I Messed Up Today

I guess thinking about paying off my credit cards got me all hyped up.

A few weeks ago, there was a fire at the tanning salon I go to. (I know, tanning is bad, skin cancer, etc. Not the point of this post.) There really aren’t any other places in town to tan, so I decided to buy some visits close to my work.

I walked in planning to get the $19/month basic package recommended by a coworker. When I walked in, though, I found that the new tanning salon is WAY cooler than my old one. They have all kinds of advanced tanning beds that do amazing stuff, like spraying vanilla and lavender scent while you tan (no joke). There’s even a tanning bed that promises to give you a real base tan after 2-3 visits. I used it today and it was impressive.

You can probably guess what happened. I walked out with a contract for 6 months at $80 a month.

I can afford $80 a month. That’s not the issue. I’m just mad because I convinced myself it was okay to pay a total of $480 to tan for 6 months. Yes, it’s unlimited. Yes, I can use any bed I want. Yes, I smell like vanilla and lavender right now and I kind of like it. But $480?!?!?!?

When I pulled up outside the tanning salon, I laughed at a sign advertising a year of unlimited tanning if you pay $500 upfront. That’s crazy! I thought. Who would pay that much money to tan? Yet I’m paying the same amount for half the tanning. Stupid!

I’m so mad right now I can’t even formulate my thoughts. I’ll come back when I’m a little more coherent.

  • Ashley @ Money Talks

    weird. I'd be interested in some insight into how this happened. It's such an amazingly common occurance… to make an impulse purchase like this.

  • Andrea

    I can tell you exactly how it happens for me. If I think it's going to save time or energy, I can usually be persuaded. In this case, I thought about how much faster I would get my tan back using the higher end tanning beds, and it seemed worth it to spend the extra money.

    Tanning triggers very strong emotions for me. During the last few years I was married, I got really depressed, stopped being active, and gained some weight. I decided to do something for myself when I filed for divorce, so I bought tanning visits for the first time since high school. It was a huge self-esteem boost. Plus I love having 15 minutes with no one bothering me.

    So I think it was a combination of emotion and convincing myself it would save time. I'm anxious about starting my second job on Monday and how I will fit everything in with the longer work week. One thing I'll say for the contract - I know I'll make time to go because I don't want to waste the money any more than I am already!

    Wow, this is almost another post. I'll stop now.

  • Perfect Dad

    You got pwn'd. I am deathly afraid of professional marketers for that very reason: They control your mind! You didn't even notice how they got you to spend the money. It doesn't matter if it was worth it, probably it is. Just scary how easily they manipulate you. And you're helpless to stop it, because the decision makes sense to you at the time.

    Suppose you see an item, like a TV or a menu item or whatever, and the price, and objectively don't think it's a good idea. Marketers can present the exact same item at the same price, among other irrelevant items and with other irrelevant information, to make you think that you have to snap up that item right away because you'de almost be irresponsible not to. That's real, as my kid says.

  • Debt Free Divas

    We've all done it! Is there a contract or can you cancel at any time?

  • Andrea

    It's a six-month contract. Ugh….

  • wheresmomsmoney

    I've done that same thing at a tanning salon before! Unfortunately (or fortunately?) I don't tan anymore but I know how it can suck you in - I loved it (still do) but didn't love the money or those packages. But, yeah, I feel your pain - I've walked into a salon fully intending to buy the simple, least expensive package only to walk out with some crazy contract. Live and learn.

  • Alltid Blakk

    Your economy didn't get messed up in one day, it's not gonna take one day to fix it either. What's done is done. Stop beating your self up over it.

    I could tell you about my mistakes, but that would take way too much space. This is just a bump in the road.

  • Dave @ Money In The 20s

    I think we've all had those impulse purchases where we regret them the minute after…

    On the bright side, you will be very tan for the next 6-months!

  • Janette

    In most states you have 15 days to cancel- yours may be more. Check it out and cancel

  • Red

    Ouch! I used to be a tanning bed junkie, but my package was $27 a month. :-O Then a study came out that said tanning beds were as carcinogenic as cigarettes, and I was like, “Hm… Not worth it!” But I recognize that others have different priorities than I do.