How I Lost $40,000 Due to Sheer Laziness

I took a look back at the last ten years of my life and documented my biggest money mistakes.  Many of these were due to simple laziness or ignorance on my part.  I share them with you today.  Do any apply to you?

1. Paying too much for my home mortgage loan

Condos

My home mortgage interest rate was 5.2% per year.  Had I refinanced earlier, I could have saved a lot. But my parents had an even better idea.  They were looking for a safe place to put their retirement money, and proposed the idea of loaning the money to me.  So instead of paying a bank, I paid my parents. I get a great interest rate, and they get way better interest rate than any bank can give.  If only we had thought of this years ago! Total loss = $10,000

Many of my friends are paying way too much for student loans. We just re-financed my wife’s student loans with an amazing 1.95% APR, saving $1000 month in interest payments!

2. Not planning the family estate

I had no clue about estate planning or why it was important until my Dad passed away. I found out that he was on the title to my condo, and it was done in a way that made it necessary to go into probate. At that time I didn’t even know what that word meant, but now I do. Basically, my property was tied up for a year (not able to sell it for that time; thankfully I didn’t need to), and our family had to pay $10,000 in legal fees to clear it up. This could have been avoided had I had our lawyer look over the title deed to my property before my Dad passed away. Total loss = $10,000.

3. Not investing enough

notepad

It’s easy to beat yourself up in hindsight about investing.  Yes, I do have a diversified portfolio now, but I had way too much money in cash for a long time.  During the crash of 2008, I was very thankful for NOT having so much money in the stock market, but now it looks kind of dumb. Even if I had put that money in conservative bonds, I would have made thousands of dollars on it.Total loss = $5000

4. Having an expensive-to-maintain car

BMW

Yes, BMW’s are nice and fun to drive, but when it comes to repairs, you’d better have your wallet ready.  I had my cooling system konk out on the freeway, costing a fortune.  I had a nagging engine oil leak. I have James Bond-esque runflat tires that cost $200 each to replace.  I figure I paid five grand more in car repair costs than what a more reasonable car would have cost.  I could have had a kickass vacation to Bavaria for that much money. Total loss = $5000

5. Using COBRA instead of private health insurance

When I quit my corporate job, I went on to COBRA health insurance without looking at private insurance costs.  COBRA was supposed to be a benefit, right?  I actually dreaded the day when COBRA would run out.

But after it ran out, I was forced to shop for private insurance. I found out that COBRA was actually really expensive, over $200 more than private insurance! Total loss = $3900.

6. Not shopping for car insurance

2017 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE

I find shopping for insurance to be about as exciting as watching paint dry, so I never did it. Only after I moved to a different city and was forced to get new car insurance did I realize how much I was overpaying. Doh! Total loss = $3000

7. Not buying generic items at the grocery store

I don’t buy many groceries, or else this figure would be much higher. Out of simple laziness, I would always buy my favorite name brands at the grocery store, when the generic is often the exact same thing. Total loss = $700

8.  Having cable TV for too long

Cable TV Remote

When I moved to the East Coast, my cable TV bill went up big time.  I tolerated it for a year, but then when they raised it over 10%, I said “enough is enough” and experimented with free broadcast TV.  After I did that, I realized I should have dumped expensive cable TV a long time ago. Total loss = $1100

9.  Having a landline for too long

Land line

Of course, I got rid of my landline a while ago, but I probably had it for a few years longer than I needed to. It was only $20 per month.  I kept it “just in case”, and because I was too lazy to cancel it.  But the only people who called me on it were telemarketers. Total loss = $480

10. Buying crap I didn’t need

Punching Bag

I am pretty good about not spending money on frivolous stuff, but I could always do better. I think we could all benefit by asking “do I really need this badly?” before buying things.  My biggest culprits were sports/exercise equipment, clothing, and music equipment. I recently cleaned out my closet and found several expensive items that I had never worn, not even once!! Total loss = hundreds of dollars

So, there you have it!  I tallied almost $40,000 in lost money over the past decade due to laziness, ignorance, not shopping for better deals, or not canceling services that I didn’t need.  What kind of things do you wish you hadn’t spent money on over the past ten years? – Brian


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3 Comments

  1. Good one !!! Just to add a few of mine

    1. Never pay the full ticket price while going to movies. AAA/Costco sell reduced priced tickets for many major theater chains or just get a MoviePass subscription.

    2. Do not go for well known mobile services (AT&T, Verizon, Sprint etc.). I moved from AT&T to CricketWireless and didn’t find much of a difference in service. AT&T used to cost to $50 per month. With Cricket, it’s down to $30. Same with MetroPCS.

    3. Always bring home cooked lunch to work. You can easily cut down $250 and it’s much better for your health too.

    4. Do not rent apartments with luxury amenities like swimming pool, club house etc. There is a good chance that you would never use them but still pay the high rent.

    5. Always keep an eye on recurring expenses. They might seem small but add up quite quickly. Most banking apps provide some sort of a expense chart and it’s a good practice to check them periodically.

  2. I have a friend who told me he lost $50,000 due to laziness. He had an expensive couch but didn’t have room in his new apartment for it, so he put it in storage for $400/month. He left it there for ten years before dealing with it. That’s $48,000 in storage fees!