Tennis Skirts and Other Impulse Purchases

Jun 29 • Financial Planning • 578 Views • No Comments on Tennis Skirts and Other Impulse Purchases

I recently found myself pondering the question, “Why do I own a tennis skirt?”  I know what you’re thinking – maybe she played in college?  High school?  A recreational league?  The answer to all of these questions is a resounding “no.”  I have played tennis maybe 12 times in my life just for fun with patient, understanding, mildly-athletic friends.  The type of finesse and targeted strength that the game requires does not come naturally to me.  Every time I have engaged in a match, the main focus and strategy was just keeping the ball inside the court.  For every hour I have played tennis, I probably spent 20 minutes of it retrieving balls from the bushes on the other side of the fence.  Now that I am in my mid-30’s, have two kids, and I have broken my elbow (dominant arm, of course) the likelihood of me becoming a tennis pro is rapidly declining.  I work full-time, have a household to manage and two kids under the age of 3, so the likelihood of me even engaging in a random tennis match on a Sunday afternoon is slim to none.

Which brings me to the quandary of the tennis skirt.  I recently realized that I own not one, but TWO tennis skirts that have never been worn.  I literally have no reason to own such gear – I have never been on a tennis team, I don’t even fully understand the rules of the game, and let’s just say that I surpassed my athletic “peak” several years ago.  Even if I decided to play a game of tennis in the near future, I would likely wear shorts or pants, not a skirt.  I think that tennis skirts are lovely, but that doesn’t mean that I should own one (let alone, two)!  Why would I need one?  In the rare case that I am invited to a Wimbledon watch party?  Halloween?  On the off chance that I am invited to a yuppie-themed 40th birthday bash?  (This thought has actually crossed my mind).  The answer is “none of the above.”

Walking through Marshalls a couple of weeks ago, I spotted a really cute green and white tennis skirt that was calling my name.  It was adorable, probably super-flattering and the colors would look great with my skin tone.  I unconsciously reached in to check the price tag.  Wow! 30% off! (probably because 98% of the population also has no need for a tennis skirt).  It seemed like a screaming good deal.   As I started to put the skirt in my basket, I stopped and thought, “What is wrong with me?”  I already own two tennis skirts that I have not yet worn.  I sighed and put the coveted kelly green skirt back on the rack.

I feel like a lot of people have “tennis skirts” in their lives.  Things that they buy that end up taking up space in their closet or home that never get used or worn.  Things that they are drawn to purchasing or are a “great deal” cost-wise, but they really have no need for.  If we assume I have spent $30 a pop on tennis skirts, I am essentially down $60 for clothing that I have never used or worn.  Sure they may have some resale value on eBay, but at the end of the day I never got any use out of these purchases.  Wasting $60 is not going to break the bank by any means, but I could have spent those dollars more productively.  Had I invested those funds 5 years ago, they might have grown to a larger amount – maybe $75 or $80.  Alternatively, I could have purchased something that I actually got to use and enjoy that would have been worth the money.  I have found that I get buyer’s remorse much more often than a sad longing for something that I decided not to purchase.  If you are faced with a “tennis skirt,” I encourage you to wait 24 hours (or at least 1 hour) and give yourself time to consider if it is really a worthwhile purchase.  Ask yourself – “When will I use this?  Where would I wear this?  How often?  Would I buy it if it were not on sale?”  If you have trouble answering any of those questions, you are probably looking at a “tennis skirt” (i.e. an impulse purchase) that you might regret.  Remember, it doesn’t matter how low the price is or what a great bargain you got, if you purchased something you are not going to use, you just threw money away.

For more information, visit our website at makinglifecount.com or contact Jamie Bosse at 913-345-1881 or jbosse@makinglifecount.com.

Photo credit: pfctdayelise via Foter.com / CC BY-SA

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