Money Memory - Dumb Mistake
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“You only have to do a very few things right in your life so long as you don't do too many things wrong.” Warren Buffett
Significant moments help to shape the people we are today and that got me wondering why I’m a saver and not a spender. We watched Mind Over Money with Nigel Latta the other day on kids and saving and he talked about how beneficial it is to teach children about money early on in life. It got me thinking about the lessons I learned early on in life.
This is one of my significant money memories that influenced me for ever after and hopefully helps me to do things right, more than I do things wrong.
I was aged 16 and my first boyfriend was a big spender. He had a job, whereas I was still in school. Motorbike, car, bicycle, flash clothes (think 1990’s kind of horrendous fashion; OMG we were SO awesome). He had it all and he always bought any new gimmick going. He was a lot of fun to be around.
I never thought to question him about how he afforded it all. He had a job so he was clearly rich.
We were out shopping one day and a conversation went something like this…
Me: Oooo I love that framed picture of a lady sitting in a boat on a lake. She looks so whimsical. The detail is AMAZING. Wow wow WOW. But it costs $150.
Him: Why don’t you buy it?
Me: I have the money but I don’t want to spend it all on that, even though I love it and could imagine it hanging on my wall for the rest of my life. It's soooo amazing!
Him: Why don’t you LAY-BY it. I’ll explain how it works. You only pay a little bit each week. That way you can buy LOTS of different things at the same time instead of spending it all on one thing now.
Me: Wow, what a brilliant concept. So easy, sign me up!
I left the shop with no picture but after putting $10 down and promising to pay a further $10 each week I would be able to take it home... in 14 weeks! What else could I buy now that I still had $140 in my pocket today? Later that evening, when he had left I had this sinking feeling I had just entered into a really dumb transaction. $150 was a lot to spend when I was only 16 and earning $15 a week with my tiny part time job.
9am sharp the next morning:
Me: Hello shopkeeper, I would like to pay off the rest of my picture now please. In full.
I took it home and hung it on the wall but by then all the joy of the spend was gone. And I realised that my boyfriend had a huge amount of stuff, none of which he owned. It was all on tick. For the next ten years I was reminded of my mistake as it hung on the wall of every flat I lived in. I was so sick of looking at that god damned picture of a lady floating in the lake on a boat looking all whimsical that robbed me of $150. So I gave it away.
Clearly, I should have cancelled the transaction and asked for my $10 back from the shopkeeper and walked away. But we all learn lessons differently. Now when I see “pay nothing now, interest free for 48 months” all I can think is that I don’t want to be paying off something (that I probably didn’t need anyway) for the next four years. Whatever that thing was would probably need replacing by then anyway.
I can still remember that picture clearly and whoever would have thought that a simple transaction would have such a profound effect throughout all these years? At any age we can be tempted by the things we think we need today but thankfully for me common sense prevails more often now than it used to. I’m pleased I made my spending mistakes early when things were cheaper!
The price tags of tempting items have risen a considerable amount now. At the Wanaka Show last weekend I was so tempted by a sleep-out/office/spare bedroom for all our visitors. Show special only $9,000K. Delivered. THAT is a bargain right there folks!
See for yourself: www.mounthuttpods.co.nz
What is the dumbest transaction you have entered into that has left a lasting impression? Do share!