debt debs

Personal Debt Wrangler – Had my money head in the sand – but no more!

Financial Mistakes of the Worst Kind


financial-mistakes-debt-debsThe way I handle our finances today is night and day to what we did before. So much so, that I even have a hard time remembering some of the financial mistakes we made. It’s probably because I push bad memories from my consciousness. It’s a coping mechanism.

So before I completely forgot everything, I thought I would try to document the things I do remember about the worst financial mistakes we made that got us into $394K of debt.

You read that right folks! So now I would like to walk you through things we would do over, if reliving our experience. Hang on for the ride!!

To read more please go to my guest post on Frugal Rules.


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Author: debster

I am a fifty-something wife, mother and new grandmother, who admits to having their “head in the sand” about their financial situation until amassing $247,500 worth of consumer debt for a total debt of $393,500. We've paid $121K in 2 years with four more years to go. Join my journey at sharing ideas and motivation to all those coping with poor money management and bad debt decisions.

28 thoughts on “Financial Mistakes of the Worst Kind

  1. Wow, what a post Deb! It sounds like you have definitely learned from all of these financial mistakes, and now you’re getting back on track. My mistake has been not saving when I was younger. I’m 30, and I don’t have retirement savings at this point!
    Lauren recently posted…5 Reasons to Start a Blog TodayMy Profile

    • Thanks for sharing your mistake, Lauren. Have you got a plan to start? Sometimes that’s the hard part.

  2. Learning from our mistakes is such a powerful thing. Those who do will get ahead. Those who don’t, likely will fall further behind!

    Jay @ recently posted…Why I’m Not Frugal (Sometimes)My Profile

    • Yes, we fell behind because we didn’t learn, until we hit rock bottom. Now it’s no where but up. Thanks for commenting, Jay.

  3. I dont like to think of the bad things either. It stresses me out.
    the spunky banker. recently posted…is there an app for that?My Profile

    • Sometimes we have to face the music and we’re better off in the long run. From my experience, we usually build it up to be bad before you start, and once you start addressing it, the stress dissipates. Even if it turns out to be worse than you think, you are that much better off with the steps you have taken to start addressing, than if you had not taken those steps at all. In fact, knowledge is power, and without it you may be stepping backwards, without even realizing it. Good luck taking any steps you may need to take, Spunky!

  4. I also tend to push mistakes out of my mind as a coping mechanism. Loved your post on Frugal Rules! You’ve made some mistakes, but you are living to tell the tale and get yourself out. My biggest mistake was not starting to save for retirement earlier (I have about 2k and am 29) and also going to grad school sometimes seems pointless. But maybe it worked out, because I talk about debt and now write about it? I learned to write better in grad school? I don’t know, some mistakes have their silver linings, too.
    Melanie @ Dear Debt recently posted…Reader Survey + GiveawayMy Profile

    • Once something is done, and if you think it was a mistake, all you can do is learn from it. So if you think you should have saved more for retirement, fine, but the real question is how can you save as much as you can for retirement now. All you can do is go forward.

      Melanie, I have a daughter your age and she’s planning to go back to school next fall. Sometimes I worry about the extra debt she will be taking on, but it is her dream and I think it is in a field that she will prosper from (she’s a nurse and is going for her Nurse Practitioner). If I didn’t think it was a good move then I would try to talk her out of it. Any thoughts from your experience with post graduate studies?

  5. Wow, that’s a lot of debt and such an inspiring story!

  6. Yikes! That is a scary story. Paying off that much money in only 2 years is an incredible feat, though!
    Alexandra recently posted…August Wrap-Up, Plans for SeptemberMy Profile

  7. Glad to know I’m not the only one pushing 400k of debt. Let’s knock those bad boys out!
    Cat @ Budget & the Bees recently posted…The Buzz Around the Web #1My Profile

  8. My biggest financial mistake actually has a lot more to do with time than money. We bought a house that requires a lot of DIY projects, which obviously takes time. I’m now constantly struggling to find time to work on my side hustles and do home projects. One of those is hard enough, but having two going on is REALLY difficult.

    Oh, and thanks for being open about your mistakes as well!
    DC @ Young Adult Money recently posted…Is Public Transit Worth the Hassle?My Profile

    • Yes, DC, I totally understand. It’s a lot to juggle. I see some of you guys doing this, you and Grayson and MrCBB (plus he’s about to throw a kid into the mix as well!). Ay-yi-yi! I find juggling work, blogging and freelancing a lot. My house maintenance and cleaning is suffering. Well The Irishman mostly does the house maintenance but I have to supervise and give him his list. he he ;-) Thanks for dropping by on Labour Day Monday!

  9. Thanks for sharing this story Deb. It’s a wake up call for myself and am sure countless others but what’s even more inspiring is how you have learned and are applying the lessons and getting out of debt.
    Am in my early twenties and already on a rather slippery debt slope…reading this though…I need a 360 turn on my lifestyle! Thanks.
    Simon recently posted…Using Your Financial Savvy to Help OthersMy Profile

  10. Firstly, I have to say that I love the squirrel on the top of your blog. Secondly, it’s amazing that you go into (and then out of) nearly $400k of debt! Congrats on your great success. Clearly, you have learned from these experiences – and I appreciate you sharing them with the rest of us. I will certainly aim to keep my retirement funds in my 401k.

    Again, thanks for sharing!
    Rob @MoneyNomad recently posted…How to Live Like a King on a Pauper’s BudgetMy Profile

    • Thanks, Rob. It’s been quite the journey and it’s ain’t over yet, but at least we are on the right road! Thanks for visiting and commenting.

  11. Treat every financial mistake good. It teaches us a lesson indeed and what we need to do is learn and apply it in the same experience we had before. By doing it, we divert ourselves away from committing the same mistakes again.
    Jayson @ Monster Piggy Bank recently posted…Considerations when Getting a Personal LoanMy Profile

  12. Wow, that number seems huge on paper. I bet you learned a lot of good lessons along the way. Thanks for sharing them with us. I know I always like to hear other peoples experiences.
    Debt and the Girl recently posted…On Running Out of Steam…My Profile

    • Thank you, Natalie. It is huge and that’s why it’s taking us 6 years to get out of debt, but it will be done!

  13. Deb,

    Thanks for sharing a painful situation, but giving us hope in how one can overcome such obstacles, one step at a time. It starts with the mindset.

    As I was reading your story, I was reminded of a description of the constant deficit spending that you were embarked on in the past. In essence, when you spend on credit, you are spending someone else’s money for pleasure and satisfaction today. The someone else is your future self, who must eventually repay the debt.

    Likewise is our government’s deficit spending. They are buying government programs today on the dollars they anticipate our children and grandchildren will pay in future taxes – absolutely awful!


    • That’s a great way of looking at it, John. I really like that! Ugh, and yes the government deficits make me cringe too. Now that I have a grandchild, I think about this stuff often. I was happy to hear on the radio yesterday almost has their deficit balanced, but that doesn’t mean the debt is wiped out. We think that is not even passing if we look at our personal situations. Why is it acceptable for governments to work this way?