the best ingredients are not worth it if the fit isnt right. Fortunately, I now have the full range of Fort Belvedere gloves that fit me beautifully and are made of high-quality materials.
18. Room & Board Furniture
Room & Board is a furniture brand that is local and because of that, they have an outlet here thats rather popular with Millennials. Their style is very mid-century modern and I remember us going there once and seeing a couch and we almost had to battle with other people and we ended up buying it. Once were at home, we sat on it and the cushions will always move outside and we would sink in the middle and it was just a *** experience. So we put it back on Craigslist and luckily, we could sell it very quickly because its hot *** but afterwards, we would still go to the Room & Board outlets and we buy a few things but eventually, wed always sell them. Today, my wife and I always joke when we are in the area, Hey, lets go to the Room & Board outlet! because whatever we buy there, we would never keep and so were not even going anymore, its just this running gag between the two of us.
19. Burberry Cashmere Scarf
The winter right after the year when I wore this white suit, I wanted a nice scarf and so I thought maybe Ill get this Burberry cashmere scarf because it had this Novacek pattern so I got it and then I realized, Oh this scarf is actually rather short and the cashmere wasnt as soft as I had hoped for. It inspired me to develop our own scarves for Fort Belvedere and without that experience, I probably would never have thought as much about scarves but ultimately, it was a huge waste of money because I couldnt really tie it. The only way to wear it was throwing it around my neck in one way but that wasnt quite warm and it also kind of blew off when the wind came.
20. Dining at Cosme in New York
A few months ago, my wife and I won a trip, just the two of us without our daughter, to New York because we wanted to enjoy ourselves, go to shows, go to museums, explore the city, and of course, go to nice restaurants. So I searched this list about the 50 best restaurants in the world and on 23 was Cosme in New York. So we went there and had dinner. Now, we had some dishes that were okay but one dish was listed as a main course and it was a mole sauce dish. I like mole sauce and its great but it came as a main course, it was a small plate of sauce with some corn tortillas and a few sprouts and that was it. I was like Are you kidding me? Youre selling me a main course that consists of a bit of sauce?
Overall, we spent several hundred dollars at this dinner but left the place very disappointed. Im not a food snob. I like very simple pea soup or a great sandwich at Katz Deli. I also spend money on food that is more experimental and creative, but at the same time, I feel like Im often disappointed when I go into these Michelin star restaurants because my expectations are so high then theyre just never met. Cosme though, for being rated number 23 in the world, was just a huge letdown.