2 Reasons I Shouldn’t be a Personal Finance Blogger.

$100 bill up close
Last year I shared a whole bunch of things that pretty much discredits this entire blog here, but unfortunately I’m back to say the list continues to grow ;) No matter how hard you try, or how good you are at managing that money, you’re just bound to make some mistakes every now and then!

And this weekend I’m afraid I committed two. The second being more embarrassing than the first (especially for being a personal finance blogger! *shakes head*)

MISTAKE #1: I went to a restaurant BECAUSE I had a 25% off coupon, and then I forgot to use it! Which was the whole reason we even WENT to that Ruby Tuesdays to begin with! Arghhh… I had that damn piece of paper in my pockets the entire time and it would have saved us (my boy and I) $10 whole dollars when all was said and done. I didn’t notice it until I emptied my pockets before bed and saw that stupid thing taunting me, haha… ten whole dollars right down the drain.

MISTAKE #2: I paid for an entire plate of food I didn’t eat :( The night before I did mistake #1 up there. And in fact, not only did I NOT eat it, I spit it out because it was the raunchiest thing I have ever seen before! How stupid is that? From me? A budget man? And the worst is that I *knew* I should have spoken up more when it was happening in front of me, but I was too tired/cranky/enter another excuse here ____ to actually do something about it.

So I sucked it up like a wuss and just paid the bill. And then I tipped her. Like a bigger idiot. (WTF is wrong with me? haha…) I’ll spare you the details of the food, but let’s just say never EVER go and eat a chicken caesar salad at iHop. Period. Just typing this out makes me vomit a little in my mouth.

And to be honest with you, I feel like the waitress should take a part of the blame here too. No I didn’t tell her to strike the meal from the bill, BUT at least I did say it was making my stomach hurt, and that I wanted a new meal instead. Which she promptly gave me, and which I scarfed down as if it was my last one on Earth (strawberry & banana pancakes, the best!!). Any good waitress should have picked up on the clues and taken it off the tab, yes? If your customer just sat there and told you he couldn’t eat it? I think my biggest mistake was saying I’d pay for it if I had too cuz I just can’t put that junk in my mouth. I just didn’t think she’d do it! (To clear up the confusion – I paid for TWO meals: The nasty ass $10 salad, AND the completely opposite wonderful pancakes for $4)

So yeah, two more reasons not to listen to me on this blog sometimes ;) I talk a mean talk, but every now and then I just cave in and stick my tail between my legs. I don’t know how I can get so hardcore about saving, and then just throw it away all willy nilly like that, but either way I hope it makes you feel better about yourselves today, haha… just goes to show we all make mistakes!

PS: Have you ever just “taken it” like that before, and not spoke up? Or do you have the common sense to always ask for what’s right?
PPS: We were on a road trip all weekend, in case you’re wondering why the heck I eat out all the time, haha… believe me, I got tired of it real fast ;)

(Photo by dave_stone)

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  1. Ju August 2, 2011 at 6:56 AM

    Ah, everyone does silly things sometimes, sure your budget’s still sexy :)

    Also thought you might like to know that, here in the UK, raunchy means smutty so I was very confused as to what made your dinner so sexual you had to spit it out…

  2. Melissa August 2, 2011 at 7:56 AM

    Yeah, I’ve definitely just sucked it up and eaten a lousy meal (and paid for it!) because I wasn’t in the mood to complain. As a former waitress, I know I should have, but sometimes I’m just not in the mood for a confrontation, you know?

    In the waitress’s defense, most places don’t allow servers the authority to take things off the tab at their own discretion, so she probably would have had to ask a manager to do it. She could have not bothered, but my guess is it’s more likely that she asked and the manager refused, and she just didn’t want to make the establishment look bad. Since you said she brought you your pancakes quickly, it seems to me like she did everything within her control to rectify the situation, but couldn’t get that one thing done. Just my two cents!

  3. No Debt MBA August 2, 2011 at 8:02 AM

    Yup. I’m reluctant to complain even when something is definitely wrong. I need to speak up some more!

    PS – What were you doing ordering a salad at iHop? That is just pure foolishness. Breakfast foods only, man.

  4. Kyle August 2, 2011 at 9:08 AM

    I can honestly say i’ve never sucked it up and just eaten a meal. My friends yell at me for complaining if the meal isn’t right. I guess I get it from my late grandfather who would complain his heart out if things weren’t right. I would never blame the waiter/waitress though, they don’t cook the meals.

    Way I see it, if you’re paying for it… it should come out how you want it. If it isn’t up to par you have every right to complain about it. I’ve gotten new meals out of it or a voucher for later use just by complaining. This goes the other way as well though.. If the food is excellent, I tell the waiter/waitress to let the cook know i enjoyed the meal. If YOU’RE paying for it you have every right to do right by you.

  5. Eric J. Nisall August 2, 2011 at 9:16 AM

    J. you’re right, you shouldn’t be a pf blogger, so I’m never going to read another thing you write again! ;) Then again, with some of the stuff I do and write, I probably shouldn’t be either….

    But anyhow, I have sucked it up a couple of times only because of the fact that I had been to the places in the past and it was the first (and only so far) time that I wasn’t as pleased as I was in the past. Two times I didn’t was once when I went with a friends and her kids to Chili’s and ordered a med-rare burger and it came out raw, and another time at a good Cuban place down here their version of chicken cordon bleu was raw in the middle as well (on that one I ate the outer portion that was cooked first then got an entire meal for free).

    And for the record, everyone forgets things sometime, just don’t let it happen again!

  6. Walnut August 2, 2011 at 9:23 AM

    PF Chang served me a drink with a horribly moldy strawberry as garnish once. When I informed the waiter, he plucked the strawberry off the glass and told me the drink was a mix, not made with actual strawberries, so the drink was fine. Sorry, Mr. Waiter, but I’m not really craving that drink anymore. I didn’t take another sip, there wasn’t even an offer for a new drink AND I had to pay for the damn thing. I wasn’t in the mood to summon a manger and I chalked it up to a lesson learned.

  7. Holly August 2, 2011 at 9:29 AM

    It’s not too late. I would write a letter to the restaurant expressing your dissatisfaction with the meal. Of course you will probably just get a certificate or coupon for your next purchase there and not actual cash back but maybe you can use it on some more strawberry and banana pancakes.

  8. Nicole August 2, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    I ate a meal Saturday night that I didnt care for. Normally I have no problem complaining if there is something wrong with my meal, but in this case I didnt feel I was justified. It was cooked fine, it was exactly as described, ingredients were fresh and it was served hot. I just didnt care for the flavor. It had balsamic vinegar on it (which was described in the menu), but it was just too much balsamic for me. But, thats how it was described, so I felt like I shouldnt complain. Now, had the menu not said balsamic vinegar, I would have complained.
    I guess that’s the rule I follow. If they dont deliver what is promised, I complain. But, if it is delivered as described, but just not pleasing to my taste buds, thats not their fault.

  9. Miriam August 2, 2011 at 10:15 AM

    I probably have, but I can’t remember any time before the last bad meal. Thankfully my husband was with me and we had ordered the same thing, and it sucked for both of us, and we were at our “regular” restaurant so not only were BOTH things taken off the tab, but the owner came up and asked if we had any suggestions to improve it. But if I had been alone, I probably would have forced it down anyway. Confrontation messes me up so my husband does all the confrontation for me.

  10. J. Money August 2, 2011 at 10:22 AM

    @Ju – Ahahahhaaha… that is awesome! And very good to know for the future, haha – there was nothing sexy about that meal at ALL, believe me ;)
    @Melissa – You could be right :) And since I didn’t stick up for myself, maybe she genuinely thought everything was ok?
    @No Debt MBA – I WAS going to order my pancakes, but we’d been on the road for so long (12 hours, from DC to Atlanta) that at the last minute I decided I needed something more healthy! And I even said out loud to my boy “This could be really good, or really bad – but I’m gonna risk it and see what happens!” haha…. FAIL FAIL FAIIIIIIIIL.
    @Kyle – Next time you should just come with me ;) Or I’ll put you on speakerphone and you can do the talking for me, haha…
    @Eric J. Nisall – Thanks man, yeah I def. need to work on that memory of mine – it’s going down faaaaast.
    @Walnut – THANK YOU for telling me that! It’s refreshing to know I’m not the only one who just sucks it up sometimes :) Although I’m sorry to hear you had to pay for the damn thing.
    @Holly – Oooh YES! Brilliant idea, man – how did I not think of that? haha… so much easier to write my thoughts down succinctly than face-to-face, as sad as that sounds. Or maybe I’ll just send my link over to them ;) Or they’ll see this and offer it?
    @Nicole – Right, I think that’s a great way to keep things in place. And probably why the waitress figured all was well with me. Cuz I skewed my upsetness with MY stomach over the actual FOOD that was about to poisen me. Had I complained about how nasty the food was, I’m sure things would have turned out differently… which means I can’t always sugarcoat things just to be nice!
    @Miriam – Awwww, you’ve got a good husband by your side, that’s great :) And I think you’re right on having it be a local place you frequent a lot. In my case I would have known better to order the salad in the first place! Haha..

  11. Jennifer August 2, 2011 at 11:14 AM

    I have had those same issues. Sometimes life is just too busy for you to remember all of the coupons :)
    I know that when I started the blog, frugaldesertdwellers.com I thought that nobody would read how I save so much money and get good deals, but people really want to read about that. And they want to read about your mistakes. Keep up the honesty. it is refreshing!

  12. Jenny~Z August 2, 2011 at 11:23 AM

    @Nicole As a waitress I HATE HATE HATE when people complain because they didn’t like how it tasted but was made exactly as described. So I really appreciate you understanding that and making that point.

    I screwed up last night too… I went for a couple drinks with a friend and the menu said they were priced at $7.40+tax each when the bill came I was charged $7.92+tax. On top of that the hostess had be extremely rude to me and our waitress was even worse. But I couldn’t bring myself to not tip.. even when she quite clearly didn’t deserve it.. I walked away frustrated with a horrible taste in my mouth.. booo

  13. KDB August 2, 2011 at 11:33 AM

    Funny! Mistakes like these are no different than any ones you make with money, no matter how big or small – learn from them and move on. Its when you keep making the same mistakes over and over that they can really cost you!

    BTW – Isn’t IHOP known for pancakes? :)

  14. Kathy August 2, 2011 at 12:11 PM

    Just a few weeks ago I was out for breakfast with friends after gping to Mass and I ordered my ‘regular’ omelet at one of our ‘regular’ places we frequent. After I ate about 2/3 of it, I found that the eggs were runny/uncooked in the middle of it. If it’s one thing I can’t stand, it’s uncooked eggs!!

    So, as I complained to my ‘regular’ server and she, point blank asked me ‘What do you want me to do about it?” Huh!? YOU’RE the server, give me a suggestion….will the owners (small place) give me a new one? comp my meal? what? I said to talk to the owners.

    When she came back, she took the price of my coffee off my bill & then told me that she wanted me to give her my money so the owners didn’t see that she had taken the coffee off my bill. When I asked her what they said, she told me that she didn’t even tell the owners because they would have looked at my 2/3 eaten omelet & said that it was mostly gone and wouldn’t do anything about it.

    I KNOW that I should have spoken up right there and then. Just didn’t want the comfrontation. And, suffice it to say that my friends want to boycott the place. I asked them not to & if it happens again, I’D be the one asking for the owners to come to my table instead of leaving it up the server.

  15. ShoeGal August 2, 2011 at 12:16 PM

    I am the complainer in my group too! I will not pay some something I am not enjoying. That is not to say that I have never paid for mediocre meals. The forgetting the coupon would be the worst!

  16. Edward Antrobus August 2, 2011 at 2:16 PM

    My wife and I grabbed Subway for lunch today. Our grocery store ALWAYS has Subway coupons on the back of the receipt and had the coupon in my hand all the way through ordering…and paying…and never handed the cashier the coupon. Oops.

    As my mother likes to say: Do as I say, not as I do. :)

    As far as point number 2, sometimes it just isn’t edible. On a related note, a trait that I get from my father: I very rarely will try a new food if I have to pay for it. I don’t want to pay $20 for Chilean Sea Bass, take one bite and discover that I hate Chilean Sea Bass.

  17. Jen @ Master the Art of Saving August 2, 2011 at 2:35 PM

    Have you ever gone to a professional financial website and fell asleep? There’s usually no pizzazz, no way to relate and it gets boring. Personally, I think personal finance bloggers SHOULD make mistakes w/ their money—because that’s what real people do. We make mistakes and sometimes we learn and grow from them. Like on my blog, I layout every cent we spend and what we spend it on. Some weeks I totally f-up our spending; others I’m more proud of. I might still be learning (probably forever) but it’s the desire for financial independence that keeps us going and growing, right? Being real and making mistakes is exactly why you should be a personal finance blogger, silly. ;-) If you were perfect, I don’t think your blog would be as much fun.

  18. LaToya August 2, 2011 at 2:38 PM

    Have you guys ever watched the movie “Waiting” with Ryan Reynolds? Before watching that movie, I would complain if things were not correct on my plate or if the waiter forgot something. After watching that movie, no matter how bad something is, I NEVER send it back, and forgo any offers to correct the problem. In fact, I usually wait until the end to tell the waiter I really didn’t like the meal thus I didn’t eat it, and don’t want a to-go box. If the service was really bad, I will tip the lesser of $5 or the tax (which here is 10%) that’s it. If the service was good, but the food/environment was bad, I tip 15% and exactly no more.

  19. Kevin @ Thousandaire.com August 2, 2011 at 2:44 PM

    The coupon thing sucks, but I’ve done that before. No worries bro.

    Did the server make you pay for both meals? If so, it might be time to send a tweet or a letter to IHOP and get something in return. If she just made you pay for one meal, then I think she did the right thing. You did eat the pancakes.

  20. C Ann August 2, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    J, you don’t order a salad from Ihop! And I really wanna know what was wrong with the salad.

  21. Crystal August 2, 2011 at 4:10 PM

    I’ve just taken it before and regretted it almost immediately every time. I’m learning to speak up more. :-) If those are the two biggest financial mistakes you make this month, I think you are still doing very well, lol.

    My biggest hit ever was not trying to negotiate for our Tempurpedic and bedroom set 3 years ago. I sort of knew I had some wiggle room but was in a weird, shut down mood and just signed over $6000. I felt like a huge idiot (and still kick myself a little for not at least talking them down $500 overall, which wouldn’t have been hard…), but at least we have a kick butt bed. And I won’t make the same mistake twice. :-)

  22. J. Money August 2, 2011 at 4:18 PM

    @Jennifer – Thanks Jennifer :) Gonna go check out your site once I post these up!
    @Jenny~Z – Horrible taste because of the DRINK or because of the situation? (Bah dum ching!)
    @KDB – Yes, really BAD ASS pancakes too, I love them! But I don’t dare advise order anything else from there anymore… *shiver*
    @Kathy – Awww, yeah crappy situation for sure. I would have done the same thing! (obviously, haha…) But I’m probably like you in that the SECOND time I’d def stand up and speak my mind… first ones usuallys slide.
    @ShoeGal – I should have taken you with me, then :)
    @Jen @ Master the Art of Saving – Well that’s good because I’m farrrrrrr from perfect! Haha… I’m *great* at some things, and stupid w/ the rest…. good thing I have a bad memory and forget all the nonsense I put myself through ;)
    @LaToya – HAH! I’ve seen parts of it and now I’m totally freaked too! And you better believe I thought about that when they went back to make me pancakes… I saw the server chat w/ the chef but couldn’t make up what she was saying… it always freaks me out now ;)
    @Kevin @ Thousandaire.com – I had to pay for BOTH meals – the poisonous salad and the pancakes. $10 vs $4, and I’d have gladly paid just $10 for the pancakes too, it was the fact she charged me for both that pissed me off.
    @C Ann – I know! But I had to try and learn for myself! Haha…
    @Crystal – I hear that! Much better to mess up on smaller things than huge ones – sorry you had to learn the hard way :( But nice to hear you love your bed though!!! We desperately need a newer one but haven’t started searching yet cuz we’re afraid of the prices… plus we keep forgetting we need one ;)

  23. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager August 2, 2011 at 4:20 PM

    Wait, you paid for the salad AND pancakes. Yup, I’m never following your blog ever again (kidding). I wouldn’t have done that at all, stand up for yourself and your stomach mohawk man!

  24. J. Money August 2, 2011 at 5:03 PM

    I know, I told you I suck!

  25. Homefree August 2, 2011 at 6:03 PM

    Mistakes add up after awhile, 50 cents, here, 10.00 there. If we counted the dollars that flowed from our pockets, either by mistake or because we were asleep at the wallet, they probably add up too at least a pancakes meal at IHOP!

  26. Melissa August 2, 2011 at 8:55 PM

    Oh man, I just caught the fact that you actually paid for BOTH the salad and the pancakes! I assumed you just paid for the one, and the pancakes were of a similar value and she gave them to you for free. That you got charged for both is crap. I definitely would have complained. I take back what I said in defense of the waitress!

  27. Carrie August 2, 2011 at 9:38 PM

    Once I was on a group trip to NYC. We were running late for a show and stopped by the Times Square McDonald’s to grab something to tide us over. Everyone else ordered and got their food, but we were still waiting for mine. Finally at the last second before we absolutely had to go I asked and showed them my receipt, they just looked at me, then the computer, then back at me and said they never received the order. It was just a burger.

    I was furious, and I couldn’t make the group wait. So I went to a 3 hour show starving. I wrote to corporate later, expressing my anger. Their answer? Well if I returned to that exact McDonald’s they would return my money, otherwise it was a no go. And by the time I even received this response I was back on the west coast.

    Anyway, I support expressing displeasure for a meal (if it’s deserved). You definitely shouldn’t pay for something that’s inedible or actually sick-inducing. Write to corporate and see what they say?

  28. J. Money August 3, 2011 at 12:06 AM

    @Homefree – “Asleep at the wallet” haha, nice one.
    @Melissa – Haha, it makes me even MORE crazy too, huh? $14 for 4 little pancakes – what a mess…
    @Carrie – Yeah, I think that’s def. the way to go here. Didn’t even cross my mind until I started seeing a few comments on it. So thanks! :) I actually tweeted about it, kinda hoping they’d take notice, but no luck yet… maybe I’ll get luckier w/ a letter. Hope you ate something REALLLLLY good after that show! :)

  29. Kody @ Financial Money Tips August 3, 2011 at 12:22 AM

    Im not a big fan of ihop as it is, but i would never ever think about getting a chicken salad ;) haha pancakes all the way! and ya i can’t believe you had to pay for that extra meal. That was low of her. She (that waitress) did everything wrong. I hope she was cute at least? then it wouldn’t be all that worthless…haha

    This article is halarious, now i can go to bed with a smile on my face :) thanks J!

  30. Jaime August 3, 2011 at 12:34 AM

    No one is perfect and I don’t expect finance bloggers to have perfect 100% finance habits 100% of the time. That’s insane. I think its good that you share your imperfections, it makes you very human and relatable. You show that even if you make mistakes, you can still get back on track and save. I don’t use coupons either, and I know other savers who don’t.

  31. LB August 3, 2011 at 6:42 AM

    I absolutely hate bad service, more than bad food. The server can’t always do something about bad food, but she/he can always do something about bad service. The last bad service I had was at a McDonalds when I was caring for my mom after surgery. I wanted to use their wifi and take a 30 minute break so thought I would just order a couple of pies. The freaking pies took 10 minutes not because they didn’t have any, but because of they way they were handling customers. My order was placed on the counter with the rest. Mine was to-go so all the trays for the stay-in orders covered it up. Like they couldn’t have just reached behind them and gave me a pie. Took me so much time to get them I actually didn’t get a whole lot of wifi time. I never went back. Actually I still don’t go to any McDonald’s, but I don’t really care for their food.

  32. alysa@impulsesave.com August 3, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    I think Nicole makes a great point: there’s a difference between the “false advertising” of a meal and not liking what you ordered. The former gives you a bit more justification for talking to the waitress, while the latter isn’t, really. Either way, I think it’s great that you attempted to be healthy at an establishment known more for their delicious-but-not-so-healthy options – so points for you on that one! It’s sometimes tough to not act on impulse, and you didn’t!

  33. Kathryn C August 3, 2011 at 4:59 PM

    I’m all about good service so when someone brings me sh-t, I usually tell them, in a nice way. Then, if they don’t handle it properly, like take it off the bill or whatever, I ding them on their tip. I know I sound mean, but I’m in the service business and that’s how I get paid $$. In fact I often over tip, beyond 20%, if a waiter is overly accommodating.

    People need a feed back loop like that, or else they don’t change their behavior. It’s the same reason why we have little signs in neighborhoods that tell us what speed we’re going; you see you’re driving faster than the speed limit because you can see the sign that tells you, and you slow down. Otherwise….you keep speeding. Nobody wants to change anything unless there is a feedback loop.

  34. Crystal of Moneydrain.net August 4, 2011 at 11:05 AM

    ha ha, I’ve paid for things and meals before that I later regretted. I have a hard time being mean to people and speaking up if service sucks. I don’t mind not tipping, but I rarely send food back unless it’s entirely RAUNCHY.

    If you’re ever up in Frederick let me know!

  35. Diana Doherty August 4, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    Having worked as both a bartender and waitress, this “And then I tipped her. Like a bigger idiot. (WTF is wrong with me? haha…)” immediately made me defensive. Always tip the wait staff. In most cases, especially at chain restaurants, tips are part of their pay. Federal Law still permits that, as long as their tips bring their wages up to minimum wage, an employer may pay wait staff $2.13 per hour. That is not a typo. You should tip 20% to an average waiter, more if they go above and beyond for you or you have a party larger than 4.

    @Walnut — That waiter should have been tipped less than you typically would tip and you should have spoken to the manager about his behavior. That is unacceptable.

  36. Jenna August 5, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    It really just depends on the situation and whether I think it’s worth it. I went clothes shopping earlier this year (a rarity for me) and forgot a $10 rewards coupon and a $25 gift card. Although, I’d actually forgotten I even had these items until I got home. I was pretty mad at myself when I saw them. However, I realized that I could use the gift card later, so I was only losing the $10 (which was expiring soon). The $10 wasn’t worth driving back out to return an item and re-buy it with the coupon, since it would’ve cost me almost that much in gas.

    In terms of situations where someone else is “at fault,” I don’t generally like conflict, and if I’m tired or stressed I can be even less likely to want to deal with an issue. However, on the other hand, I’ve definitely gotten more demanding of good service/quality as I get older, and sometimes crankiness will make me just that much more feisty!

  37. J. Money August 14, 2011 at 9:20 PM

    @Kody @ Financial Money Tips – Anytime my friend – I aim to please ;) (and no, she was not cute)
    @Jaime – Awww, thanks – I should save this to read every time I mess up going forward ;)
    @LB – “The server can’t always do something about bad food, but she/he can always do something about bad service.” YES!!! So. True.
    @alysa(at)impulsesave.com – Haha, that’s true. Although I wish I HAD given in to my pacakes to begin with!
    @Kathryn C – Oooh I like that! That damn speeding sign always slows me down! Haha… good point my friend – you’re a smarty.
    @Crystal of Moneydrain.net – I can always be in Frederick! Is that where you live?? If so, we’re totally having lunch one day :) Though it is a bit of a hike for me, so maybe on a slow day, like a Friday!
    @Diana Doherty – Hmmmm… I guess I can see your point. Though I could have sworn 15% was the average. I’d always tip no matter what cuz I’d always feel bad not doing so, but a good lesson here is to always speak up in the first place :) I should have totally grabbed a manager, or just flat out asked her to take it off the bill – which I didn’t, even though she should have known.
    @Jenna – Haha, yeah I’m getting more demanding of quality too as I go up in years :) Now I’m not averse to spending extra money on better stuff like I used to be.

  38. Diana Doherty August 14, 2011 at 9:29 PM

    I wonder if the price/quality thing is our age or just that we’ve lived long enough to get sick of replacing cheap things. Learning the difference between cheap and inexpensive the hard way.
    (15% is typically considered the norm, but it’s an outdated norm. 20% before tax should be your standard tip, more if the service deserves it.)

  39. J. Money August 14, 2011 at 9:42 PM

    Haha, yeah possibly. Or maybe we just try out MORE stuff over the years to be able to tell the difference? :) Roger that on tipping too – I always do a flat 20% as I rarely get superb service anyways. Although, this weekend I did tip $5 on a $12 bill! But only cuz I was being a pain to her by accident (I kept changing my mind, haha…)