A number of years ago, at least 6, maybe more, I bought myself a bottle of really decadent (for me) body lotion at Bath and Body Works. This was smack dab in the middle of my “If it is on sale it must be a good deal” phase of life, when I would buy things simply because they were on sale and I wanted them. Never mind the actual cost or if it was a reasonable cost compared to similar items elsewhere, or if I even needed it.
(This is the frame of mind I work to vigilantly avoid in my new stocking up and couponing phase, hence the spreadsheets and calculations of unit price costs.)
Anyhow, this body lotion was called “Pure Silk” and it has a price tag on it of $17.50 for a 6.5 ounce bottle. It’s a pretty bottle, but still. I know I didn’t pay $17.50 for it, because I never paid full price for anything there (does anyone?), but I am sure it wasn’t cheap. The problem is, I never even liked the stuff. I liked it in the store, but when I got it home and used it on my legs it seriously seemed to leave a film behind on them I could almost peel off. It was icky, and I didn’t like it.
But it was expensive, and I convinced myself I would learn to like it because I had spent so much money on it.
Looking back, I am sure I could have brought it back to the store and exchanged it for something else. But I either didn’t realize that at the time, or I for some reason didn’t want to. And I’ve kept this lotion for years now, every so often pulling it out and using it, thinking I would like it better. And the same thing happens, I hate it, and I put it away. Because I spent so much for it in the first place, in my head I had convinced myself that I needed to use it.
No more. The lotion is a sunk cost, meaning I will never recoup what I spent for it no matter how much I use it or don’t use it. Once I bought it, that was it, the money was spent. And I am finally okay with that. At the time I might have been able to recover my losses by returning it, but that is water under the bridge and it isn’t even made any more. So instead of keeping it, adding to my endless clutter and forcing myself to use it every so often to justify buying it in the first place, I am finally done with hanging on to the lotion. I took it out last night, and I threw it away. I don’t like it, I don’t want it, I have more lotion anyway than I can use in a lifetime, and I don’t need it. Out it goes.
What sunk cost in your own life are you holding on to that maybe you should let go of?