My Dumbest Purchase

by Kevin on March 13, 2008

Debt Kid is giving up his Nintendo DS Lite to listen to some dumb purchase stories. I’ve seen it on several other PF blogs, so what the heck here’s mine. Also check out Debt Kid’s blog in general. An interesting story that is going to be an uphill climb. Best of luck, Debt Kid.

My first car was a 1995 BMW 318is with an automatic transmission and a sunroof. My parents originally told me to save up my money and buy my own car. I targeted a 1990-1992 Mitsubishi Eclipse. They were easy to work on, and could go fast. It turns out they are also death traps according to insurance companies. That idea was quickly shot down. My parents then decided they would rather have me in a safe vehicle that cost a bit more than have me die in a wreck. Fair enough. Long story short, I ended up with this BMW and purchased it with 127,800 miles on it.

Surprisingly enough, this is not my dumbest purchase ever. It was an expensive car, but it was fun and safe.

1995 BMW 318is

No, my dumbest purchase is something I bought for the car. Lowering shocks/struts/springs. I did a lot of research over at BimmerForums.com (cars = bimmer, motorcycle = beamer; get it right). I ended up purchasing a $1,200 lowering kit that included 4 Koni shocks/struts and H&R Sport Springs. I also threw in some reinforcement stuff for the rear shocks because the sheet metal around the shock housings can be weakened.

All in all, this wasn’t a terrible decision. I saved up my money, paid for it on a credit card, and paid the credit card off at the end of the month. Yet this was something I didn’t need. This was definitely a want.

On top of that, a friend and I installed them ourselves in my parents’ garage. Professional installation would have been around $400! That’s a lot of money. Aw heck, we can do it ourselves…

Needless to say about a year later the front shocks were completely blown out. We had installed something wrong and they were ruined. The car rode very rough, but how was I to know that it shouldn’t ride that rough? I had to buy replacements, another $600. I also ended up not getting an alignment after we installed them, a horrible rookie mistake. Also about a year later I discovered my rear tires had worn through to the metal underneath. When your tires look like that, it is serious business. I could have experienced a blowout on the interstate that could have killed me. Tires were of course another couple hundred dollars, plus the alignment.

tire worn down

Photo by Joe Pemberton – this is what a tire worn down to the metal looks like. Now imagine this on a car tire, and in a much larger area.

This was one of those things that I chalked up to experience. Live and learn. But it really cost me some serious money not just once, but a few times over with having to replace things.

I don’t regret it, but do wish I could go back and smack the younger me. I might even still buy the lowering equipment, but I would get it installed correctly!

{ 2 comments }

Nuggie99 March 13, 2008 at 12:17 pm

I thought a beamer was what Captain Kirk used.

Recycling jokes is frugal, too, right?

Veteran Military Wife at Life Lessons of a Military Wife March 19, 2008 at 6:37 am

This blog post has been included in the “Carnival of Money Stories #51” at Life Lessons of a Military Wife. Hope you will drop by and read some of the many other wonderful entries received this week!

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