7 money-related things that I regret doing

I warn you, it’s not going to be pretty, but here are the top 7 money related things I regret doing….so far…

1. Buying a new car instead of a reliable used one. Twice. You would think I would have learned my lesson the first time around when I was a young little thing and said car got taken by the repo man. Oh no, I didn’t let that lesson sink in. Six years later I decided I needed a new car instead of a cheap used one. And now I have a car payment that I wish I didn’t have and insurance that would be lower if I had gotten a used cheapie car. Now that I am older and wiser I am really wishing I had bought a $500 car.  Okay, well, maybe not $500 but $5000 would be a decent amount to spend. I really hate paying that monthly car payment and you better believe I will never have another one after this baby is paid off. Only cash cars for me after that.

2. Ages 16-18, spending every dime I made.  Ah, life was good. I was working and making great money as a waitress. And on my days off I drove 45 minutes to the closet mall and spent every cent. Repeat the next week, and the next, and the next…. Oh, what a horrible cycle. I could have had so much money saved before I started college. A time travel machine would be really nice to have so that I could go back and fix this.

3. Age 18, credit card #1. “Oh wow, lookie here, a nice shiny letter telling me that I have been selected to receive this shiny new Visa card! OMG, I must be so sophisticated and grown to have gotten selected for this.” Blasted credit card companies. Off to college I went with a credit card limit of $1,500 and a payment of only $15 a month, which I thought was just too cool at the time.  This was the beginning of a very bad addition I would grow into. At one point I had 23 different credit cards. All of them were maxed out. And I was making $8.50 an hour working at the mall.

4. Moving out of state. Multiple times.  I used to proudly proclaim how many different states I have lived in since turning 18 ( five if you are wondering). Then I realized how much I spent making all of those moves. And then there is the effect it had on jobs. I was never at one place long enough to get a promotion so I have been making the same salary for about 4 years now due to moving every year to a new state. Yes, it’s true that I only learned this lesson about 6 months ago. Right after I made a move to state that, unknown to me when I moved,  ranks 46 in the nation for highest unemployment. See, every time that I have moved it has been without a job in place beforehand and I have never had a hard time getting a job upon moving. Well, I got to this state and it took a few months to get a job. A job that I got fired from two weeks ago for asking for a raise. Go figure. The moral of the story? Only move out of state if you have a job. And if you still want to move without a job do a little research to see where your state ranks in unemployment levels.

5. Staying in school when I didn’t know what I wanted to do.  I started college right out of high school because that is what you are supposed to do. Unfortunately for me I was not real clear on what I wanted to do in life, so I spent my undergrad years at 5 different schools. Each time I would transfer there would be some classes that would not transfer. That means money down the drain. That makes me an idiot.  I know better now and if I have kids I will make sure that they have a plan before they go to college.

6. Getting talked into “signature student loans” instead of Stafford loans at one of those schools.  Yes, sadly I was one of those poor schmucks that ended up with a 10% interest rate student loan that you can’t consolidate and you can’t defer. If I had it all to do over I wouldn’t have even gone to school if I had to get loans to do it. And I certainly would have run from the lady in the UCF financial aid office that talked me into those signature loans. Some days I don’t think I’ll ever pay off my student loans let alone early like some people do!

7. Becoming a junk collector.  At one point a year or two ago I went through the stacks of CDs and DVDs and books that I had and discovered many I had never viewed. Brand new items still in the plastic. What I am telling you here is that I had acquired so much junk that I didn’t even have time to use or enjoy it! The sad thing is that I am probably still paying for some of those things on my credit cards. I ended up getting rid of all but a select few of those items on Amazon Marketplace. I was stoked because I made a few thousand off of all of that. Then I realized that I spent at least 3 times that much on all of that junk. That made me sick to my stomach. Whenever I think about buying something I don’t need I remember that feeling and quickly put it back on the shelf.

There you have it – my horrible money regrets. Now tell me yours – make me feel better, make me think that maybe mine aren’t so bad because I didn’t do what you did. Just don’t tell me that you were super smart about money. That will make me jealous.


Take control of your destiny by changing your thoughts

I am a big believer in the thought that you control your own destiny. While I do believe that each of us is destined for certain things, I see it as more of a loose pattern. Yes, we are supposed to go from A to B, but it is how we get there that we have control of. And not just how we get there, but how quickly or how slowly. Unfortunately, there are a lot of times when we are delaying our progress just by the way we are thinking. In essence, we are holding ourselves back from greatness and from our destiny. I think that there are a lot of times that we do not even realize that we are doing this detrimental thing to ourselves. I know that I am guilty of it, even though I try to be conscience of it on a regular basis.

Here are some of the things that I have identified in my life that you might recognize in your own as holding you back.

1. Being scared of change. It is easy to get comfortable in doing something the same old way, day in and day out. But with comfort you sometimes get fear. Fear of change specifically. Sometimes we need to recognize that just because something has always worked for us in the past, there could be another more efficient way to do things.

2. Underestimating you. How often do you want to do something but do not because you think you cannot? Instead of thinking you can’t do something, you should think “I can try.” Most times, you will find out that you can indeed do whatever it was that you though was out of your reach. I recently took some graduate level finance classes that I had put off taking for sometime, even though I really wanted to take them. Why did I do that? Because I didn’t think I was smart enough to grasp and handle the work. I finally realized I should just try it. Guess what? The class was difficult for me and it kicked my butt on a daily basis. But you know what? I learned a lot more from it than I thought I would AND I got an A in the class. I could do it all along, I just underestimated me.

3. Failing at something is not a bad thing, contrary to what we tell ourselves. It is easy to fail at something and then label ourselves as worthless. It is also easy to leave whatever that thing was to the wayside and not ever try it again. What we do not realize is that with failure comes knowledge. Lessons can be learned from failures that leave you stronger and more knowledgeable that you were to begin with.

4. I am no more unique than anyone else. This is a silly way of thinking because we know that each of us has something to offer that is unique and special. Sometimes, we can only see the unique and special in others and fail to realize that we have something just as great to offer the world.

5. No one cares if you succeed or fail. Remember that you are a someone and that YOU care if you succeed or fail. You do not have to have a family or a significant other to cheer you to the finish line. You can cheer yourself to the finish line. And really, it is most important to have you on your side.

6. If only you could have done that when you were 20. Age discrimination is not legal for employers, so why are you practicing it against yourself? Age truly is only a state of mind for the most part. Sure, being of a certain age group may present some advantages, but you can do anything you want no matter what age you are. Using age as an excuse is just another way of holding yourself back and preventing you from fulfilling your destiny.