I have made many, many, many money mistakes in my life. More than I care to admit too.

I have racked up credit cards, bought clothes I did not like, a few too many pets, and saving money was not a priority the first few years. Unfortunately none of those top my worst and most embarrassing money mistake.

In 2013 I just had my first child. I was desperate to have “my own thing”. I was only 19 and was struggling with an identity crisis. Looking back now I know it was post-partum depression.

I had a passion for photography and was determined to make a business out of it. I did not want to take portraits like every other stay at home mom though. I decided to combine my passion for sports and photography and to do high school sports picture and sell them to parents.

I felt the only way I could do this was by purchasing a lens that was way out of my price range. Before even going to investigate if I could make money in this field I went out and purchased a $1700 lens for my crap camera.

Within weeks I had gone to a few local sports games taking pictures, telling parents about it, and getting my card out as much as I could. I posted the pictures online, sent out links, and waited.

Parents are not going to buy amateur pictures of their child playing sports when they can just take pictures with their phone. The business idea failed and all I was left with was the $1700 worst money mistake I have made.

Here is how you learn from my mistake…

1. Not Looking At Price Tags When Shopping

“However if I spotted something I liked I would hold it up against myself, find my size, try it on in the fitting rooms, fall in love with the item, decide this was the item of clothing that would make my dreams come true and change my life and only then would I check the price tag. And of course by that point I had to have the item because I was already imagining how much more improved my life would be with this dress (or other item)

This procedure happened with everything out shopping. As you can imagine I brought A LOT.

Luckily due to the ‘if you can’t pay cash for it you can’t afford it’ mentality my parents instilled I never went into debt for this habit. I just spent all my money instead. Great.” –Well & Wealthy

2. Take Out A Mortgage For As Much As You Qualify For

“Why don’t you want to take out a loan for as much as you qualify for? Because it is misleading. Most banks look at your gross income to determine how much house you can afford. But lots of things happen between your gross income and your net income.

Taxes, insurance and retirement savings are just a few. So while a $1,000 monthly payment on a gross monthly income of $2,500 looks good, when you see that what gets deposited in your checking account is $1,800 things suddenly don’t look so rosy.” – Money Smart Guides 

3. Not Saving For Retirement

“Putting off saving for your future is a common problem. It is so very far away, and there is so much to spend money on now. We tend to place a higher value on short-term than long-term benefits, even when we know the long term is more important.

Another obstacle is lack of money. Many young adults feel like they can’t save enough to make a difference. But saving even a little bit matters, especially early in your career. That’s because time is on your side. You have plenty of years for the power of compounding to work for you.” – Fidelity

4. Not Completing Your Emergency Fund

“At the very least, you should aim to have an emergency fund with three months’ worth of living expenses. Amassing enough to cover six months of expenses would be even more ideal and would give you a dose of added protection. Fail to put some money in the bank, and you’ll have no choice but to resort to credit card debt should you lose your job, fall ill, or encounter a whopper of a bill that your regular paycheck can’t cover. And that could set the stage for a pretty bad year, financially speaking.” – The Motley Fool

5. Not Doing The Math Before You Take Out Student Loans

“Considering grad school? Have a teenager who’s heading to college? Whether you or someone dear to you is planning to take out student loans, you should beware of one of the biggest pitfalls that CFPs® see: A lot of people take on huge student loan debt without knowing what their monthly payments will be when they graduate. This is especially common among people attending grad school programs that promise graduates high salaries. Be aware: Anyone who takes on a $100,000 loan, and pays 6.8% interest on it, will be paying about $1,100 a month toward that loan–for ten years.” – LearnVest

Do you have money mistakes that you regret? Share below (if comfortable)!

Sarah Betty is creator & owner of The TopKnot Life an online resource for the getting-stuff-done women who don't have the time or energy to research. She is the mother who does better research than the FBI.


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