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Financial Mistakes I’ve Made Over The Years

The following is a guest post from Martin of Studenomics, where he helps out with launching something now so that you don’t waste any time in your 20s.

I’ve seen all kinds of shows on TV about strange addictions and odd issues. I myself have gone through phases where I spent my money pretty foolishly. Despite being a personal finance blogger for five years, I can confirm that I haven’t always made the best decisions with my money.

I wanted to thank Crystal for allowing me to guest post again. I’m usually pretty serious or trying to be. Today I wanted to have some fun and write about my financial addictions/mistakes over the years.

Where do I regret spending money over the years? What have been some of my problem areas when it comes to blowing my money?

Cologne

Am I the only one here that has had a strange cologne addiction? I’ve gone through phases where I just had to have every popular scent. I just couldn’t resist. I would research different types of cologne and I learned all about how cologne works. I always had to have the newest cologne. I even went as far as to not wear the same scent two days in a row.

How did I improve this? I just stopped buying cologne and decided to stick with what I have. If I run out, I look for a sale before I buy another bottle. I still love to smell good though.

Useless Nights Out

I’ve had way too many pointless nights out where I should have stayed home. I would go out just for the sake of not staying home.

I’m all for fun and enjoy myself with friends. There’s just no sense in getting wasted for no reason just because it’s Saturday. You don’t have to turn any little thing into an excuse for going out.

How did I improve here? I cut back on drinking, go out less often, and I pick-and-choose my nights. This is a huge savings in your 20s. If you can go out without drinking or cut back on your nights out, your wallet will thank you.

Books

I went through a phase in between my college partying and working like mad, where I became a voracious reader. The only problem was that instead of hitting up the library or exchanging books with friends, I just bought random books from Chapters. I mean totally random. I would just look for books that seemed interesting or I would ask the staff for recommendations. The staff always had some new book to recommend to me.

I have a whole stack of unfinished books in my room. Did I really think that I was going to read, “The Black Swan?” In the ultimate irony, I still haven’t read, “Getting Things Done.” I also haven’t opened that book on social media marketing. I usually find a book that I really enjoy (“Linchpin” by Seth Godin), read it slowly, take notes, and then read it again. Some books I never plan on even opening.

How did I change here? I luckily now get many books for free since publishers will contact me or I can contact them about book reviews. I also don’t let myself buy a new book until I’ve finished the current one.

Workout Supplements

Of course I want to get lean in 21 days! Sign me up for five cases of that product.

I’m a very impatient man. I don’t like to wait. So when I started working out, I had to have every workout supplement on the market. I didn’t know what I was buying nor did I care. I fell for the marketing. I knew that the claims were too good to be true, but I didn’t want to believe it.

What changed for me? I realized that you could never supplement training hard and eating well. Just like with personal finance, the fundamentals are key in the fitness industry. I also bought some books on the topic (see above) that opened my eyes on the issues with the supplement industry. Sadly, I never got lean in 21 days, but my wallet sure did lose a few pounds.

That’s how I spent money foolishly over the years. When I started writing about personal finance I was quick to brag about my accomplishments. I’ve come to believe that if you want to take pride in your achievements, you also need to hold yourself accountable for your mistakes.

Now it’s your turn to join in on the fun and share some of the ways you regret spending your hard-earned money. This is a judgment-free zone.

“Money is only a tool. It will take you wherever you wish, but it will not replace you as the driver.” — Ayn Rand

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10 comments to Financial Mistakes I’ve Made Over The Years

  • In my case I think the small spending (latte, ice cream, pizza) really drained my budget for quite a while. I do try to be more strict now and stop squandering my money.

  • It definitely happens Dojo. It’s easy for these expenses to creep up on us especially when we’re not paying attention.

  • I usually have 2-3 bottles of cologne going at one time, but I only get maybe one per year. I only use 2 squirts or so as I don’t want to be *that guy* that wears way too much.

  • @MB I hear you on that. Sadly, I’ve crossed into “that guy” territory a few times with the gel and cologne lol.

  • I wasted way too much money in my 20’s, but thankfully, not on cologne. The $1500 vacuum, though, was probably way worse than cologne.

  • Martin, I love this quote: When I started writing about personal finance I was quick to brag about my accomplishments. I’ve come to believe that if you want to take pride in your achievements, you also need to hold yourself accountable for your mistakes.

    That’s very humble and honest! Keep it real buddy :)

  • retired

    When I was a single mother with college loans, I did get stuck on a very moderately priced perfume. I would feel so guilty about the $6 purchase, as that was more than I made in an hour some days. Now my family buys me this $80 stuff I adore, but never ask for, as I feel a tad guilty about liking something so expensive. So I tried my hand at making colognes from my garden. It sort of works, but its just not the same, sigh.
    I have always gone to the library. Even with two Kindles, I still go. I go online, put a hold on the books I want and pick them up as they come in. I can read 3-4 books (actually read a book a day when I broke my ankle) a week, so I do have to limit myself, as they are time consuming. So books are a big time gobbler for me.
    At this time, blowing off time seems more wasteful and detrimental than wasting money. The trouble with any type of waste is the guilt and loss it brings. Today I wrote up a lot of goals. I made progress and feel much better. Money and material things can be regained with some effort, time seems so fleeting. Here’s to not sticking my head in a book, getting snagged into binge Hulu, Amazon Prime, or any other video watching, and not gaming all night. Here’s to living!

  • I also had a moment of shock when I reviewed my expenses when I was bachelor in Paris…
    1000$ of food per month (eating out every lunch, buying only organic products & lot of meat/fish), 500/700$ in bar (working in a district crowded with bar)
    It’s really a pity when I understand that I had wasted thousands & thousands uselessly.
    Now that I have a family, eating out is every few weeks, drinking in bar is a handful times in a year… But a bit more is spent on diapers & daycare :D

    If only I could go back in time & slap my young self “Stop wasting your money you stupid !!!!”

  • Certainly over the years I’ve probably bought stuff I shouldn’t have. Phases of buying or doing things didn’t really happen although I do know people that bought enormous amounts of DVD’s. They watch the film a couple of times and then it sits in a gigantic display rack collecting dust. I love watching movies, but I just can’t justify spending dollars on something that will just sit there. You can rent movies from the local library.

  • @Kim Hey, at least your place was clean!
    @Sally Transparency is key. We all make mistakes. Why hide them?
    @retired Cheers to living! I think I live too much sometimes lol.
    @Julien haha yes! That’s what made you the person you are today. If you never went out, you might have never met your future partner.
    @CBB Yikes. I went through the DVD phases as well in 2005. Luckily, I bought discounted movies. I still remember being so happy to grab “Ferriss Beuler’s Day Off” for $5.