As I alluded to in my Spendy McSpender post, before discovering the Financial Independence movement I could be pretty shitty with money.
Unfortunately, throughout my 20’s, it could be said, I was a bit of a Dumb White Girl with money. I didn’t value it as much as I should have; and I wasn’t as smart as I should have been with it.
I now regret that in my 30’s, but unfortunately I can’t turn back time.
I’ve been reflecting on these regrets lately and I thought I would shame myself into not making the same mistakes in the future by publicly admitting to some of the dumbest things I’ve wasted money on. So, here goes…
Buying $20 4 packs of beer as a uni student
As a University student, I was considered “rich”. This was because I had an academic scolarship and part-time job, which meant my income was substantially higher than most of my peers.
As I wasn’t a struggling student, I didn’t have to scrape together $10 at the end of the fortnight for a night’s worth of $2 drinks.
Instead, I would buy 4-packs of Boags St George, which was an expensive craft beer in the days when craft beer wasn’t really a thing.
These 4-packs would cost me $20 each. That’s $120 for a carton of beer back in the days when normal cartons of beer cost $30-$35!
Buying fuel at BP to earn velocity points
A few years back Virgin Australia’s Frequent Flyer Program, Velocity, added BP Service Stations to its repertoire of businesses you can earn Velocity points through. The deal was for consumers to earn 2 Velocity points per $1 spent at BP.
At the time, I thought this was a great idea. So, I started to shop exclusively with BP just to earn the Velocity points. In doing so, I didn’t pay attention to how much the petrol I was buying actually was in comparison with competitors.
This was incredibly stupid and short-sighted because, well, from my general observations, BP usually isn’t the cheapest option around. For example, on my fill up last week, my local BP was 18 cents more per litre of standard unleaded than its nearest competitor. This equals a $9 difference on my 50 litre fill up!
Alternatively, using a return trip to Sydney as an example, I figured out that the 100 Velocity points I would have earned through BP would be worth $1.19. So, $1.19 v $9.00 of value in the one shop… Not much of a competition I say!
Buying eco-friendly products at an insanely inflated price
As an environmentalist with sensitive skin, I’ve been using natural cleaning, washing and toiletry products for years. However, I used to go to eco-shops to buy these products, which is a big mistake.
To compare prices between the eco-shops and my homemade cleaners, let’s have a look at my laundry powder and all-purpose spray:
- My homemade natural laundry powder I make costs me $3 a kilo… I used to pay $12!
- My homemade all-purpose spray costs me $0.15 per 500ml, I used to pay $5!
.. You get the picture!
Buying $60 bottles of Grey Goose for “drinking” events
I got the point where, apparently, I was so flushed with cash, that I could afford to buy $60 bottles of Grey Goose vodka for gatherings where the whole bottle would be consumed at a rapid pace across one night.
Meanwhile, my saving rate at this time was 5%… This is clearly an example of Lifestyle Creep in full swing!
Refusing to drink cheap beer without tasting it because it was cheap
My parents have a tendency to drink XXXX and ALDI branded beer. These brands are hugely popular, partly because they’re cheap.
On principal alone, I outright refused to drink this beer when I visited my parents and would buy a 6 pack of craft beer to drink instead… I now just drink whatever is going, because free is free!
Spending 3x as much to fly business class on a 3 hour flight
As I’ve spoken about before, for my 30th Birthday, we splashed out on a nice trip to New Zealand for a week.
As we were at the height of Lifestyle Creep at the time, I thought it justified to fly business class for part of the trip. So we booked business flights for the flight to New Zealand and economy class on the way back.
As we had gold frequent flyer status, we were already privy to pre-flight lounge access, as well as priority boarding and express check-in. This meant that the benefits of flying business class only started when we were on board.
As it turned out, business class wasn’t all that it was cracked up to be in my mind. Our benefits included a slightly more comfortable upright seat, a few glasses of wine, cheese and crackers, and one very nice meal (they only had one of the vegetarian options on board, so I ended up with a tasteless economy meal).
Paying three times as much for these very few additional luxuries wasn’t worth it to me then, and certainly isn’t worth it to me now!
Spending $30 on just one sleeve (10 coffees) of pod coffee
Okay, so in my Coffee + Convenience = Stupidity post, I outlined how much having a pod coffee machine was costing us vs having a non-pod coffee machine.
What I didn’t touch on though was the ‘exclusive’ lines Nespresso offers every so often. I once paid $30 for a 10 sleeve of Nespresso pods because they were some fancy smancy exclusive range.
What a bloody idiot! Over $3 a cup for coffee I had to make myself?! Sure it tasted a bit nicer than the regular Nespresso pods, but not cafe quality nice!
Spending $50 USD to use the temporary lounge in Bali airport
On our last trip to Bali, a new Denpasar Airport terminal was being constructed. So, the airport had a temporary lounge operating costing $25 USD per person to get in.
As we walked in, the lady on the reception desk asked us if we wanted to check out the lounge first before paying the fee. But, in my infinite wisdom, I was determined to use the lounge, so I just paid the money and went in…
As it turned out, the “lounge” was a dive and was definitely not worth the money. We had two luke warm cans of beer and a few bits of deep fried crap before cutting our losses and leaving.
Taking my car through the car wash @ $15 each every couple of weeks
Before starting full-time work, I used to take very good care of my car. I used to wash and polish it regularly, ensuring that I kept the paint work in really good condition.
However, when you work full-time and only have two days a week to do all the chores, washing the car slips off the priority list.
So, I started taking our car through car washes once every few weeks because it was easy. However, these car washes cost $15 per wash and required about 20 mins of our time.
After a while, I figured out that I could wash the car myself in the same amount of time, but save on petrol and car washing costs while I was at it…
In my past, I’ve been a Dumb White Girl with money. Plain and simple. However, I have since seen the light and am now smarter with my money.
I hope by pointing out the silly financial decisions I’ve made, you won’t make the same mistakes!