Biggest Financial Mistake

Hope everyone’s having a good week! It’s gone by pretty quick. I still don’t have my voice back so I guess I need to go to the doctor soon because I haven’t had my voice since around last Wednesday.

I’m sure you all have noticed the tagging game that’s going on. I’ve been tagged by a lot of people (yes I’m bragging) but I just wanted to answer 2 questions right now from Live Simply-Live Well, because I feel like they directly relate to my blog and well, it’s just what I feel like typing about right now.

The biggest financial mistake that I made:

There are definitely some things that I would’ve done differently. My 3 mistakes below all kind of tie in together and mainly relate to how much money I would’ve saved if my money situation was different.

  1. If I could have, I would have lived at home after high school and during college.  I would’ve saved so much money, but instead I moved out less than one month after my high school graduation and rented a house. Our bills weren’t too high, but of course I could’ve saved money and applied house bills towards debt instead if I would’ve lived at home.
  2. Waited to buy my house. We bought our house at the age of 20. YOUNG? Yes. We could’ve saved for a bigger down payment, but we got a really good deal on our house. We bought at the end of 2009, and yes while the housing market is still continually going down, we were able to take advantage of the $8,000 tax credit (which we got to keep unlike those who bought houses after this expired). Our house still appraises for more than we bought it for, which is great as well.
    • However, if we would’ve bought our house now, we could have a bigger down payment, lower mortgage interest rate, and houses are SO CHEAP right now that we could’ve gotten a decent house for probably $20,000 to $30,000 less than what we bought our house for.
  3. Not have so much student loan debt. This goes hand in hand with the two mistakes above. If I would’ve lived at home (which wasn’t really an option though) then I could’ve saved thousands of dollars and put it all towards debt. I would’ve graduated without ANY debt.

I’m sure there are a ton of other mistakes that I have committed, but I can’t think off the top of my head of any others that really stick out besides the one’s above.

However, I very much love my life. I definitely don’t dwell on these “mistakes” that I made. I still feel like I’ve definitely come very far in my life, especially for my age. I try not to live in regret and just make the best of everything that I have in my life. I love my life, my house, my friends, and my pups.

If someone gave you $1,000 and you had to spend it on something OTHER than paying down debt or investing it, what would you do?

I would probably go on a clothing spending spree. I would of course stop at JCrew first and I’ve really been wanting a nice watch. Then of course I need swimsuits, new work clothes and everything else. I really want new clothes obviously.

I know that I’m not the best when it comes to saving and paying down debt (instead of shopping), but I do think I’m getting better. I would really love to have a spending spree though. Who wouldn’t?

What’s the biggest financial mistake that you’ve made? Loans, credit cards, cars? Tell us now!



  1. says

    Credit cards for sure. I used them too much in college, mostly for car repairs and school books but I should have made more of an effort to save money rather than just throw down the plastic.

  2. says

    I honestly don't have any financial mistakes that I can recognize (yet). I suppose I might look back at my student loans and think that my education wasn't worth that much money, but I doubt that will happen. Only time will tell.

  3. says

    I wish I wouldn't have paid for everything when I was with my ex–I feel as if that was a huge mistake no matter how I look at it. Besides that it was not paying down my student loans when I was in school.

  4. says

    I'm just horrible with money in general! I'm an impulse buyer like whoa, but I'm getting better. Luckily I have a boyfriend who is big into saving. You're blog is giving me great ideas on how to better my life financially…great blog! Stop by and say hi @ :)

  5. says

    These are really great. It's crazy how even though we're really financially responsible compared to our peers, we look back now and wish we'd known what we know now, younger!I've paid off all my debt except my house, which I got a great deal on, I don't have to pay ANY interest on – EVER, and I got the 8k back…My big money regret is that now, at 26, I realize that I had all these opportunities to save when I did live at home, in high school, and even during college when I still had way less expenses than now. But I piddles all that babysitting and part time job money away on clothes and food. Blah.My dad always says I'm trying to be where he is, at 26, when it took him twice that long to get there. : ]Loved this post.B

  6. says

    I think I'd have started prepaying my loans from grad school sooner. I'm going to start doing that this year (still have 7 years left, I want to try to cut that in half!), but I'm kicking myself for not doing it right away!

  7. says

    I love your honesty in this post. I don't feel like I've made any big financial mistakes because I did what you wish you had done (lived at home after college) and had no debt until I bought my car, and that was a well-calculated plan to purchase. If I won $1k and couldn't use it to pay down debt, I would probably spend it on a vacation for M and I. Or go on a major shopping spree…

  8. Alice at Dont Debt says

    My biggest mistake was taking out student loans when my school was paid for. We used that money as a sort of lifestyle inflation. Oh if I could only go back in time.

  9. says

    Biggest money mistake…. pissing of an idiot on an Internet discussion list and having him so mad that he sued me repeatedly. He lost each time but any lawsuit costs money. He was sanctioned to pay me but it didn't come close to what it cost me. If I had an extra 1K today I'd by kitchen cabinets!

  10. Hunter says

    It's not easy narrowing down the list of mistakes, there are so many. Probably the dumbest thing I have done is withdrawn money from my retirement accounts…several times. In retrospect I should have exercised more discipline and left all that money alone.

  11. says

    I think my biggest financial mistake was not saving more money after I graduated from college. I was living on my own and well below my means, yet I spent my money on Crate and Barrel furniture instead of saving it for the future. Fortunately, I still use this furniture today, but sometimes I wish I had banked the money instead.As for the $1k, I'd probably put it toward more travel. John and I are really enjoying our adventures, and since I'm not really into fashion or shopping, I think I'd put it toward traveling somewhere new – maybe NYC or the Bahamas!We also bought our house and closed just in the nick of time to get the $8k tax credit. We still have it in our savings, but are considering just dumping it on his remaining student loan to pay it off. Decisions, decisions…

  12. says

    I think my biggest money mistake was not saving enough before getting married, but we made it work! For us, buying a house was perfect because we just got it last year for super cheap and no interest since my mom financed for us. And the $1,000? Towards our next vacation! :)

  13. Bre says

    My biggest money mistake was opening my second and third credit card. I did not need them at all, I only wanted to buy a bunch of crap that I don't even know why I needed it! If I got $1K today I would for sure go on a shopping spree, or buy a LV!

  14. says

    I think my biggest mistake was buying a really expensive car this young, we are doing fine with the payments and everything, but I can't help but think about how much we would be saving if I had bought an older car. Good news is I'll be able to drive this for a looooong time so it'll work out later and it's the perfect size to cart the dogs and the future kids around in. No trading for me! :) Much love

  15. says

    I'm sooo bad with money. I keep trying to be better, but it's so tough. So my "mistake" is that I suck with money like all the time. And no, I'm not being hard on myself. Totally honest! Being more specific, my biggest mistake would be taking out more student loans than I needed. I thought, hey, if they're gonna give me $2,000 more a semester than tuition is, I can "save" that money and be awesome and ahead! Well, did I save it?? NO! Of course not!

  16. says

    My worst mistake was not taking control of my personal information (ie, stopping my mother from opening and managing bank accounts and credit cards for me)! What I'd do with $1k? Definitely vacation spending money! And/or down payment for a nice car.

  17. says

    Love those platforms in the last shot! Super chic and sophisticated! I'd say my biggest money mistake had to be fronting clients for interior design services…always get paid first! Small price to pay to learn a huge lesson once they split!xo-JuliePeace. Love. LOL!Haute

  18. says

    I would definitely go on a shopping spree too! It would be SO nice to have a set of nice, expensive clothes to wear. I am trying to think of my biggest financial mistake but luckily, I'm not in debt at all right now. I will say that I never anticipated my dog to cost as much as she does! Almost every trip to the vet is like $200…and when I bought her I thought…Okay she is only $250, then I'll buy dog food and shots and that's it!Wrong! It's $50 extra a month to have her in our apt and it was a $750 deposit! Wild.

  19. says

    My biggest financial mistake was my house. It's a long story but we no longer have the home. :( But I learned the hard lessons that went with it, so that's what I have to look at.

  20. says

    Biggest financial mistake – getting a credit card my first year of college and thinking it was free money. I bought a lot of frivolous stuff and paid off probably over $15,000 in clothes, shoes, etc. I could have saved it and put it towards my savings but oh well. I lived and I learned, and I sold a bunch of it and made a lot of money back! If I had $1,000 I would buy workout clothes, new running shoes, and more clothes at JCrew, H&M, Banana Republic, etc. :)

  21. says

    I think, our biggest financial mistake is a little different from others. I think, our mistake was NOT to invest in us, in my relationships with my husband. We were all about saving money and not having any student debt but I wish we would actually spend more on vacations and dates! My Hubby finished school last year(going to school full time and working full time), and I was working part time and taking care of kids- and we just started feeling like we are falling apart. I think it's really important to have a balance, and that's what we are working on right now. We still save but we budget for fun too, and our relationships are tons better. If we got $1000, we would definitely put it towards a vacation.

  22. says

    My biggest mistake financially was leasing a car, then buying it, so I've had car payments for 7 years now and another 3 years to go. :( Trying to resolve this one soon though.

  23. says

    My biggest financial mistakes: treating credit cards like free money, not saving anything and spending a lot on stupid things. But fortunately all of that is past!!

  24. says

    If someone gave me that much money just for the heck of it..I would travel! I love traveling! Actually right now I'm looking into going to Australia so that money would come in quite handy right about now 😉

  25. says

    Not going to work years earlier. I work so hard now and I see the difference it makes. But I also see that I have two really well educated kids (good kids) and the third is in college and so far doing well. If I had worked this hard when they were young, would I have the same results? I do not know but I still wish I had gone to work earlier. If I had a $1000.00 to spend on clothes I would be at Talbots or Ann Taylor in a New York minute. What is a New York minute?

  26. says

    I guess my one true mistake is buying my first car unprepared and on a loan. I got a pretty sweet deal, no interest and some other stuff but the true cost of owning a car goes way beyond that and I wasn't truly prepared for it.It has been a huge benefit in many ways though so I won't hate on the choice.

  27. joyofdebt says

    I would probably throw it in savings and just revel in it and then BlOW it like normal. I always seem to have something I want!!

  28. says

    I totally have to agree with your entire post. I moved out at 16, bought a house at 20, took on a boatload of credit card and student debt…and when I think of how I could have changed these things and how much money I could have saved it makes my head spin! Also, with $1000 I would go on a clothes shopping spree–I haven't done that in ages!

  29. says

    I definitely bought a house and I shouldn't have. :( We finally sold it last year, lost some money, but I didn't know at the time. Luckily I married a man very good with numbers and money. I love love love lace shirts; I need one. :)

  30. says

    Credit cards. Accepting too much financial aid (more than what I needed for classes) and spending it on vacations, clothes, to pay down my car loan, etc. Ohhhhhh the (financial) mistakes go on and on.You also need to buy a nice new DSLR camera. 😉 I know you've been looking!

  31. says

    I did a lot of irresponsibly spending in college. $150 for a computer case!A grand that I have to spend? Well, it wouldn't be clothes. My entire wardrobe only cost about a third of that. Instead, I'd buy a new computer (this one is 7 years old!) and get a tablet with the rest.

  32. says

    I think one of the biggest financial mistakes I've made was either not saving more for a larger downpayment on our home or it was not contributing to my 401k for the first two years and missing out on the employer match in the process. I'm pretty sure that if someone gave me a thousand bucks to spend I would probably buy some new motocross boots, a new helmet and a new front tire for the bike. Probably would buy something for the wife also.

  33. says

    My biggest mistake has been not thinking about money seriously until 8 months ago. By that time a LOT of debt had been accumulated! But I'm with you, I don't live in regret. I try to move happily forward :)

  34. says

    Bought a house, sold it exactly two years later for $95k profit, at 24 years old. And then wrote a check for a truck for $45k INSTEAD of to Sallie Mae to payoff student loans. STOOOOPID. Biggest mistake ever.

  35. says

    I love this post… mine is spending money on Stuff, racking up $12k in credit card debt by 25 on things I don't even remember.If I had $1k, I'd buy a plane ticket somewhere I've never been. :)

  36. Anonymous says

    Haha.. when I saw the link to "Biggest Financial Mistake" I KNEW it had to be about your home purchase.I'm in the same boat.. I bought my house when I was 22 and less than 2 months out of college (and had $21k in student loan debt). However, for me, I don't have the situation you have with your house still being worth more than you owe. Mine went underwater pretty quickly (b/c of the tiny downpayment) but I got serious and changed the way I managed and spend money.. I started to REALLY catch up with my house's market value. I managed to get it to 20% LTV of the original price just in the last 2 years (in addition to needing to do other saving)… unfortunately its a condo, and our neighbors weren't as fortunate as we were. We now have FOUR units in our complex that are up for shortsale.. and the prices are ALMOST HALF of what I paid (at the end of 2009 just like you).Trying to stay motivated and hopeful. But the value has just plummeted out of my reach. I need to come up with another $30k to get even with the other units' prices.. and ANOTHER $30k in order to get to 20% LTV so I can refinance to a more affordable loan and make our other dreams possible (moving to a real house instead of a condo and taking lots of amazing vacations :) )The thing that I'm learning is that young people like us always like to move quickly, make things happen and feel productive about our financial goals. But times – like you said, you just have to love your life for what it is and be happy with the awesome progress you've already made… I'm learning that life is about continuous patience, progress (I still am 90% focused on lowering our balance despite the added challenge) and reward (my honey and I are taking a 2 week trip to Europe this summer and I CAN'T WAIT).


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