We all make mistakes, and they can feel especially awful when money is involved. These 10 financial decisions are guaranteed to land you in trouble, so avoid them at all costs.
1. Dodging the Tax Man
Just like any problem, ignoring the Internal Revenue Service will not make your tax obligations go away. One debtor went to the bank one day to find all his accounts completely drained.
Uncle Sam always collects his debts, and he doesn’t always offer a payment plan. Pay your taxes. Your elected officials have lots of worthwhile plans for your money, they promise!
2. Buying a Nightmare Home
One homebuyer thought they did their due diligence. Unfortunately, they didn’t detect mold, electrical and plumbing flaws, water damage, and even bats in the attic. Few financial mistakes are as costly as buying a nightmare home.
3. The American Muscle Money Pit
Note to self: I won’t dive into Jay Leno’s hobbies if I don’t have Jay Leno’s money. Car restoration is not a venture for those making less than $40,000 annually, as one naïve would-be mechanic found out.
The burnt-out gearhead said they were “OK giving up my time and labor but severely underestimated how expensive a total restoration would be.”
4. Foregoing Dental Insurance (and the Dentist)
So long as you break out the Crest twice a day, floss a couple of times a month, and lay off the sweets, you can skip the dentist appointments and forego dental insurance, right?
Wrong. One “anti-dentite” (thanks, Seinfeld) paid so much out of their own pocket for dental work that they could have bought the dentist’s office. Go to the dentist, and get dental insurance.
5. Over-Shopping at the Grocery Store
It doesn’t matter that you shop at Walmart instead of Whole Foods. If you’re spending money on groceries that go bad before you cook them, you’re consistently throwing money down the drain. Better to pay more at Whole Foods for ingredients you’ll use than to pay half-price at Walmart to throw the food out.
6. Turning Down a Scholarship? That’s Bold
Ironically, turning down a full scholarship from Notre Dame is what you’d expect from someone who would never get a full scholarship to Notre Dame. From Fighting Irish to fighting to get out of debt in the span of one terrible decision.
The short-sighted student got their Master of Business as anticipated but said their education cost “$60k more than it needed to.”
7. Leaving the Court Date Off the iPhone Calendar
One forgetful no-shower let their court date slip by. Forty-five days in jail and two years of probation later, they are a religious calendar user who will never forget the most expensive missed appointment they ever had.
8. Doing the Right Thing
One responsible Samaritan rues the day they struck a parked car with their vehicle, left a note, and ended up paying $180 out of pocket for repairs. If they had a do-over, they would have skipped the note-writing and pocketed the $180. We don’t know if we would recommend that! Dishonesty always costs more.
9. Marrying the Wrong Person
A spouse can be far more than a life companion. The wrong husband or wife can be an albatross on your credit score, the cause of a monthly bank statement that’s always in the red, and the ball and chain that prevents you from reaching your financial dreams. Marriage can be liberating, or it can be a financial prison. Choose wisely before slipping the ring on.
10. Sandwiching While Driving
True story (as far as we can tell). One guy was making a sandwich while driving, caused a violent collision, and now faces $30,000 in medical bills (and likely higher insurance premiums). Most expensive ham and Swiss ever.