My Big (Biggest) Money Flop (Ever?)

I was debating if I should post about this on my blog, because this is about saving money, and what I have to write about is how I basically lost a heck ton of money, and what exactly will that teach you readers? And will it make you think badly of me that I screwed up this badly? But... I asked on Facebook if I should write this post and there was an overwhelming response that yes, people do want me to write this post. Also to show y'all that I'm a real person, and that frugal people also flub things up, and maybe also as a life lesson? I dunno. Either way, y'all asked for it, you're getting it.

So here goes it.

Critics, please be nice. I feel gross enough about this already.

Last year I was trying to figure out how to make my home as COVID friendly as possible and yet enjoyable as well. I have a goal to make my house be a fun place that my kids would want to be, despite it being small, and part of that is making a sensory room in my home, with yoga swings, hammocks in the yard, and a trampoline in the back yard. So when I saw a swimming pool being sold at the scratch and dent store at a really affordable price, I jumped on it.

The thing is... I was trying to cut corners and save money, so when I was trying to level out my yard to make the pool flat, I didn't just use dirt or sand. I used some large rocks as well.

We enjoyed the pool for a few months, but at the end of the summer we saw that the pool kept losing water quickly. We found a hole in the corner, exactly where it rubbed against a rock.


I knew I could fix it, I'd get a patch kit.

No biggie, right?


Biggie for me, because of my forgetfulness, busy life, and many other factors.

I didn't fix the pool crack right away because the pool was wet. I needed to dry it before I could fix it.

But there was still a little water in the pool and it was growing algae and I wanted it out. But I didn't dry it off and close up and fold the pool up, patching it up, and putting it away for the summer.

Nope. I left it out there. In my yard.

And then it rained. And got wet again. 

And I kept on saying oh, I can't put it away now, I'll wait for it to dry out.

And then it rained again.

And I was waiting for it to dry.

Repeat the entire winter.

Two days ago I was in the city and I passed a store selling pools and I walked in and asked them if they had a patch kit. They did. So I bought some. And said finally, this time I'll patch it up.

Today I went out to my yard and saw that yes, the pool was finally dry. And went to look at the hole...

And discovered that the pool doesn't just have one hole, but probably 30 or 40 if not more.

That is definitely not fixable. It would be more patches than pool.

Oh well. 

Oh well.

It was frustrating.

But the frame and the pump and the ladder are still good, so I can just buy a replacement pool/liner to use with what I have, right?

Only I searched and searched and searched and I couldn't find a replacement part anywhere.

But now that I saw how wonderful having a pool is, I don't just want to give up on that anymore.

Only I can't even find a pool for the price I paid for one last year, $315. Even on the price comparison websites that show discounts and deals they were at least twice that price. A simple replacement would cost a lot of money.

Last year when I got my 3 meter diameter by 1 meter deep pool my friend told me that I'd see how much I like having a pool and will want to upgrade to something bigger. I told her I didn't have room in my yard for something bigger.

But I thought about stuff and did some measuring and figured out that if I move my trampoline into my front yard, it would actually fit there and not upset my plants and trees or block my access to my pergola there. And once I move the trampoline I can actually get a bigger pool. I actually have room for a pool that at least 6 meters long, but I don't need one that big. I found a pool that is 4.12 meters long by 2 meters wide, and is actually 1.22 meters deep! That is 13.5 feet by 6.5 feet and 4 feet deep! That is actually long enough to do short "laps" unlike my current (and holey) pool that after one stroke I was at the other end. That should be long enough to actually do some exercising in, and deep enough that I'll feel like I'm in a real pool and not need to kneel to have a majority of my body covered in water. This is actually deeper than my daughter Rose is tall, but she already knows how to swim (she has swimming lessons in school! Yay for special ed!) and there won't be any going into the pool unsupervised so it looks good. And hopefully it'll be satisfying enough that I will actually be content just swimming there and not paying to go to a larger full sized pool.

Ok, but here's the thing.

The pool costs $850, which is nearly 3 times the price of the first one.

But there aren't really any cheaper options. In fact, the only ones that are remotely cheaper are ones that are only .7 meters tall, or 2 feet 3.5 inches deep. As it is, one meter deep was barely deep enough, I am not willing to go with anything shorter because then it is just a glorified kiddy pool, and I want a real actual pool. 

The other meter deep pools are actually the same price, more or less, as the one I was looking at and eyeing enviously. 

There are a few cheaper ones than what I was looking at that are still a meter or taller, but they are all round and their diameter is larger than my yard can handle (part of my yard is dirt/fake grass and part is tile, and they aren't the same level, and at the diameter being shown it would go onto the tiled part as well, which wouldn't really be practical.

Basically, unless I was willing to go with something 70 centimeters, it was either what I was looking at, or nothing.

I was trying to decide if I should spend the money on that, or if there were cheaper alternatives. People suggested that I look for swimming pool liners, generally used for above ground pools that are not intex type. To be honest by this point I didn't really want to do this, but if there was a more frugal option maybe I should do that... The thing is, though, that I searched the internet locally and for companies that ship to my country, and didn't find pool liners the dimensions of my current pool, so at least this decision was made for me.

I went to the store that I bought my pool from last year, and asked them if they will have pools this year. They currently only have kiddy pools but will be getting pools in a little while and they should have big ones, they said. However, I'm not counting on this, and not counting on it being a pool that will be what I need. And even if it is, I'm still debating about whether or not I should get one of these. My physical therapist actually recommended that I get a bigger and deeper pool so that I can properly use it to take care of my physical issues (more on that in another post) so it'll save me money on physical therapy in the long run. So even if they do have pools just like the one that I bought, I'm not sure I want to go with that...

I still haven't made the final decision regarding the big pool, haven't pressed buy on the website with the pools... but this time I'm going to make sure that whatever pool I get will actually last. That means that I will pay extra to ensure that this pool is in as great condition as possible for as long as possible. That means paying for a delivery of large quantities of dirt to completely even out my backyard so that no rocks or anything like that are needed to hold up any poles or whatever. And I'm going to invest in a padded mat meant to go under pools to cushion them and keep them safer. 

And I am going to make sure, no matter what, that I bring in my pool before it becomes winter. I feel so silly that I didn't do that last time around and was left with a completely destroyed pool.

So there you have it, my big, costly, ridiculous money flop.

Unfortunately it isn't the first and won't be the last time I lost money because of my ADHD and procrastination and forgetfulness. But it definitely was the most costly one.

I'm just waiting for someone to say "I told you so". Only don't please. I already feel stupid enough for it.

What was your biggest money flop you made?

Penniless Parenting

Mommy, wife, writer, baker, chef, crafter, sewer, teacher, babysitter, cleaning lady, penny pincher, frugal gal


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  1. We all have done that mine was trying to put together a fun family day out and it completely fell apart with out being able to recoup the money

  2. Ty for sharing. Maybe you can get a pool cover for the winter time? May i suggest that if you get such pool, you take out the slide so - little ones, neighbors etc don't show up, while you are not there? Please post the photo of the new pool, BH. simchas.

    1. Mine doesn't have a slide. But the ladder has a safety mechanism to stop people from going in.

  3. These things happen! Don’t be so hard on yourself. You have a lot on your plate

  4. The pool sounds great. Any way you can put it on a credit card and pay off in monthly installments? It's an expense with all the other work that needs to be done in the yard, but it will pay off in time.

    1. I don't do credit cards or paying things in installments. If I can't pay cash I don't buy it. I don't want to create debt.

  5. Pool's a great idea, especially if it's so warm where you live. Thanks for the reminder that you're a real person, trying to make decisions in a stressful pandemic time. We've all been there, we've all messed up, and if someone hasn't yet, it's because the opportunity hasn't presented itself. It will.

  6. We all mess up sometimes! It's part of being human.

  7. We've all made expensive mistakes. Don't worry that we'll judge you.

  8. You have BOTH ADHD and procrastination??? You are an amazing woman. Your "mess up" could have happened to any of your readers. And more so, many of us would have let this snowball into something much more financially disastrous. You are a winner. In the school of hard knocks, you learnt a valuable lesson and you have the guts to relive it in your writing and serve as a lesson to all who wish to learn from you. Thank you....from all of your readers.

  9. Think of the kind words you would say to a friend and say them to yourself. You are human as we all are. If you invest again you are now better informed. Anyone who reads your blog knows you are a great Mom and it is an investment for your children and in your own health which also benefits them.

  10. You found a way last summer for your kids to have a lot of fun during a pandemic. Focus on that. You may have made some mistakes,but you got the pool out of a desire to make your kids happy. Everyone wastes money and does things less than ideally sometimes.

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