How Many of These Money Mistakes Have You Beat?

Happy 5th of July!! Are you nice and awake yet?? WILL ALL THESE CAPS HELP YOU OUT? :)

Seeing how we all just celebrated an awesome day of freedom yesterday, I thought we’d extend the joyous occasion and congratulate ourselves on even *more* freedoms we’ve since come to enjoy now that we’re paying attention to our money :) The “5th of July Money Freedoms” if you will!

Below you will find a handful of money mistakes inspired by Anna from And Then We Saved, an awesome blog which my sister constantly reads over mine (!!!). I want you to review each of them and then tell us how many you’ve kicked to the curb. There will be some you’re still working on, of course, but we’ll leave those for another day and concentrate on the ones we’re rockin’ ;)

Here are some of Anna’s mistakes:

  1. Spending without thinking
  2. Impulse buying
  3. Not checking receipts
  4. Not opening bills right away
  5. Failure to review bank changes
  6. Carrying balances on credit cards
  7. Failure to review insurance coverage
  8. Not properly planning for retirement
  9. Not refinancing a high-interest mortgage loan
  10. Not keeping tabs on credit score
  11. Missing out on tax deductions
  12. Always buying new
  13. Failure to ask for a deserved raise
  14. Spending a windfall recklessly
  15. Falling for scams

And here are the ones I’m doing well on now (Yippee!):

  1. Not checking receipts — I check/skim every one that goes in my hand! If I wait, I’ll forget.
  2. Carrying balances on credit cards — Not since June 23rd of 2008! (Unless you count the time we threw our Eurotrip on it for a cple months and then paid it off?)
  3. Not properly planning for retirement — I’m def. planning for it, but not 100% sure it’s totally the “proper?” way? Haha… Stuff’s being invested! :)
  4. Not keeping tabs on credit score — I check mine yearlong withΒ Credit Sesame to gauge rough movements up and down, but then get a “real” one when I check my free credit report every year. You can do it here each time for free – and it’s awesome:
  5. Missing out on tax deductions — Never more since I picked me up an accountant 10 years ago!
  6. Always buying new — Was never much of a problem being raised in a yard sale house.
  7. Failure to ask for a deserved raise — Used to be too shy to do this, but quickly realized that you have to stand up for yourself because no one else will :) You’re your own #1 fan!
  8. Spending a windfall recklessly — Nope! 10 years ago I did after graduation (if you can count $1,000 a windfall?), but with my grandparents passing recently I’m proud to say I learned my lesson and banked all $20k of it away for a rainy day. AKA new business adventures :)
  9. Falling for scams — Not since I thought I was being “scouted” to be a model in NYC years ago, haha… I didn’t catch on until I made it through to the last round and needed to come up with $1,000+ for pictures and an agency deposit ;) And then saw like 100 other people who also made it through and needing to do the same thing! On the plus side, I did feel pretty for a while :)

Now the ones I either suck at, or don’t do on purpose ;)

  1. Not opening bills right away — I used to be pretty good at this, but sadly I’ve been slipping over the years. Probably because now most everything is automated, and the only bills that come are stragglers requiring a keener eye and work. AKA mailing a check, haha… I’m literally staring at my bill/filing pile as I type this :)
  2. Not refinancing a high-interest mortgage loan — We did pull this off 2 years ago, but sadly we’ve failed ever since :( We owe way too much on the house and can’t knock it down enough to be able to refi anytime soon. But I continue to fight the good fight!
  3. Spending without thinking — I actually do this on purpose, but only with small amounts of money. I have an area in my budget called “blow money” ($200 a mo) where I’m allowed to do whatever I want with it. I take it out in cash every month ($200) and sometimes it carries over into the next month, and sometimes not :) It actually helps me out a lot by giving me some freedom from being so hardcore all the time with money.
  4. Impulse buying — This falls into the same category as above :) I only curb this when an object is maybe $30 and up, and I’ll usually then sleep on it for a night. Though I do slip every now and then so I constantly need to be on alert :(
  5. Failure to review bank changes — I actually rarely care what my bank is doing because I have some big freakin’ trust with them (USAA). I also don’t rate chase, so even if other place has better interest rates I don’t budge. That stuff stresses me out! I like having everything in one spot where it’s 90% fine and I can keep my sanity. For better or for worse :)
  6. Failure to review insurance coverage — I don’t do this one either, as it also falls under the USAA umbrella. This is the one place where USAA shines the most, so I’ve never had to look elsewhere (and when I did early on, nothing came close). If I wasn’t with them though, I’d probably review this stuff every couple of years for sure.

Okay, your turn! You don’t have to write a novel about any of them like I did here, haha, but def. drop a line in the comments and let us know which ones you’re proud of for accomplishing thus far.


Now I’m off to try and clear that dang bill pile once and for all, stupid thing… Don’t you distract me! :)

Photo by Paolo Camera

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  1. Patrick July 5, 2013 at 7:49 AM

    I give a lot of money away – and not to charities. I have a habit of paying for everybody when socializing, which can get very expensive. I’m trying to stop doing this, but I don’t see it happening anytime soon.

    Something I’m good at is hustling. Side money has always been my thing, and I just scored another $1000 for doing some very basic work for somebody. I’ve always been good at offense and shitty at defense, so I’m always trying to improve my D.

    Hope you had a fun 4th, J$.

    1. J. Money July 5, 2013 at 9:19 AM

      Haha nice. Remind me to call you up next time I’m out to party, k? :)

      1. Patrick July 5, 2013 at 11:29 AM

        Yeah, man. Well, I saw you moved to VA…. my neck o’ the woods.

        1. J. Money July 7, 2013 at 10:25 AM

          Oh yeah? For some reason I thought you were in the NYC area?

  2. Slackerjo July 5, 2013 at 9:03 AM

    I grew up in a household that seldom went out to dinner or indulged in fast food so when I moved to the big city, every time I went to the mall I first had to indulge in a snack/meal/dessert/all of the above from the food court. It was pretty hard on my bank account and my waistline but I kept doing it for years. I am not sure what synapse snapped in my brain but about 13 years ago I just stopped eating out (now to the point my family has to take me kicking and screaming to a restaurant). I suddenly had no desire to do it a anymore and seeing my bank account increasing and my waistline decreasing proved to be a great motivator.

    1. J. Money July 5, 2013 at 9:20 AM

      I bet! That’s a hard habit to kick too, way to pull it off.

  3. Shafi July 5, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    I grew up in a household where my parents never used credit cards because they never had one. We always went out for a cup of coffee and nothing else which cost us less than a quarter for a cup. Their expenses were quite limited because their income was limited. My parents had never accumulated debt, not even a buck. My wife and I follow the same lifestyle. Except for mortgage, we don’t have other debts.

    1. J. Money July 7, 2013 at 10:28 AM

      Nice! And crazy how coffee used to only cost a quarter, jeez…. times sure have changed.

  4. Brian @ Luke1428 July 5, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    We used to miss out on many tax deductions. Not any more now that my wife has gone back to school and become a CPA. Now that’s all I hear…tax deduction this…tax deduction that…count that mileage…write off that expense…sometimes my head just spins! :)

    1. Aimee July 7, 2013 at 8:59 AM

      hahaha!! I’m a CPA and I make my boyfriend’s head spin too sometimes. He’s getting a lot of dental work this year and I’m terrified he won’t keep track of how much he’s spending on it. I won’t even ask him to keep track of the miles because he’ll get stressed so I’m going to calculate it myself when he gives me his stuff at the end of the year. I wish he’d just give me all of his paperwork so I can make a tax file for him hahaha!

      1. J. Money July 7, 2013 at 10:29 AM

        HA! I want a CPA in our household too!!!!

  5. Michelle July 5, 2013 at 2:45 PM

    Our biggest mistake includes going out to eat way too much. I’m sure I could have paid off my student loans a long time ago if we would have ate in more.

  6. Crystal July 5, 2013 at 5:09 PM

    Insurance agent here. Every time people call for a quote and say they are currently with USAA, I continue with the quote but am bummed on the inside because I know I can never beat them. And we are appointed with over 50 carriers with whom we could write business with.

    I’d say you’re safe only checking your insurance rates with them every few years. As you have already discovered, it’s highly likely that you’re getting a great deal. :)

    1. J. Money July 7, 2013 at 10:30 AM

      Woah! That’s a powerful statement right there – USAA should use it in their marketing, haha….

  7. Crystal July 5, 2013 at 5:10 PM

    Oh, and yup. I’ve made pretty much all these mistakes. Like pp, our biggest problem is going out to eat too much. I have a 6 month old baby and hardly have time to shower, let alone cook. :(

  8. Thomas July 6, 2013 at 9:00 AM

    We were using credit too much and eating out a lot before. Also wasted a lot of money on not haggling to get bills lower on monthly things like cable and cell phones.

  9. Mark Ross July 7, 2013 at 2:40 AM

    My biggest money mistake is impulse buying. I can’t stop it, whenever I see an online store put up a sale, I want to buy something from them. :(

    1. J. Money July 8, 2013 at 9:08 AM

      Yeah, that’s a toughie. Back when I was going overboard with this I did my best to just *not* go into any stores or those online shops (*ahem* Amazon) and that helped out immensely. I couldn’t spend if I wasn’t in a store :)

  10. Aimee July 7, 2013 at 9:10 AM

    The only category I’m an offender in is not asking for raises. My current job is very fair with pay, but I know that if I found myself in a place to ask for a deserved raise it would be a literal fight and I avoid fights at all costs. My previous job paid me way too little, and they knew it, but they were convinced that I wasn’t going to stay which became a self fulfilling prophecy. Anyway, I’m crazy about receipts. I keep a pretty intense budget spreadsheet where all receipts get entered. I only have myself to keep track of so it isn’t that bad. When I bought a pre-owned vehicle last year they were shocked at how good my credit was… AUTO PAY!! You can’t miss a payment if you don’t have to actually make it, AND like you said, you don’t have to deal with many bills.

    1. J. Money July 7, 2013 at 10:33 AM

      Fighting for a promotion can def. be hard, esp at some place :( At least you’re getting paid fairly now which is a nice step up from your last place it seems :)

  11. Pam July 7, 2013 at 10:22 AM

    How do you get your credit score? I look at my report but I don’t get the score.

  12. J. Money July 7, 2013 at 10:35 AM

    The scores are separate from the reports unfortunately. If you get the free reports at, you basically have to pay the $6 or $8 or whatever at the end to actually get your score. Which sucks, but it’s def. cheaper/easier than going to other places at least when I try it. Or you can get a free score at but it’s not the “official” one that most people look for. Just depends on what you’re going for.

  13. Anna Newell Jones July 8, 2013 at 6:04 PM

    So glad the post on ATWS inspired this post and the big ol’ conversation! :) I swear it seems like we’ve all made crap loads of money mistakes, huh. To be able to learn from them is so huge to financial success. I think too that sometimes mistakes are needed to help cement them into our brains so we don’t make them again. I know I never want to get myself back into debt again bc getting out of it was such a massive undertaking! You better believe I don’t look at coffee, clothes, and material things in general in the same way after having to dig out of those decisions.

    Great post as usual Jay!
    p.s. you had me cracking up when you said your sis reads ATWS more than BAS. omg… too funny;)

    1. J. Money July 12, 2013 at 9:55 PM

      I thought you’d like that ;)

  14. thepotatohead July 10, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    I’ve recently beaten 6, 8, 9, and 10. I paid off my credit card debt, refinanced my mortgage, and bumped up my retirement account all within the past few months. 12 I’ve never really done. I always try to buy used if at all possible, great way to save money on things.

    1. J. Money July 12, 2013 at 9:56 PM

      Way to go my man! You’re having a stellar few months there, eh?