Thursday, April 19, 2012

6 Dumb Mistakes I Made with Money

Welcome to this week's Frugal Follies Frugal Tip!

This week, since I'm in a bit of a bad mood, I thought I'd share some of the dumb stuff I've done with money over the years.  Luckily, I guess, the good stuff has outweighed the bad.  But here are a few things I wish I had taken back:
  1. Buying a new car.  We've bought three cars during our marriage.  Two were pre-owned cars (former leased models), but one was new.  We did that because we wanted a certain model and simply couldn't find a used one at a reasonable price. Instead, we should have looked for a different model of car.
  2. Financing cars. All three cars have been financed. Our first one was bought on 5-year payments, which we paid off in 5 years.  Our second was paid for with our previous home equity line; when we refinanced, that loan was rolled into our current home loan.  Our third was paid for with our current home equity line, which we are slowly but surely paying off now.
  3. Not contributing the maximum to our retirement accounts early in our careers. Before we had children, that would've been the time to invest as much as possible.  Although we did put 6%-10% in our 401(k) accounts once we were eligible, we really should have pushed it and put as much as our companies would allow in those accounts.
  4. Being too eager to buy a house. Although I love the house we're in how, I wish we had waited just a bit longer and saved up a bigger downpayment for it.  Luckily we bought before the big run-up in home prices, though.
  5. Investing in the stock IPO of my company.   In the tech stock run-up of the 1990s, my privately-held company went public.  I bought 100 shares of stock at $11 each.  A year later, the stock was worth $4.  I managed to get out before it dropped even more.
  6. Sending my eldest daughter to a private elementary school.  From an educational perspective, I'm happy with the decision we made.  But from a financial perspective... ouch!
Next week (assuming I'm in a better mood), I'll cover some of the good moves we made with money.

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Anonymous,  April 20, 2012 at 2:15 PM  

Number one dumb mistake I made with money.

Marrying someone who walked off with all we had.
Cost to me.
625K plus 21 years of my life plus all the money I earned during those years, plus 200K which I got dumped with his debt ! Mostly medical for him.

ff April 24, 2012 at 1:10 PM  

I'm sorry to anonymous, too! I've financed my car, but don't regret it. In all actuality it's probably been the cheapest car per month that I've owned. The other used ones that were paid for in cash were gas-guzzling clunkers.

Jennifer April 25, 2012 at 7:49 AM  

It is always easy to look back and regret the choices we made over the years. BUT if you were doing the best you could at the time, then that was all you could do.

Barb @ A Life in Balance April 25, 2012 at 1:47 PM  

#3 - I have the same regrets. When we first married, we had a really cheap apartment rental. Instead of socking away money, we spent it on going out to dinner. Boy did we make a lot of financial mistakes then. Hopefully, my kids will listen when I share what not to do.

Jane Anne April 25, 2012 at 2:45 PM  

I made some of these mistakes, too. I sure wish we didn't rack up credit card debt when we were married with no kids. Instead we could have been building up our 401Ks. If only...
Now I just hope to teach my kids good money principles- things no one taught me.

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Anonymous,  June 3, 2012 at 11:56 PM  

I woke up one morning 70k in debt and financially tied to a very evil man who robbed me of everything, but my soul.God helped me keep that and what little sanity I had left. I am now debt free and saving. Every night I give thanks to God for where I am now. If I hadn't let myself get so far in debt, I could have gotten away from this man sooner. Save, save, save, my little pretties and if you are with a thief,keep it your little secret until you can be with someone you can share unconditional love with.

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