Don't make dumb money mistakes

Don’t Make Dumb Money Mistakes!

When I was little, I remember being at my cousins’ house and we were having some sort of pinching fight(?) and laughing and crying and screaming. My aunt came in and yelled: “Don’t do dumb things!” and we all laughed and laughed. But the message stuck and I hear that in my mind so much that I’ve yelled it to my own children a number of times!

So what got me riled this time? The Ryan Lochte situation. I won’t go into it as I’m sick of hearing about it (though I do have to say my favorite headline has been the “Lochte Mess Monster” and his apology for his “immature tantics” made me laugh). The lesson for kids: Even if you’re hanging out with the dumb people, you’re still doing dumb things and may find yourself with your passport confiscated or with a fine for $11,000. Don’t do dumb things.

This statement applies to so many situations!

  • You haven’t increased your savings amount in over a year. Maybe you’re not even saving at all! Don’t do dumb things.
  • You don’t contribute enough to your 401k to get your full employer match. It’s free money! Don’t do dumb things.
  • You spend more than you make. This is basic money 101. Don’t do dumb things.
  • You are saving money for retirement, but you’re planning for some grey-haired rocking-chair sitting old person you don’t know. I will shout my catchphrase until the cows come home: Future you is still YOU! Plan for YOUR future, not some old decrepit stranger’s. Don’t do dumb things.
  • Work is driving you nuts. More than that, it’s impacting your health. Maybe even landing you in the E.R. Let’s all learn from Marc’s story: Get out! Don’t do dumb things.
  • When looking to buy a home, you use the size of the loan for which you’ve been approved as your budget instead of something that would actually fit comfortably into your monthly budget. Don’t do dumb things.
  • You want to save money, so you cut yourself off completely and stop spending any money on anything “fun.” Obviously this backfires and you binge-purchase a bunch of crap you can’t return. Don’t do dumb things.
  • I recently guest posted over at Ditching the Grind about the cost of poor health. If you have an addiction, you have given up your agency. You no longer get to choose where your time or money goes. Don’t do dumb things.

Don’t worry too much if you find yourself guilty of something (or many things) on the above list. The good news is that there is hope for you. As I tell my children, no one is inherently dumb. People have brains that they can choose to use or not. Everyone is very capable of doing dumb things, but that doesn’t mean they’re dumb. That means even people that are currently making dumb choices can stop and start making smart choices!

Your personal finance story, is YOUR personal story. You get to make the choices. We don’t always get to choose our circumstances, but we get to choose what we do IN those circumstances. Don’t do dumb things. You’re better than that.


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  1. I think a lot of those crazy financial choices happen because people don’t put much thought into their actions. Mr. Mt had 10k in credit card debt when we met. Some of the items were things he felt he “needed”, but some was really dumb crap like cd’s. Why buy and pay interest on an item like that when you are no more likely to be able to pay it off next year as next week? I’m sure he put zero thought into it. It’s a good thing he married me! =) I put way too much thought into everything.

    • MaggieBanks

      Yes… the ideas don’t seem dumb at the time. We’ve all been down that road in our own ways!

  2. Maggie, I love your “creative writing”! While the “Lochte Mess Monster” may want to blame his actions on alcohol, he’s ultimately responsible. In the same way, all of those who make “DUMB” financial moves may have loads of excuses, but they’re ultimately responsible. Great post, and great reminders to us all!

    • MaggieBanks

      Ha! Thanks Fritz. and By “creative writing” do you mean “angry ranting?” Sometimes posts just fall out of me like I’m screaming them. 🙂

  3. Man this Lochte mess is pretty hilarious. He needs to grow up and stop being a kid. 🙂

    These are some good dumb financial moves. Glad I have learned from my mistakes in the past and now making good financial moves.

    • MaggieBanks

      It’s always nice to look back and see that we’ve moved on from our own “immature tantics.” 🙂

  4. Couldn’t agree more on the point about cutting yourself off while you go about hardcore saving. Missing out on experiences to defer them later seems such a waste of what is around us – both today and tomorrow.

    • MaggieBanks

      Yes! It’s all about balance. I look at the story of Mad Fientist and how obsessed he got with early retirement his relationship with his wife was on the line. It’s better to take it slow and assess priorities as you go. Drastic changes can be made… but only one step at a time.

  5. Rants usually make the best posts! I did the cutting yourself off from fun completely one and it made me TOTALLY miserable. Saving more is a good goal to have but not at the cost of deferring actually living

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