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Winner's Circle

January 2013

Now that the rush of the holidays are over, what purchase do you regret the most, and what did you learn from the experience?

The Winning Entry

"I have the tendency to want to give my kids everything they might possibly want. So I generally overdo things at Christmas and my home looks as if Toys R Us threw up inside it. This year as I waded my way through discarded wrapping paper, and baby dolls, and action figures I overheard my mother asking my son what he got for Christmas. I listened eagerly to hear how much he loved all of the gifts I had worked so hard to get. Instead I heard him stammer and manage to remember only 1 or 2 of the fabulous toys he received. “Oh no”, I thought, “I have done it again!” I bought toys I thought he might want, or thought he would love instead of just getting the few things he actually asked for. In that moment I knew what I had done and I vowed not to make that same mistake again. In the end I even returned one gift that he never took notice of. Next Christmas my son will remember the gifts I give him because they will be what he asked for, and that will make him happier and me a little more financially secure!"

Tiffany R., Pasadena, TX

Other Favorites

Notable Mention

"The spending I regret the most from the holiday season are the things I purchased for myself. In the excitement of shopping and preparing to entertain/go to parties I spent a significant amount of money on clothes shoes and other goods for myself. None of them were necessary. What I learned (or should I say re-learned) is that when I am stressed or feel a lot of pressure to get a lot done in a short period of time I tend to seek comfort in shopping. I have known this but it is a bad habit I frequently fall back into."

Susan W., West Bloomfield, MI

"II waited ‘til the last minute and over-paid big time for an out of town hotel room to see a family member’s musical performance. If I had booked in advance I could have paid about $69 dollars but instead I waited ‘til the last minute and couldn’t get into the business class hotel, and had to book at a pricey hotel and spent over $200! Next time I will not procrastinate and get into gear earlier! I could have bought another gift for my daughter for Christmas or her birthday (which is just a few days after Christmas!) Hindsight is 20-20."

Amanda G., Cincinnati, OH

"Actually I don't have one particular purchase that I regret. What I regret the most is the amount of money, over all that I spent for the holidays. My initial intentions were to make my own gifts and personalize them for my friends and family. It was a wonderful idea...in theory! Had I actually prepared more I would have stayed way under my holiday budget. Instead I panicked and was running around all over looking for gifts and spending a lot more money than I planned. In 2013 I will be certain to work on my creative gifts in advance to save myself the heartache and guilt! "

Kris F., Boise, ID

"We purchased a $2,300 TV because it had 3D capabilities. We purchased the TV at a rent-to-own center and it turns out we’ll end up paying over $5,000 for the TV. We have come to realize that we should have just saved our money up and paid cash for it. We have only watched a 3D movie once since the purchase and we already had a perfectly good TV. Lesson learned: no more rent-to-own."

Stephen J., Bethel Park, PA

"I bought $100 in lottery tickets. It was a gift for 5 people and nobody won anything. I learned not to gamble with your money especially when funds are already tight."

Tracy E., Nescopeck, PA

"I bought an Easy Bake microwave oven for my granddaughter that was over-priced during Christmas. After Christmas I found the same product at another store for half price. I regret the purchase because the store did not have a return or refund policy, therefore I could not return the product or get a refund. I learned to be patient and I also will start reading the store's return exchange or refund policy."

Amalia G., Miami, FL

"I re-learned the most basic lesson: do not try to outdo anyone in gift-giving. A friend went overboard on my birthday gift so I decided to go overboard for the holidays so that he wouldn't outdo me. I turned a holiday meant for relaxation, family time, and happiness into a challenge. Guess my surprise when I got to open his gift to me and it was a simple blouse and socks. I was not only disappointed in myself but in the way I broke my budget. I forgot that gift-giving comes from the heart. It’s important to stay within your means and that if times are good then so be it. But, for me, I am trying to stabilize myself financially when times are not so good and I need to always be aware that I will give what I can, and not try to make a completion out of it when I’m in a challenging situation."

Mayra V., Panorama City, CA

"I bought a ROKU box the day after Thanksgiving. It was not on sale but was something that I had been wanting for some time. I brought it home and placed it on the dresser, still in the bag. After the mad sale rush was over and I went through my receipts I realized that I shouldn't have spent the extra $100. I really wanted to keep the ROKU but decided to do the responsible thing and return it to the store. I decided that I can wait until my tax refund comes in to make the purchase again. My biggest lesson was to avoid impulse purchases."

Feather W., Mount Sterling, KY

"I regret purchasing our Nexus 7 tablet. My husband and I didn't purchase any other gifts for each other but we still could have bought something cheaper for each other and puy part of that money toward our bills."

Brianna K., Christiansburg, VA