My Biggest Money Mistake, Ever.

My biggest money mistake wasn’t spending the $75,000 on my education as some may assume. It was accepting the debt that I had borrowed for my education.

I had borrowed such a large amount of money it was surreal. I don’t know at what point it had happened, but somewhere along the line the number became so unbelievable I stuck my head in the sand and just accepted it. There was no turning back, the money had been spent.

HA.HA.

It became a joke. I still laugh a little, because I have to or I’ll cry myself to sleep every night.  I think people we so astounded by the number they just laughed with me rather then giving me advice, which I really needed since I had NO idea what to do about it. It doesn’t help that I know my fate could have been different should my uncle not have been such an ass.

SCARED.

It wasn’t until last year, around the time that I started this blog and going on maternity leave, that I really faced my debt monster for the first time. I have to be honest, before last fall I didn’t even know the exact amount I owed.

I would look at my annual statements but never added them up or acknowledged them long enough to have any sort of emotional response. I was too scared.

I made my minimum monthly payments, knowing how large of a number that was and that was enough for me. 

PISSED.

What makes me the most angry is the fact that I mindlessly wasted SO much time and money in the past three years, I could have made a decent dent in my debt. This is sort of bittersweet though, I’m angry with myself but I’m now angry, period. Being angry about something like debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I want this debt gone so bad right now I’m willing to do just about anything.

DREAMING.

I know I didn’t acquire this debt overnight but my GOD wouldn’t it be nice to be gone when I wake in the morning? Or at least in a small time frame like one to two years? That would be bliss. Given our current jobs and responsibilities there is no way it can happen in this short time frame though, realistically it will be closer to five. In order to pay our debt off in two years I would need to be making over $3000.00/month in principle payments alone…Any tips for robbing a bank? (In case the internet Gods are reading this, Yes. I am kidding about the bank robbery).

How about you? What’s your biggest $$ mistake??

Enjoy Plunged in Debt?

Pid

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  1. Absolutely, positively, my biggest mistake (can’t only be one) was using credit cards. I am an obsessive personality (for better or worse) and credit was not something I should have had my hands on. The best I can do is teach my kids the way of the force and move on. Great post!
    Tony@WeOnlyDoThisOnce recently posted..Guest Post: I Just Quit My Day Job to Write Full-TimeMy Profile

  2. My biggest mistake was buying a first property without doing my homework, the neighborhood was terrible, the tenant died, his widow had to be evacuated by the police after 18 months of not paying rent (thankfully I was insured!) and it took years to sell…
    Pauline recently posted..Can you gamble responsibly?My Profile

  3. I would have to say my biggest money mistake was going into a business partnership with someone I didn’t know all that well. I thought I knew what I was getting into, but I didn’t. As it turns out I not only lost a lot of money, but it affected my professional reputation, and put me in debt for back taxes as well. It was a hard, difficult lesson.
    Kara recently posted..i am a runnerMy Profile

  4. My biggest money mistake was not so much something big, but continuous use of credit cards to buy junk. I would buy junk like CD’s and booze and go on trips that I had absolutely no money for but used the plastic to fund it all. It still makes me a little ticked to see the money I just threw out the window.
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..4 Reasons Why Having an Investment Plan Will Save Your ButtMy Profile

  5. Stock purchases on the recommendation of someone… lost enough money on one to cancel out some of my fantastic wins on other things. 🙁
    Anne @ Unique Gifter recently posted..Valentine’s Link LoveMy Profile

  6. When I first started dating hubby I realized between student loans, credit cards and a Jeep loan, he was 50K in debt! It almost scared me away! Luckily his witty personality won me over and I am glad. He paid it all off in about 3 years and is definitely the voice of reason in our relationship when It comes to spending to money! He really learned from it!

    • Haha, we’re all glad you stuck around! I sometimes wonder what hubby would have done if he met me with debt rather than being with me while I accumulated it….I can only imagine.

  7. For me it’s a big tie between student loans and falling for a scammy for-profit school. I was taking out loans, not questioning the expensive tuition or really knowing how much until it was too late. I did not understand the terms or even the difference between federal and private loans. I had no guidance except from the for-profit school who had me take out private loans before federal loans were touched…now I’m stuck with a worthless degree and $95,000 in student loans after all the interest that (unknowingly) accrued while I was in school was capitalized and added to my principal…paying interest on that interest now.
    debtperception recently posted..Happy ThursdayMy Profile

    • How do people sleep at night taking advantage of young people? Was your school not accredited?? I’m curious because here in Canada we’re not allowed to take loans out unless the school in question meets a certain criteria.

      • They were nationally accredited…Not that it mattered while I was in school, I didn’t know what that meant either, I was completely ignorant about all things EVERY student should know before going to college. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sallie Mae was giving my school some sort of incentive to get students signed up for private loans…they seriously had me believing it was federal and I didn’t realize it was private until after I graduated.
        debtperception recently posted..Happy ThursdayMy Profile

  8. Wow, that’s a lot of money. Keep at it.
    My biggest money mistake? Probably quitting my career at my peak earning years to be a stay at home dad/blogger.
    I’m earning a lot less money now, but I am a lot happier. Sometime you just have to let it go.
    Retire By 40 recently posted..Boy, am I glad I rolled over my 401k!My Profile

    • I don’t think that’s a mistake. Money is NOT everything. Being home with your children while pursuing something you love is no mistake. As long as you’re finances are in order why not? Now if I did that right now given our current situation, that would be careless and dumb putting my family at risk by not being able to cover the bills.

  9. My biggest mistake was going loose and free with my credit cards. Charging up $50k in credit card debt seemed so much easier than paying it off. It did teach me a lot about money and my habits, so I guess there was an underlying silver lining.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..Spending Money While on VacationMy Profile

  10. The only money mistake I have is not moving all my money to Canada when the pound was at $2.35 where it’s hoovering now at $1.58. It eats me up inside but you know, what’s done is done and I have to just move on and deal with it. Risk is what kept it there and thoughts of more $$ but that burned me and now I deal with it. Chin up… the debt will be gone before you know it, keep plunging away at it.
    Canadian Budget Binder recently posted..Dumpster Diving~The Top 5 Rules For Finding The Good Free Stuff!My Profile

  11. Hindsight is 20/20. It’s a tough pill to swallow by you made the best decision you could at the time. Life isn’t about making perfect decision. It’s probably not the worst money mistake, but I regret taking life coaching classes and financing it on plastic a year and half ago. But at the time it felt right, so there you go. 🙂
    Budget & the Beach recently posted..#Tag: Getting to Know the “Person” Behind the Personal Finance BlogMy Profile

  12. Well, the first 13 years of my marriage was one big money mistake…..but within that the biggest single mistakes? 1.) a trip to Hawaii financed completely on credit cards 2.) Going to Mexico…..and feeling bad that some friends of ours couldn’t go….so we paid for their vacation. With credit cards. Yeah, crazy stupid, right?
    Travis @debtchronicles recently posted..Debt and Deeper IssuesMy Profile

  13. Well, I blew $100,000 from age 18 to age 20. I guess that qualifies as a BIG money mistake 😉
    Jacob @ iheartbudgets recently posted..How to Balance Work and Education While Earning Your MBAMy Profile

  14. I was very similar to you in that for years, we made payment on credit card debt without having any idea how much we really owed. Sticking your head in the sand does not help. It does get overwhelming, but at least you aren’t in denial anymore. All you can do it keep moving forward.
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..My Lack of Attention Cost Me Money in Fees!My Profile

  15. We’re with Travis, just blowing money big time the first 15 years of our marriage, although we never did the financing vacations on CC’s and paying for friends to join us. :-). Well, I guess the good news is that we’ve all woken up to smell the coffee and are making changes. 🙂
    Laurie @ The Frugal Farmer recently posted..Motivation: Do it for the KidsMy Profile

  16. Like you, my student loan debt (45K) was so massive when I graduated that it was completely surreal. I then entered the real world thinking that my debt load was so big anyways, a few more thousand in credit card debt wouldn’t matter much. UGH BIG MISTAKE.

    I’m lucky that I am still young enough (kinda haha) to turn my financial situation around but I get so angry sometimes thinking about all the years I wasted in my early-mid 20s being foolish with money when I could have been paying down my debt.
    Girl Meets Debt recently posted..Gambling Within Budget?My Profile

  17. I think my biggest mistake was similar to yours in that I didn’t give the debt enough attention. I never had school loans since I had the GI Bill from my Army days. I do have car loans, mortgage, eating out too much, etc that at first I didn’t keep track of properly so getting caught up on that took time and there’s still room for improvement. My budgeting always needs work. ha! So like you it’s a similar lesson in acknowledging the debt/spending and resolving it responsibly.
    John @ Fearless Men recently posted..4 Tips To Increase The Intensity Of Your WorkoutsMy Profile

  18. Ugh I agree. I understand that my debt won’t simply vanish overnight once I’ve decided to get rid of it, but must it remain an unwelcome house guest for so long? My biggest money mistake…would be not applying for more scholarships in school. I didn’t work very hard to minimize my debt burden until after I was out of school, even though there was lots I could’ve done to save a few thousand dollars.
    Jordann @ My Alternate Life recently posted..Weekend Personal Life UpdateMy Profile

  19. My biggest financial mistake was not getting out of the market quick enough after the dot.com bubble burst. I learned an important but expensive lesson!
    Paul @ The Frugal Toad recently posted..Frugal Used Car Buying TipsMy Profile

  20. My biggest mistake-Student Loans! But, I am really happy with the education I received. I all ready wrote about it in my Student Loans are like Godzilla post. Ugh.
    Michelle@ShopMyClosetProject recently posted..Essence Magazine- I love you…but, you dropped the ball this monthMy Profile

  21. A layoff several years ago forced us to figure out what our basic expenses were, and how long we could last on one salary. Dumb that we really had no idea until forced to figure it out. We had never racked up debt, but we also discovered that our true essentials only took about 55% of our income. The layoff turned out to be no big deal, a new job was quickly found and he got a nice severance package. But the true benefit was realizing how much we’d been wasting on crap that wasn’t important to us. We never went back to our old careless spending and instead redirect almost all of that excess income to extra mortgage payments and retirement savings. Instead of hoping we’d ge able to retire at 65/68, we know we can retire at 57/60. My biggest regret is that we didn’t figure this out a decade or two earlier and we could have been retired now in our late 40s.
    Related to the above, if hadn’t been wasting our income on crap we could have been making extra mortgage payments in the early years of our mortgage when it would have make a huge difference to the total interest we paid. We’re making good headway now, but we totally missed the boat on making extra payments at the front end of our mortgage when we would have gotten more benefit.

  22. Racking up significant credit card debt in college was a huge mistake. It took years to pay off because I had student loans as well. Kind of a double whammy with no thought of the future.
    Chris @ StockMonkeys.com recently posted..How Much Does It Cost To Start Up A Small Business?My Profile

  23. Mine was purchasing a shiny new car when I was still in debt. I was young wanted a flashy car but it put my in a terrible financial situation. I do love cars but will get a nice one when I’m debt free!
    Chris@The Credit Cat recently posted..Don’t let money come between your relationships!My Profile

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My Biggest Money Mistake, Ever.

My biggest money mistake wasn’t spending the $75,000 on my education as some may assume. It was accepting the debt that I had borrowed for my education.

I had borrowed such a large amount of money it was surreal. I don’t know at what point it had happened, but somewhere along the line the number became so unbelievable I stuck my head in the sand and just accepted it. There was no turning back, the money had been spent.

HA.HA.

It became a joke. I still laugh a little, because I have to or I’ll cry myself to sleep every night.  I think people we so astounded by the number they just laughed with me rather then giving me advice, which I really needed since I had NO idea what to do about it. It doesn’t help that I know my fate could have been different should my uncle not have been such an ass.

SCARED.

It wasn’t until last year, around the time that I started this blog and going on maternity leave, that I really faced my debt monster for the first time. I have to be honest, before last fall I didn’t even know the exact amount I owed.

I would look at my annual statements but never added them up or acknowledged them long enough to have any sort of emotional response. I was too scared.

I made my minimum monthly payments, knowing how large of a number that was and that was enough for me. 

PISSED.

What makes me the most angry is the fact that I mindlessly wasted SO much time and money in the past three years, I could have made a decent dent in my debt. This is sort of bittersweet though, I’m angry with myself but I’m now angry, period. Being angry about something like debt isn’t necessarily a bad thing, I want this debt gone so bad right now I’m willing to do just about anything.

DREAMING.

I know I didn’t acquire this debt overnight but my GOD wouldn’t it be nice to be gone when I wake in the morning? Or at least in a small time frame like one to two years? That would be bliss. Given our current jobs and responsibilities there is no way it can happen in this short time frame though, realistically it will be closer to five. In order to pay our debt off in two years I would need to be making over $3000.00/month in principle payments alone…Any tips for robbing a bank? (In case the internet Gods are reading this, Yes. I am kidding about the bank robbery).

How about you? What’s your biggest $$ mistake??

Enjoy Plunged in Debt?

Pid

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  1. Absolutely, positively, my biggest mistake (can’t only be one) was using credit cards. I am an obsessive personality (for better or worse) and credit was not something I should have had my hands on. The best I can do is teach my kids the way of the force and move on. Great post!

  2. Pauline says:

    My biggest mistake was buying a first property without doing my homework, the neighborhood was terrible, the tenant died, his widow had to be evacuated by the police after 18 months of not paying rent (thankfully I was insured!) and it took years to sell…

    1. Catherine says:

      Wow! Did you end up losing money on it?

  3. Kara says:

    I would have to say my biggest money mistake was going into a business partnership with someone I didn’t know all that well. I thought I knew what I was getting into, but I didn’t. As it turns out I not only lost a lot of money, but it affected my professional reputation, and put me in debt for back taxes as well. It was a hard, difficult lesson.

    1. Catherine says:

      Oh that is a tough situation! Glad you were able to overcome it!

  4. My biggest money mistake was not so much something big, but continuous use of credit cards to buy junk. I would buy junk like CD’s and booze and go on trips that I had absolutely no money for but used the plastic to fund it all. It still makes me a little ticked to see the money I just threw out the window.

  5. Stock purchases on the recommendation of someone… lost enough money on one to cancel out some of my fantastic wins on other things. 🙁

  6. Kelly says:

    When I first started dating hubby I realized between student loans, credit cards and a Jeep loan, he was 50K in debt! It almost scared me away! Luckily his witty personality won me over and I am glad. He paid it all off in about 3 years and is definitely the voice of reason in our relationship when It comes to spending to money! He really learned from it!

    1. Catherine says:

      Haha, we’re all glad you stuck around! I sometimes wonder what hubby would have done if he met me with debt rather than being with me while I accumulated it….I can only imagine.

  7. For me it’s a big tie between student loans and falling for a scammy for-profit school. I was taking out loans, not questioning the expensive tuition or really knowing how much until it was too late. I did not understand the terms or even the difference between federal and private loans. I had no guidance except from the for-profit school who had me take out private loans before federal loans were touched…now I’m stuck with a worthless degree and $95,000 in student loans after all the interest that (unknowingly) accrued while I was in school was capitalized and added to my principal…paying interest on that interest now.

    1. Catherine says:

      How do people sleep at night taking advantage of young people? Was your school not accredited?? I’m curious because here in Canada we’re not allowed to take loans out unless the school in question meets a certain criteria.

      1. They were nationally accredited…Not that it mattered while I was in school, I didn’t know what that meant either, I was completely ignorant about all things EVERY student should know before going to college. I wouldn’t be surprised if Sallie Mae was giving my school some sort of incentive to get students signed up for private loans…they seriously had me believing it was federal and I didn’t realize it was private until after I graduated.

  8. Retire By 40 says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of money. Keep at it.
    My biggest money mistake? Probably quitting my career at my peak earning years to be a stay at home dad/blogger.
    I’m earning a lot less money now, but I am a lot happier. Sometime you just have to let it go.

    1. Catherine says:

      I don’t think that’s a mistake. Money is NOT everything. Being home with your children while pursuing something you love is no mistake. As long as you’re finances are in order why not? Now if I did that right now given our current situation, that would be careless and dumb putting my family at risk by not being able to cover the bills.

  9. My biggest mistake was going loose and free with my credit cards. Charging up $50k in credit card debt seemed so much easier than paying it off. It did teach me a lot about money and my habits, so I guess there was an underlying silver lining.

    1. Catherine says:

      As long as you learn something from your mistakes 🙂

  10. The only money mistake I have is not moving all my money to Canada when the pound was at $2.35 where it’s hoovering now at $1.58. It eats me up inside but you know, what’s done is done and I have to just move on and deal with it. Risk is what kept it there and thoughts of more $$ but that burned me and now I deal with it. Chin up… the debt will be gone before you know it, keep plunging away at it.

  11. Hindsight is 20/20. It’s a tough pill to swallow by you made the best decision you could at the time. Life isn’t about making perfect decision. It’s probably not the worst money mistake, but I regret taking life coaching classes and financing it on plastic a year and half ago. But at the time it felt right, so there you go. 🙂

  12. Well, the first 13 years of my marriage was one big money mistake…..but within that the biggest single mistakes? 1.) a trip to Hawaii financed completely on credit cards 2.) Going to Mexico…..and feeling bad that some friends of ours couldn’t go….so we paid for their vacation. With credit cards. Yeah, crazy stupid, right?

    1. Catherine says:

      Yeah that’s tough…though I wish I was your friend when you all went to Mexico 🙂

  13. Pingback: Friday recap 21
  14. Well, I blew $100,000 from age 18 to age 20. I guess that qualifies as a BIG money mistake 😉

    1. Catherine says:

      Yes, it certainly would! But could you honestly say you’re as responsible today had you not???

  15. I was very similar to you in that for years, we made payment on credit card debt without having any idea how much we really owed. Sticking your head in the sand does not help. It does get overwhelming, but at least you aren’t in denial anymore. All you can do it keep moving forward.

  16. We’re with Travis, just blowing money big time the first 15 years of our marriage, although we never did the financing vacations on CC’s and paying for friends to join us. :-). Well, I guess the good news is that we’ve all woken up to smell the coffee and are making changes. 🙂

  17. Like you, my student loan debt (45K) was so massive when I graduated that it was completely surreal. I then entered the real world thinking that my debt load was so big anyways, a few more thousand in credit card debt wouldn’t matter much. UGH BIG MISTAKE.

    I’m lucky that I am still young enough (kinda haha) to turn my financial situation around but I get so angry sometimes thinking about all the years I wasted in my early-mid 20s being foolish with money when I could have been paying down my debt.

    1. Catherine says:

      Totally relate!!

  18. I think my biggest mistake was similar to yours in that I didn’t give the debt enough attention. I never had school loans since I had the GI Bill from my Army days. I do have car loans, mortgage, eating out too much, etc that at first I didn’t keep track of properly so getting caught up on that took time and there’s still room for improvement. My budgeting always needs work. ha! So like you it’s a similar lesson in acknowledging the debt/spending and resolving it responsibly.

  19. Ugh I agree. I understand that my debt won’t simply vanish overnight once I’ve decided to get rid of it, but must it remain an unwelcome house guest for so long? My biggest money mistake…would be not applying for more scholarships in school. I didn’t work very hard to minimize my debt burden until after I was out of school, even though there was lots I could’ve done to save a few thousand dollars.

  20. My biggest financial mistake was not getting out of the market quick enough after the dot.com bubble burst. I learned an important but expensive lesson!

  21. My biggest mistake-Student Loans! But, I am really happy with the education I received. I all ready wrote about it in my Student Loans are like Godzilla post. Ugh.

  22. JMK says:

    A layoff several years ago forced us to figure out what our basic expenses were, and how long we could last on one salary. Dumb that we really had no idea until forced to figure it out. We had never racked up debt, but we also discovered that our true essentials only took about 55% of our income. The layoff turned out to be no big deal, a new job was quickly found and he got a nice severance package. But the true benefit was realizing how much we’d been wasting on crap that wasn’t important to us. We never went back to our old careless spending and instead redirect almost all of that excess income to extra mortgage payments and retirement savings. Instead of hoping we’d ge able to retire at 65/68, we know we can retire at 57/60. My biggest regret is that we didn’t figure this out a decade or two earlier and we could have been retired now in our late 40s.
    Related to the above, if hadn’t been wasting our income on crap we could have been making extra mortgage payments in the early years of our mortgage when it would have make a huge difference to the total interest we paid. We’re making good headway now, but we totally missed the boat on making extra payments at the front end of our mortgage when we would have gotten more benefit.

  23. Racking up significant credit card debt in college was a huge mistake. It took years to pay off because I had student loans as well. Kind of a double whammy with no thought of the future.

  24. Mine was purchasing a shiny new car when I was still in debt. I was young wanted a flashy car but it put my in a terrible financial situation. I do love cars but will get a nice one when I’m debt free!

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