This is a guest post from I’ve Paid For This Twice Already – . I encourage you to subscribe to her RSS feed.
First, just let me say that I believe in the Lazy Man philosophy as espoused by this blog. I would love to make my money work so I don’t have to. But in the past, being lazy for me was basically equal to not taking the time to do much about anything. And as you can guess, it wasn’t the best idea I ever had. These are 5 ways that being lazy about my money contributed to my spiral into significant debt. Hopefully someone out there can learn from my mistakes and save themselves the pain of making them!
1. Not paying attention to where my money was actually going.
This was a big one. I was making money, and spending money, and as long as there was still some money in my bank account, I wasn’t really paying too much attention to what I was spending it on. And if there wasn’t any money in my account… well, there were always credit cards. Right? I could just pay them off when I got some more money….
2. Not reading the fine print… of anything… ever.
My parents swear I started reading at age 3, but for how little fine print I read in the past, I must never have graduated from the big print books with pictures. From credit card agreements to bank account statements, I couldn’t be bothered to read the details. You can imagine how much money this cost me, from fees I wasn’t aware of to interest rates that were variable not fixed to charges for services I actually didn’t need to have. I can’t even imagine how much money I wasted through not taking the time to be an educated and informed consumer.
3. Not being organized.
I shudder to think how many late fees I’ve paid in my life through sheer laziness. I’d lose track of what day it was, or I’d forget about one bill or another, and then… wham. Late fee. I never paid anything significantly late, but a few days here or there was not an uncommon occurrence for a large portion of my adult life.
4. Using credit card convenience checks.
They’re… convenient? Right? Not sure how much money I might have left for bill paying, since I was too lazy to pay attention to where my money was going and had no idea what I’d spent already? Write a credit card convenience check! I can always pay the credit card next month….
5. I want it now
When I wanted something, I bought it. No bothering to check around for the best price, no waiting until I saved up the money, just do it now. Who wants to have to come back later? Who wants to wait around for prices to drop? Not me. Instant gratification was simpler than figuring out what I really needed, not just desired.
I’m happy to say that I’ve overcome these habits and treat my money with much more respect now, and in return, it treats me better too. I’m successfully working my way out of debt and am on a path to the best financial health I have ever been in. There’s lazy that works, and lazy that doesn’t. I definitely was the doesn’t. Someday, once my financial house is completely in order, I may be able to learn to be the kind that does.
My mistake is the instant gratification problem. I was too lazy to really weigh my options. I ended overpaying on things I didn’t even use much.
That’s funny, my debt was caused from those 5 items too.
Cal Xenia says
Five very true statements that all of us have been guilty of at one time or another. But it is time to take note and change. Thanks for highlighting the five points.
Hmm… I would say that my laziness block me to make tremendous of money.
The Saving Freak says
All of these problems were cured for me when I got married. My wife is awesome with day to day finances. One of the first things we did as a married couple was take a financial counseling class. This put us on the same page and money has never been an issue in our marriage.
I’ve definitely made a lot of these mistakes when I was younger. I still am not terribly organized and intentionally frugal with my spending habits, I do just fine and save half my income each month or more, but I could probably squeeze out an extra $150 a month if I really put the effort into it
2 and 5 for me, especially #5. I think I’ve wasted so much money because I just had to have that thing right away. I would take days, weeks, months to decide whether I want something or not, but once I decided, any nano second delay is one that is too long!
I can relate to all 5 of those. I want to be lazy like lazy man and money, but first I have to save more of the money that I make.
Best wishes, lazy man and spouse. I hope you have a happy, happy life together!!!!!!!!!!!
We are not in debt, but one way where we definitely lose some money is by “not sweating the small stuff”. I don’t always stay on top of the smaller expenses, but these things do tend to add up. I am guessing the total is around $2,000 a year. I haven’t made up my mind about whether saving this amount is worth the price of constant financial vigilance. Thoughts?
Yes! Yes! Yes! These are all true! Coincidentally, I just received one of those convenience checks in the mail yesterday and mocked them mercilessly to my wife. “Hey! free Christmas money!” “ONLY a small 3% transfer fee!” “Whoopee!”
Granted, if I can get 0% with no transfer fees, I might consider it. Generally, however, they are a quick way to trouble.
Thanks for all the responses!