Lindsey wrote an awesome post about stupid things she’s wasted money on, and I was inspired to share my story of my one BIG stupid thing.
It was the winter after 9/11. I was activated for Homeland Security at the ripe old age of 19, but I was making the paycheck of an average school principal. Between my base pay, military bonus money, my per diem and the fact that I didn’t have to spend money on rent, I was making too much money for someone my age. Really, it was too much. I didn’t know what to do with it all. I was already spending money on take out lunch and dinner every day, and shopping at the nearby mall every week. But for some reason, I felt that I needed a car.
Now, since I was taking a trip back home to see my family every weekend, I did need a dependable car. One that would get me through the New Jersey storms and the long rides back and forth. The responsible person in me knew that I could find a dependable used car, but the teenager in me wanted a brand new, top of the line car. I was insane.
Did I mention that this was my very first car? I had used Mom and Dad’s whenever I need it during high school and didn’t see a point of getting my own at the time. But, once I had the funds and the quasi-independence, I spent the money. I had no credit, no savings, and champagne tastes. I ended up with a 2002 Honda Civic EX, and paid quite handsomely for it every month.
Now, the car really was a stupid purchase. But the stupidest part is that even with all the money I was making, I didn’t pay off the car. I could have had it paid in full within 6 months and I didn’t. THAT was the stupid part. I had planned to pay triple payments while I was on orders, but lobster, Macy’s and 4 vacations that year got in the way.
Still to this day I think about not only the ridiculous amount of money wasted on the car, but that whole year. It was my most expensive life lesson, but it was the best one to date.
Ignorance is bliss….until you get the bill….