There are bad ideas, and then there are ideas so bad that the very thought of the idea should have you questioning your ability to even use velcro. Okay, that’s a bit over the top, but you get my point.
I’m often asked what I think is the biggest waste of money. While there are certain expenses that are in the running for this dubious title, none is so heinously wasteful as the winner. And of course by winner, I mean loser. The best of the worst. I mean the worst of the worst. Okay? Let’s move on.
If you are reading this blog, that means that you have access to a computer. Your access to a computer means that you are most likely in the wealthiest one percent of people on this planet. It’s crazy to think that ownership of a computer means that you have a degree of wealth, but it does. In other words, we have a helluva lot more than we think we have, when compared with our fellow planet-mates. This point really comes to light when you consider the fact that some of us have so much stuff, that we pay someone else money to hold the stuff that we aren’t using.
And that is the storage unit industry in a nutshell. They store people’s useless and underutilized crap, for a monthly fee. I challenge you to find a stupider expense than this. And if the renter actually has other, more pressing obligations that would be a good use of the money (such as saving for a child’s college education or paying off debt), then the rental fee for storing unused crap is astronomically stupid.
Fortunately we live in a free market capitalistic society that allows you to sell your storage unit filler to other stupid people for them to store. Yes, I realize that storage units can makes sense in the middle of a move, or for those serving in the military. But most of the other justification for paying someone else to store stuff that you never use, are simply BS.
Can you think of a stupider expense than this? Leave me a comment, and let me know.
Peter Dunn a.k.a. Pete the Planner® is an award-winning financial mind and a former comedian. He’s a USA TODAY columnist, author of ten books, and is the host of the popular radio show and podcast, The Pete the Planner Show. Pete is considered one of the foremost experts on financial wellness in the world, but he’s just as likely to talk your ear off about bass fishing.
11 thoughts on “The stupidest monthly expense ever”
You know whats even stupider? Not paying your storage unit bills and letting some auctioneer sell your stuff to someone else who is going to make good money off of it.
Yes. Cable. We need all those channels less than we do useless things in a storage unit. Whereas sometimes storage units are necessary, cable television is always totally useless.
I agree with you to a point. It depends upon what is being stored and why. During my divorce, I used storage while I decided where I would live. I temporarily moved into a smaller space and needed somewhere to keep my stuff. Also, many home based sales reps will keep inventory in storage facilities due to lack of space in their homes, or just because they don’t want the clutter in their home. For the sales rep, it’s a business expense. So, in my opinion, it may or may not be a waste of money. Cable is my pet peeve. I deal with people who lose utilities but keep their cable. That’s what I call a poor use of resouces.
I think THE MOST stupid expense is cigarettes or any tobacco product
I have to agree with Victoria — there are many reasonable and fiscally sound reasons to spend money on a storage unit. Divorce is certainly one, as is temporary relocation for a job or military deployment, the death of a loved one, or university students going home for the summer. The most responsible use of a storage unit is when you know exactly how long you will need it and plan your expenses accordingly.
Thanks so much for participating in our conversation. As I stated in the post “Yes, I realize that storage units can makes sense in the middle of a move, or for those serving in the military.”
But at the same time, most of the money that the storage industry makes is off of people that negligently leave their stuff in storage for a very long time.
Believe me, I don’t blame the storage industry. They provide a great service, which I happen to believe is over-utilized.
Oh, it’s easy to find things that are stupider than storage units.
How about: cellphone insurance. That’s a total waste of money—self insure already.
Or: rental fees for luxury appliances. If you can’t afford to buy it with cash (or through layaway), don’t rent it!
Here’s another one: AOL. Seriously, people still pay for AOL’s free services
So yeah, storage units are a dumb thing to waste money on every month, but I think the three above are all even worse.
I have never understood how people could miss payments on a storage unit. Especially when they are storing valuables. Although, I admit that I am kind of glad some do…Storage Wars would not be nearly as exciting.
But what if I needed a place to hide a time machine? A storage unit would be a perfect place for that!
I am in the process of blending two households with two very stubborn people. I am one of those people. I was against renting a storage unit until it became obvious that we could not keep all of the things we deem too important to get rid of in my 730 sq.ft. condo. So, in my case, renting a 5×10 storage unit made more sense than moving from a condo with no mortgage to a larger home where we would incur a MUCH larger expense than the storage unit. The stuff that is in storage would be VERY expensive to replace, and consist of mostly expensive tools that my companion is not ready to part with at this point in his life. He intends to continue to USE those tools.
Oops, I didn’t read the question. A more stupid expense would be leaving our no mortgage condo to rent or purchase a home, and paying 15 to 20 times the cost of our storage unit just to keep the stuff that fits into our $50 a month storage unit.