Buyer’s remorse: A feeling of deep regret when you realize you don’t actually want or need or even like your purchase. As irritating as buyer’s remorse can be, in many situations, there’s a return policy for that. But what about saver’s remorse? Is it possible to actually save money in such a way that you develop that same feeling of deep-seated regret? It turns out there is.Thinking about our vacation from 36,000 feet in the sky, I couldn’t help but let saver’s remorse wash over me. Or more precisely gnaw at my stomach. The Liberia airport is teeny tiny and dozens of Trip Advisor reviews cautioning against the sky-high prices at the local eatery left me with a plan: I would scoop up some snacks from the resort’s lounge before hopping on the plane. All went according to plan until I realized that the two slices of banana bread my husband and I split were hollow succor…or at least not nearly as filling as a sandwich would have been. Even a leftover snack bar that I fished out of my carry-on did little to fill me. Of course, I was probably $30-$40 richer, but I spent two hours in an airport followed by three and half hours in the air with a rumbly stomach. Saver’s remorse indeed.
Still, that kind of saver’s remorse is more of a nuisance than anything. Add sandwich, problem solved. But what about serious remorse? The kind that can’t be easily remedied? Our vacation to Costa Rica was a tropical fusion of sun and sand, relaxation and adventure. But we did not get to do everything we had planned. Originally, I had my heart set on seeing a volcano up close. When we discovered that the Costa Rica volcanoes would only let us view them from a distance, it was a little challenging to justify the $150+ price tag for each person. After all, I could see volcanos lining the horizon when I stood on our balcony for no additional charge.
Nicaragua, though, promised a volcano with lava flowing right before my eyes. The problem? A day trip there would set us back over $400. $400 is no small chunk of change. It’s more than every other trip the tour companies offered by leaps and bounds. It’s more than all the other spending we did on our vacation. It’s almost half a mortgage payment. It’s more than enough for two people to go to Vegas. Not to mention the fact that it would have been a sixteen-hour day and a tedious border crossing that garnered months of questions from my mom, like, “If you can’t cross back over, does Costa Rica even have an army to come get you?”* So we didn’t go. We opted out.
But I can’t shake this feeling. It’s the same feeling that I used to get when I would root around a shopping bag, retrieve my latest impulse buy, and realize it didn’t quite fit right or I would have preferred a purse instead of another pair of shoes. But there’s no receipt for this. In fact, I can’t fix this saver’s remorse in the next 30-, 60-, or 90-day window. I’m not sure I’ll ever be able to fix it, because I have no idea if or when we will return to Central America.
As my stomach rumbled, I flicked through photo after photo of our trip and smiled. It was a fantastic vacation. It was one of my absolute favorites. But I also can’t help but wonder how I would feel if that saver’s remorse hadn’t taken hold in the back of my mind.
* Have I mentioned I’m an only child?
So Tell Me…Have you ever had saver’s remorse? How did you combat it?