• Frankie Calkins

My 5 BEST & 5 WORST Purchases of 2018

Updated: Mar 31, 2019

As we reach the end of “Q1” of 2019, I find myself still thinking back to 2018 and my year of learning all things money. It was about this time last year that I did a major deep dive into my prior year’s spending.

This year, I don’t feel it’s as essential to go through that exact same exercise (trust me, I’m talking spreadsheeting and dissection I haven’t done since 6th-grade science class). However, I do think it’s important to reflect on my consumer spending - the stuff I bought beyond my needs. The stuff I technically could live without… AKA my “wants.”

Is all consumer spending bad? And why do we do it?

It’s important to point out: not all spending in your “wants” category is bad. Sometimes, these purchases are good and healthy, especially if they help you be more productive or help you with a new hobby or passion or you saved up for it and paid in cash. Plus, let’s be real -- we work hard to purchase these wants we desire. Wants keep us motivated. As Sheryl Crow would say, buy it “if it makes you happy.” I think that’s what she was singing about anyways…

On the other hand, we all buy sh*t we don’t need. Why? For status. To impress others. For retail therapy. Because it’s on sale so I have to have it! We all make spending mistakes and excuses. And that’s okay because we’re all human... as long as we learn from it.

Review a Year of Spending

And here’s the deal -- it doesn’t need to be a new year to set a resolution or review your last 365 days of spending. Today, I’m going to review 2018 but you could review your last 365 days of spending any day and I encourage it!

With that in mind, here are my 5 BEST and 5 WORST consumer purchases of 2018. This isn’t to say buy these things and don’t buy these others. I simply hope it encourages you to do this same exercise and gain inspiration with my wins and learn from my losses. But mostly, I want to encourage you to be intentional with your spending.

So, from least expensive to most expensive, here’s my list of good and bad purchases from 2018:

GOOD (1)

THIS fridge notepad for organizing meals and grocery lists. It was a stocking stuffer and a great one. We use it daily still. And the other day we figured out it perforated down the middle so we can leave the meal plan on the left and rip off the grocery list on the right. Was also featured recently in THIS youtube video I made...

BAD (1)

THIS salad spinner. I bought it because I thought it mixes up salads. It dries lettuce. Fail. However, we ended up keeping it and using it a handful of times… I’m trying to learn to love it. At the very least, it helps relieve stress. The point here is, read the fine print, or rather large print, and know what you’re buying!

BAD (2)

THIS universal remote. Sure, it was only $20 on sale. And sure, I had been looking for a remote solution for months. However, it’s not a helpful upgrade after setting it up, which took an hour. It’s not fast. It doesn’t do what I want. It’s huge. And I almost always end up grabbing the original remotes. So, I went from 5 remotes to 6. Hooray! :/

PS - Universal remote for sale… comes with THIS fancy silicon blue case!

GOOD (2)

I covered THIS cold brew iced coffee maker already in THIS video. I freaking love it and even that is an understatement. But I’m also a weirdo that drinks cold coffee 365 days a year. It’s not for everyone but since warmer weather is coming I suggest you give cold brew a shot!

GOOD (3)

THIS portable speaker. Again it’s something I use daily. It’s under $60 and it’s waterproof and super travel portable as it can clip onto most backpacks or tuck away in a suitcase no problem. It hold up to water, gets X hours of battery and just plain works.

SIde note: I also suggest THIS one by Anker for a little less cost (less portable and not waterproof but perfect for home and the sound quality is on par, if not better).

GOOD (4)

THIS TV mount and THAT TV mount for the living room and bedroom. If you’ve been over to my house in the last year you’ve probably heard me brag about the quality and price of these. Truth be told, I remember paying over $150 about 10 years ago for a new mount at Best Buy. These cost me around $75 total for both. PLUS, I can watch the Mariners FROM THE KITCHEN while doing the dishes. Because misery does love company…

BAD (3)

THIS ridiculously terrifying Halloween costume. It’s fine and scary and all but #1 we won’t use it again and #2 we probably can’t sell it. Plus #3, as I say in MY BOOK, you should always consider making your own Halloween costume. You get more invested. It looks more authentic. AND you can actually sell something you threw together for cheap on Craigslist. Trust me, I almost bought someone’s homemade Double Dare outfit last year…

PS - Anyone want to borrow the terrifying costume this year?

BAD (4)

Any dog products NOT from Costco. I’m talking emergency poo bags I ordered from Prime Now, toys and snacks I pick up on a whim when I’m out and about, and bandanas from the local brewery after a few beers from said local brewery. So, buy in bulk when at Costco and stock up on food, toys, and… well… probably not bandanas but you get the point.

BAD (5)

THIS mattress. We had been looking at the beautiful, well-marketed foam mattresses that come in a box with 90-day trials. Instead, we got suckered into a President’s Day Amazon Countdown special. There was literally 10 minutes on the clock to make this $1,000 mattress $350. That led to sore backs for weeks. Which led to us buying a new mattress pad and new pillows to try to offset the pain. Eventually, our body got used to it but deep down we know it’s not a Casper… And of course, its new regular price is around $400.

Out of price order but ending on a positive…

GOOD (5)

THESE Costco pots and pans. We’ll probably have them for 10 years+. Solid. Good looking. Well built. Work beautifully. The only downside - they’re heavy! Good problem to have when cleaning and putting away. We get excited to cook. Things cook better. They have easily paid for themselves in avoiding the urge to eat out or cook that frozen pizza in the oven we have stashed away on a weeknight...

And for fun, here are a few other purchases that I still have #noregerts about:

On my list for this year (because spending should be intentional…)

  • A knife sharpener

  • A basketball

That’s it. I’ve adjusted my thinking about the way I look at purchases and what I NEED. I’m saving for a trip to Nashville. I don’t NEED the new AirPods.


Review a year of spending and be intentional about your consumer purchases THIS year.

Do you have any buyers remorse strories or humble brag purchases you'd like to share? Let me know in the comments!

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© 2020 by Frankie Calkins