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I must be depressed today. Maybe, I am just in the mood to dwell a little in the past. Anyway, I’ve been thinking about my biggest financial mistakes. Sure, I fixed them and have moved on from them, but I occasionally get annoyed at my own – albeit past – stupidity. I have made so many bad choices that it makes my head spin. Luckily, I have managed to learn from them and am determined to not make the same mistakes again.
Financial Regret #1: Gym Membership
I am burning up just thinking about it. Two and a half years ago, we were feeling all out of shape. We were hellbent on getting buff and sexy and decided to join our local gym. At $68 per month for the two of us, it wasn’t that bad of a deal. We figured that if we could get ourselves there a few days a week, it would be a pretty decent bargain.
However, I got pregnant shortly after that. As Greg can testify, I don’t do crapola while I’m pregnant. I don’t cook. I don’t clean. I mostly just eat and complain. So, we didn’t really make it to the gym during my pregnancy.
After my pregnancy, we still didn’t make it to the gym. We still don’t go now. OK, maybe we go every other month. Every time I go I can’t help but think, “This one visit is costing me 68 freaking dollars!” Somehow, the thought of what I am paying ruins the entire experience for me.
It gets worse. Our membership contract should have expired last December. Idiotically, we forgot to cancel it and, thus, it automatically renewed for another year! WTF! I asked them to show me the paperwork where I agreed to this aggravating stipulation. What I found was that I initialed this tiny little paragraph that stated that the contract would automatically renew for another year if we didn’t cancel it in writing 30-days prior to the its expiration. In the end, it renewed and there was nothing I could do about it. So…it’s still going on…costing me $68 per month. Thankfully, I am cancelling it this time, and we will be out of this mess come January.
Financial Regret #2: My Kirby Vacuum
Believe it or not, I got sucked into buying an $1,100 vacuum from a door-to-door salesman. Hell, I must have been bored that day. He showed up, vacuum in hand, and asked me if he could do a demonstration. Sure, why not? I let him in and he started showing me how incredibly dusty my house was. That Kirby sucked up piles of dirt and dust, and I could not believe it. I thought my house was really clean! I was wrong. Mortified, I bought the vacuum from him.
I have to admit that it is really a nice vacuum. I actually really like it but it still wasn’t a well thought out decision. Worst of all, I actually financed it for one year! How stupid is that to be making payments on a vacuum? Luckily, it was one year with zero interest, so I paid it off within that year. Now, the vacuum doesn’t bother me as much. It’s still embarrassing but it does work great and cleans a variety of surfaces with ease.
Financial Regret #3: My First Car
I have written about this before, but feel that it must be revisited. I bought my first car while I was unemployed. Seriously, I didn’t have a job and had no way to pay for it. I’m not really sure what I was thinking, or if I really even had a plan. What I did know was that I wanted to look cool. What I didn’t know was that looking like I had money didn’t mean that I actually had any. Fortunately, I paid off the giant loan and didn’t let it ruin my credit. What stings is, when I finally sold the car, I sold it for 10% of its purchase price – $2500. Ouch.
While buying this car qualifies as a huge financial regret, I did learn from the experience. I learned that buying a new car is stupid. I learned that I hate car payments. I learned that car dealerships are more than happy to give a loan to someone who is unemployed.
Everyone has financial regrets. The question is, did you learn from them? Can you see where you went wrong? Are you going to make different choices in the future? I know that I am. I will never buy an $1,100 vacuum again unless it also does laundry and watches my kids. I will NEVER EVER buy a new car again. Actually, I will never have a car payment of ANY kind again. Also, if I ever want to get buff again, I will just buy some used exercise equipment off of Craigslist.org. Really, there is no reason to make a 1 or 2-year commitment to a gym unless you are 100% sure that you will use it – especially if you have kids.
I’m certain that I have learned from my mistakes and plan on never making the same mistakes again. Have you?