I was asked to share a story about Finance Lessons Learned the Hard Way for the Lifetuner Chat Carnival. That could easily be the title of my life story. Everything we’ve learned in the last year, we learned the hard way, and we learned more than once.
We’ve made so many mistakes along the way, and most of them were avoidable. Many of them were made under the duress of having 4 small kids (or being pregnant with one of said kids), so I blame the hormones. The rest I’m 100% accountable for, but I also think my inner spender has a lot to do with it.
Learn more: Top 5 Financial Mistakes
Here are 10 stupid mistakes that cost us thousands of dollars. Some are overall spending patterns/issues, and some are specific.
- getting into debt: We should have spent what we earned, and never any more. At the time our choices seemed limited, and credit was the answer. That $1,500 credit card bill seemed insurmountable. Now I laugh in the face of $1,500 and wish we had paid it off and never used credit again.
- lifestyle inflation: When hubby’s hard work finally paid off and he started earning more we should have saved more. Instead we spent on trivial things, and saved some, but not as much as we could have.
- buying a used wagon instead of a minivan: I used to be anti-minivans. I know dumb, but a woman has to maintain some sense of self! We bought a wagon about 1 1/2 months before we found out number 3 was on her way. No, 3 car seats don’t fit in a small wagon.
- leasing a minivan: See above, the solution lease a van. DUMB.
Learn more: What Cars Earn ‘Best Resale Value?’
- spending windfalls: Every time we got a windfall in the past we spent it. We thought we deserved it. Pfffblt.
Learn more: What To Do With A Windfall
- buying too much stuff: There was a time when we didn’t have enough stuff. So we bought stuff, and then we bought more, and more, and then we had way more than we needed. Despite moving I still have piles of stuff to get rid of, sell or donate. this goes hand in hand with…
- unconsciously spending: No not sleep-spending, but spending when you aren’t thinking. Like when I’m out with the kids after getting 6 hours of interrupted sleep. This happened a LOT when the kids were younger, and it still happens sometimes.
Learn more: On “The High Cost Of Having Kids”
- buying a bigger house: Yes, we needed the space, but we spent a year looking for a new house, and ended up buying a fixer upper for way more than we should have spent. Why? Because our house sold and we had 60 days to find a place, and this was the best house that we could afford in the location we are in. It also didn’t help that during that year we didn’t save a dime.
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- not having an emergency fund: I didn’t even know what one was for many years. I thought it was when you borrowed against your credit card when you needed it. Not really, but that’s how we lived.
Learn more: Why You Need An Emergency Fund
- not planning spending: Our lives require so much planning, that sometimes we don’t want to do any more planning. Big mistake! We should plan every penny we spend even if it’s just called “weekend money” or “fun money”.
What are your stupid spending mistakes/patterns?