Frugal Fail: Gas Grill Edition

5 Feb

I have a confession to make: my husband and I recently made a big purchase and we did not get any kind of extra savings. We did not pass go and we certainly didn’t collect $200. While the purchase hasn’t put us in debt or created any financial burden, I feel pretty dirty about not exploring the savings opportunities that are now cluttering my brain.

Photo by hobvias sudoneigh via Flickr

Photo by hobvias sudoneigh via Flickr

 

THE CONTEXT

My husband is an excellent cook and uses his grill pretty regularly. Rain or shine, blizzard or windstorm, he’s out there grilling up pork chops, chicken breasts and the occasional New York strip. The grill he’s had for the past 10 years was purchased at Walmart and put together lovingly in the living room of the condo we were living in at the time. It wasn’t a fancy brand but it did have a push-button starter and a side burner. It also had a wide upper rack which my husband used regularly to grill meat on less heat. This feature actually kept him from upgrading the grill since newer models all sported a much narrower upper rack.

THE BREAKING POINT

After a decade of use and absolutely no protection from the elements, the grill has seen better days. That push-button starter was chewed off by our dogs during their puppy days, and the plastic side shelf is melted in the middle due to a poorly placed briquette. The last two meals prepared on the grill were undercooked, and it was at this point that I insisted my husband make a purchase. He’s been eyeballing a Weber grill for months. Every time he went to the store to purchase it, he left empty-handed feeling it was just too much to spend on a grill. I reminded him how often he uses the grill and how flaky his current one had been.

THE IMPULSE

A couple weekends ago, I suggested we visit Lowe’s and finally commit to the purchase. He agreed and within minutes of walking through the door, we were leaving with 175 lbs of new grill. It took us about an hour-and-a-half to put together — a pretty fun project, really — and by the end of the evening we had a shiny new toy.

THE REMORSE

Since the purchase, my husband repaired the 10-year-old grill and gave it to one of our good friends. He feels better about the upgrade now that his beloved appliance has a new home. Meanwhile, I’m thinking of all the ways we could have saved money and kicking myself for it. My husband has gift cards to Home Depot but our local store didn’t have the propane version of the model we wanted. This should not have been a big deal, as we could easily have ordered the right model and had it shipped to the store. BOOM, gift card savings right there. I’ve always touted the benefits of using discount gift cards to save money but I failed to take my own advice here. I can find gift cards to Lowe’s and Home Depot for 10 to 12 percent off, saving us even more money on the grill. Basically, we could have saved a chunk of change on this purchase but because I was impatient and impulsive, we paid full price instead.

THE LESSON

I’ve written a lot about time, and how it can be the biggest money-saver when making a purchase. I’ve also discussed how waiting is the hardest part when you’ve identified something you want. During each of these discussions I’ve highlighted how important it is to stick to your guns and not let impulsive desires overtake your common sense. I also know that regardless of what you’re buying, there’s usually a way to save some money on it with a little effort. I utterly failed in these simple goals during the purchase of this grill and now I’m paying the price (so to speak). What’s worse is my husband had the wherewithal to hold off on the purchase and I strong-armed him into it. I literally put down my plastic while he was in the bathroom at the store. 

So there it is. I should feel better having acknowledged my failure, but to be honest I feel a little worse now that I see it all in black and white! Eventually I’ll appreciate it for what it is — a learning experience.

Now it’s your turn — any purchase decisions you regret?

6 Responses to “Frugal Fail: Gas Grill Edition”

  1. Shane @ Financial Debauchery February 5, 2014 at 7:10 pm #

    It sure is easy to relate to this experience as I have gone through the same pain countless of times before. Haha. Luckily though, my impulse purchases were all the cheaper kinds — you know, little things like lipsticks that end up as mere displays on my dresser. What I do to minimize impulse spending/buying is think about another thing I equally want. From there, a mental debate sparks and this usually forces me to hold up buying anything at all until I decide which I really want more. The next day, it’s either I end up too lazy to go back to the store or realize I don’t actually need both.

    • Kendal February 5, 2014 at 7:18 pm #

      I like the process you go through before buying something! I’ve definitely decided against buying anything after trying on a ton of clothes and selecting a few to purchase. It’s this weird feeling that totally overcomes me and screams “you really don’t WANT any of this and you certainly don’t NEED it.” The grill was definitely a need (relatively speaking) but it was purchased impulsively instead of thoughtfully. Thanks for commenting!

  2. Travis @debtchronicles February 6, 2014 at 1:13 pm #

    There’s impulse buying….and then there’s going shopping for something purposefully that you REALLY REALLY want. I can identify with this story because I fire up my grill several times a week, rain or shine, snowstorm, tornado, or earthquake (although we don’t get many of those in Minnesota..lol). I’m in the market for a new grill this spring (I held off last year), and every time I’m in a Menards, Lowes, or Home Depot, no matter why I go there, I head to the grill section first. It would be SO easy to just load up a new grill….but if I keep telling myself that I haven’t found THE one yet. It’s almost like dating again….I need to find the perfect grill for me before I commit. 🙂

    • Kendal February 6, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

      Take it from someone who’s been there — do what you can to save money including loading up on those discount gift cards I mentioned. Since everyone will be looking to buy a new grill in the spring, you might see what deals are available now when people are still digging themselves out of snow drifts. We couldn’t find any for the brand we purchased, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist! Thanks for your encouraging words — I’m feeling better with every comment! 🙂

  3. Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life February 6, 2014 at 5:58 pm #

    I’m at a point that I don’t feel good about paying full retail for anything. There are just so many discounts to be had, I feel like there’s no excuse, and yet, every so often, I do it anyway.

    • Kendal February 6, 2014 at 5:59 pm #

      I totally agree, which is a big reason I’m so disappointed in myself. I know better! Thanks for commenting!