My 4 Worst Purchases During Quarantine

I regret buying every single item on this list

Matt Lillywhite
May 15 · 4 min read
Image by Megan Rexazin from Pixabay

I made a lot of mistakes during the pandemic — especially financial ones.

There were multiple occasions when I thought buying something was a great idea. “I totally need this” is something I told myself all the time. But more often than not, my purchases ended up in either economic disaster or personal humiliation.

Here are the top four things I regret purchasing during Quarantine:

1) Airline Tickets That Never Got Used

I was in a hurry to leave Australia in March 2020 because the country was about to close its borders. Furthermore, due to various restrictions, many other countries weren’t allowing passengers to transit through their cities.

My intention was to fly to New Zealand, where I had temporary residency. So I bought a plane ticket to Auckland for a few hundred dollars. Any sense of optimism, however, was short-lived, as New Zealand announced that it would be shutting its border to international travellers a few hours later.

I also had temporary residence in Canada thanks to a work visa. So, I purchased a ticket to Vancouver via Los Angeles. But when I awoke the next morning, I found texts from friends saying that the country had closed its borders to people who didn’t have citizenship or permanent residency.

I now have several hundred dollars in credit with Air New Zealand since many airlines refused to offer refunds. But since I won’t be visiting the country before the credit expires, it’s pretty much useless.

2) A Pair Of White Jeans

This one is self-explanatory. In June 2020, I earned a pretty sizable amount of money from my writing. So, I thought it would be an excellent idea to treat myself to some new clothes.

It’s important to note that I’m a financial minimalist who rarely buys new clothes. Perhaps once a year at the most. Even so, it’s just cheap clothing from H&M or another reasonably priced store. I tell myself that if something is still wearable, it doesn’t need to be replaced.

I spent $40 on a pair of white jeans while in Paris. But the following evening, I made spaghetti for dinner and got the sauce on my jeans. Despite watching a few YouTube tutorials to remove the stain, nothing worked. Unfortunately, they were permanently stained.

3) The Wrong MacBook Air

Here’s another tale from my trip to Paris last summer. It’s probably worth mentioning travel within Europe had reopened, and I followed all of the local health guidelines.

Anyway, I used to write all of my articles on my iPad. But since I was finally earning a decent income from writing, I decided to purchase a MacBook Air because I wanted to be more professional.

So, I visited the nearest Apple store and spent $1,300. A few hours later, I got home to my Parisian apartment. “I’m finally a professional writer” is what I said to myself while unwrapping the packaging. But after opening up the actual MacBook, I realized that I made a massive mistake.

The keyboard was French, and many of the letters were in the wrong place. Well, they were in the correct place for a French keyboard. But I wrongly assumed that every MacBook keyboard had the same layout. In case you’re wondering, here’s the layout of a US keyboard compared to a French one:

USA keyboard. Screenshot of Apple website taken by the author.
French keyboard. Screenshot of Apple website taken by the author.

Apple’s return policy meant I was able to get a full refund. However, it took a while for the money to be returned to my credit card. Then, about a week later, I ordered a Macbook from Amazon (with the US keyboard) and had it shipped to France.

4) Dogecoin

In January 2021, I thought it would be an amazing idea to purchase $2,500 of the cryptocurrency, Dogecoin. Elon Musk was tweeting about it, and I wanted to get in on the action.

The coin was seven cents when I purchased it. But when it fell to five cents a few hours later, I let my emotions take over and sold at a loss. At the time of writing, it’s priced at approximately 52 cents. So, if I held until today, my $2,500 gamble would be worth over $18,000.

My poor investment decision with Dogecoin was a lesson in my biggest and most prominent character flaw: impatience. But now, I’ve learned from my mistakes. And hopefully, my future investment decisions will be based on the fundamentals of a stock or cryptocurrency instead of emotion.

Each and every one of us makes mistakes. It’s perfectly normal. However, in order to improve the future, it’s often necessary to learn from the past. Otherwise, we’ll keep making bad purchases year after year, creating a financial hole that could be difficult to climb out of.

This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only. It should not be considered Financial or Legal Advice. Consult a financial professional before making any significant financial decisions.

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