We have made many mistakes with money and since we recently wrote about our best purchases, we decided it was time to dish about our dumb money mistakes.Plus, this is almost an obligatory post in the personal finance bloggersphere. Here is the real deal, slightly embarrassing, monstrous money mistakes we have made…so far.
#1 Groceries from the Fancy AF Market
When we first moved in together, we has a great little apartment within walking distance to a natural grocery store. You know the kind with the wholistic products and unholy prices. We fell for it, hook line and sinker- because it was “for our health”. Because the essential oils in the store smelled good and we felt equally fancy AF shopping there. Our grocery bill was astronomically high, even higher than it is now because those little jumps in price really do add up.
Our health is a priority. This is still prevalent and one of the reasons we recently went vegan. However, we do not need to buy all of our produce and groceries from a high end market, when we could get some of the same items at our Safeway around the corner for half the price. Our grocery bill is something we are still working on- but we can agree that only shopping at the health food store was a dumb money mistake. (I will still give us Kudos for walking to get groceries every week though;))
#2 Drinks Every Time we Went Out
We love a good Manhatten. Who can argue with a well made drink? We certainly would not and every time we went to meet friends, on a date, try a new restaurant, or a happy hour we always ordered the drink. We “deserve it” we would say. It was the perfect treat for the end of a long day…the reasons that serve nothing other than of our own indulgence continue. The fact is, we were ordering drinks every single time we went out and it was doubling our bill.
In a recent review of our spending habits using Personal Capitol we realized that our dining out had increased. It was summer after all, and the temptation to sit on a patio in the sun with a beverage was becoming more of a habit than a treat. Yet, we still value our friendships and time out. The lightbulb hit when we grabbed lunch and the total was $22.07 for both of us. I looked at HisFI and said, “Wow! That is “so cheap” for this huge meal.” [Ok, obviously not as cheap as cooking at home- but when we go out it was typically a minimum $50 bill for us both] Well, that is what happens when you skip the cocktail- your bill is cut in half. So this is a recent dumb money mistake and one we have made a goal to change.
#3 Cable with our Internet
Ugh. Again, when we moved in together we bought the full internet package with Cable. It was almost the same price- we were in the store and the salesman was convincing. It also made us feel like we were truly earning the big bucks. We had two incomes and had our own TV. Dang. This means we have made it. These were the days when evenings were spent on the couch watching HGTV rather than working on ourselves or even considering our money habits.
While I am most certainly still a fan of HGTV, we cut the cable when we moved into our first rental house. We would never go back. While the Internet is still almost the same price as when we had cable- almost still counts as money in our pockets. It was dumb money mistake to add on cable, but also a dumb life choice to waste so much of our time watching it.
#4 Couch that Loves Hair
Mid century modern. My favorite look. We stumbled upon a gorgeous gray mid century modern love seat that would work perfectly in our rental home. It was too beautiful to pass up. Did we need another couch? No. However that was not either of our mindsets at the time. So we hastily bought this little love seat the same day and eagerly placed it in our living room.
Within 10 seconds the dogs had jumped up and made themselves at home. How nice. Even our fur babies love our taste. Except when they jumped down the couch was covered in white dog hair. The fabric of the couch was of a consistency that loved to catch and hold onto dog hair. Our other couch was faux leather and the hair rarely stuck to it. It was not even something that crossed my mind until we started vacuuming our nice mid century modern couch every single day. In addition to the hair sticking, our cat found the material to be just perfect for scratching. Meaning, we then had to cover the couch with a fleece blanket in an attempt to ward off our cat.
Sigh. This was a sad case of fashion over function. Not considering the fabric and durability of this couch for our lives was a dumb money mistake. We sold the couch when we bought our home and only made 1/3 of what we paid for it.
#4 Roomba instead of Deebot
We listed the Deebot as one of the best purchases we have ever made. You can understand why with all of our long haired fur babies walking around. Yet, we started with the name brand robot vacuum: Roomba. It was at Costco and was what everyone knew about. Our Roomba gave us a solid two years of hard work, but often got caught on the edges of rugs or in door frames. Roomba found it hard to find home an we were looking after it much like one of our pets. It soon gave out and had to be thrown away.
That is a $400??? Purchase that we threw in the trash. HisFI found a solution to our problem, as much as we complain about the Roomba it was great at cleaning up the hair and saving us time spent vacuuming everyday. The Deebot is on Amazon and is less that half the price of the Roomba. The best part is that it does a better job. It rolls over things without getting stuck, collects more hair than ever before and makes it home to charge. This was a case of Name Brand Blindness, where we went for what we knew about instead of researching the other options to save some money.
#5 Too many Animal Toys
As you know, our animals are our babies and we often buy them toys and treats. When we first had our cat we went out and bought every cat toy imaginable, only to have him want to play with a piece of string or better yet, that piece of trash that he can bat around the floor. This habit of buying toys the animals will not play with continued until our recent addition: Henry. We took Henry to the store and let him pick out 1 toy- his dinosaur. He LOVES that toy to death. We have a few others he loves a little less, but we did not spend as much purchasing items for him to play with.
Our cat still loves trash more than toys and if that means we have a cardboard box on the floor for a few days of enjoyment, we are ok with that.
Home decor is one of our dumb money mistakes that I fully regret. Most of the others we learned from and I can appreciate that. Yet this one was just an idea planted in my head (probably by all the HGTV I was watching) that I “needed” to have decoration in our home. I “needed” that little glass bird figurine because it was “so me”. I also needed to have a lamp on every table. Let’s not forget about the decorations needed for each holiday. Halloween, Valentine’s Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas etc.
I overspent on home decor the second we had a rental home. It was a house and that was exciting to me. A house I wanted to fill with decor for no particular reason other than that was what one did. Throw pillows, candles, wall decor etc. Discovering minimalism was one of the best things that happened to me. I sold most of the home decor that really brought me no joy and only saved a few things that I thought made the space comfortable. The amount of clutter that was gone was incredible. What was even more incredible was the money I saved from not buying a spooky ghost to hang on the porch for Halloween or another throw pillow for the bed.
#7 Window Unit Air Conditioner
This might sound strange, because to most people an air conditioner is one of the best purchases you can make. This part is true, an air conditioner saves us and our pups on the 90 degree days. However, the window unit was a bad purchase simply because it must be installed in a window of a certain size. It also has to be installed every summer and taken down at the end of every summer.
We bought a nice window unity air-conditioner for our loft bedroom when we rented a home. It was used for one summer and then we took it down, moved our bedroom location and only used our portable air conditioner unit (a large white box thing) for the rest of the home. This air-conditioner was easy and could be hooked up to any window in only a few seconds. The portable air conditioner stores easily in the winter and still saves us in the summer. The window unit air conditioner was left at the rental as it would not re-sell and we lost money.
#8 Landscaping the Rental House
Oh man. We were so excited to get our first yard. No more planter boxes and little apartment patios, but a real yard with grass. The only problem was that it still wasn’t ours. Our landlord said we could do whatever we wanted, so we did. We invested some serious money into that yard by removing the moss and treating the grass. Planting new grass, ordering an entire truckload of bark, planting a garden and flowers – not to mention the watering and care.
It was a great yard by the time we were done with it and served us well in our time there. We soon bought our own home and moved out, leaving our landlord with a place that looked 5 times better because of our hard earned cash that went into it. Not a good idea and one of our dumb money mistakes.
#9 Breaking a Lease
Our first mistake was moving into an apartment that did not allow animals when we knew we were going to have them in the future. Our second mistake was not having patience. We broke our lease from an apartment in order to move into the rental house (the one we landscaped). While I cannot use the word regret to describe this, because it got us out of the apartment game and into a home where we could have animals, it was a huge amount of money lost. We had to pay the lease agreement fee for breaking the lease. We also had to pay for the last month of rent when we were not going to be living there.
This was a large sum of money to loose and our new rental required the traditional deposit and first/last month rent. This was a month when we were broke and in debt because we moved so quickly out of a contract.
#10 Buying Crappy Clothes and Crappy Shoes
When HisFI and I first met we were in college and had the typical spending habits of college individuals tuition, books, food, drinks, fun times and crappy clothes. This is a two fold issue- we were broke and therefore felt like we could only afford the fast fashion clothes. However, we also would purchase clothes regularly. Anywhere from once a week to to every other week. The idea of saving to “invest” in clothes that would not fall apart after a few wears was not in the forefront of our minds. Our mindsets were in a totally different space- which was expected at the time.
Yet, this habit of clothes buying continued into our careers for some time. We spent hundreds of dollars on clothes and shoes that literally fell apart. It was a mistake due to both mindset and the lack of forethought into investing in a good pair of shoes.
We are certain there will be many more, and we are believers in forgiving yourself to move on and grow. We have to admit we did have a good laugh when talking about this list. Reflection of all kinds is good, and we also did not see the need to pass much blame. Our money and mindsets were in a different space every time. Financial literacy is not second nature- it is a learned skill- one we are still learning.
Now I ask you- what are some of your dumb money mistakes.