One of My Biggest Money Mistakes
It’s Monday and I think I am going to go a little personal today. The purpose of Debt Roundup is to show you that we are all human and we make mistakes. We also have to learn from those mistakes and grow. If we don’t, then we are going to make the same mistakes over and over again. I don’t know about you, but I don’t like to repeat failure. I only like to repeat my successes. On that note, I want to share one of my biggest money mistakes. I would say it is embarrassing, but stuff happens and I just learn how to deal with it.
Fresh Out of College and Big Paychecks
When I was fresh out of college, I already had a job lined up. I got an internship prior to graduating and was offered a job when I got out. That was awesome for me and I enjoyed that first job. It taught me a lot about the professional world and how college really doesn’t get you ready for it. Either way, I was really enjoying getting those steady paychecks. The one problem is that this job only paid me once a month. I had never been paid that way before, so it was new for me. I never budgeted a day in my life and was never ready to deal with a monthly paycheck.
When you get out of college and you start getting four figure paychecks, your mind might start to wander. I know mine surely did and it ended up being one of my biggest money mistakes.
A Random Radio Ad and My Wandering Mind
One morning on my way to work, I heard a radio ad for a huge sale at a local motor sports dealership. One dream of mine was to own a Jetski. I have ridden a few in my years and loved being on the water and having the power. Well, for some reason, this radio ad spoke to me. You want to know why? Of course you do…..
The only thing that I heard in the entire radio ad was the low monthly payment of only $69 and I could own a Jetski. It would be mine and I could take it to the lake each and every weekend. How exciting this could be? This is what was going on in my head. I mean, I was making big money right out of college, right?
When I got to work, I jumped online and started researching the deal and the Jetski that I wanted. I probably didn’t work much that day, but it was a Friday. I was super excited. All of the cool bells and whistles for only $69!! I was going to get my dream and only a month out of college. Awesome! I even called my wife and told her. She really didn’t seem to care much, but she was a little hesitant. Oh well, she would love it once I brought it home, right?
The Deal and the Excitement
I left work that day and drove over to the motor sports dealership. I walked around in there for about an hour just admiring all of the toys. I was like a little kid in a candy store. I love anything with an engine. It has been this way for years and that is one reason why I have a project vehicle in my garage right now.
After the hour, I found the watercraft that I wanted to bring home with me. The salesman approached to see if I needed help and of course I said yes. Here comes the sales process.
The salesman was a really nice person and asked all of the right questions and I thought I had all of the right answers. I knew how much I was making and knew that I could easily afford the $69 a month. That was nothing in my eyes. We started working on the paperwork and after an hour, I was ready to sign the paperwork.
Do you see that number there? Yeah, that is how much a new Jetski costs with a trailer. But, does that matter when you only have to pay $69 a month? Hell
no, wait, yes it does. It makes all the difference in the world. The salesman explained the deal to me and apparently I didn’t really want to listen.
The $69/month promo was only the minimum payment. That is the least amount that they allowed you to pay on the loan. This minimum payment was only good for 3 years. Once that time was up, then you would be assessed a minimum payment that is calculated on how much you owe, kind of like a credit cards. I was so excited about the Jetski that I didn’t want to listen to this man. I knew that I could pay off the $10,000 in 3 years. That was easy…..or so I thought!
In the beginning of the purchase, I was loving my Jetski. I thought I was the cool kid on the block. I was just out of college and had one of the coolest toys. All of my friends wanted to go to the lake each weekend and ride it. So cool….
I really enjoyed those times out on the lake and when we took it to the beach. I had some good times on that Jetski. That all ended when the 3 year promo deal expired. The 3 years came and went and I only paid the $69 each and every month. In the 3 years, I had only paid off $2,484. Yep, I still owed over $7,500 after paying toward the loan for 3 years. How depressing.
The next day of the 3 year mark, I received an email telling me that my promo was over. Now, I was going to have to pay a larger minimum payment and interest on the loan. Crap! My minimum payment jumped to nearly $200 a month and I wasn’t prepared. You remember that I wasn’t running a budget and it was catching up to me. I had started racking up major charges on my credit card to fund my e-commerce business and I was only paying attention to the minimum payments. Stupid, just plain stupid.
I was in trouble.
Another issue was that I slowly stopped using the Jetski. I used it a lot during the first few years, but then that usage started to go down. It sat in my garage and didn’t get turned on much. I just didn’t have time because of my business. I still owed money on the loan and I was getting tired of paying that money.
Time to Sell
I realized that time had come to sell the Jetski. It just wasn’t a good investment and I needed to get the loan off of my back. Luckily for me, I have a brother that lives down near the beach and that is a great place to sell a Jetski. I called up my brother and asked him to help me. He said he would be happy to. I then took my Jetski down to the beach and just waited to hear back from my brother.
Months passed and I heard nothing. Many people had looked at it, but no one wanted to purchase it. I guess in 2009, it just wasn’t a good time to sell something like a personal watercraft. Something with the economy or something ;).
I finally received a call from my brother when I was in West Virginia camping. I couldn’t answer it because I didn’t have service, but he left a message. I got it once we got to a place that had service. He told me that the Jetski was not running properly. It was broken. Double Crap!
I told my brother to give it to a person he knew that was good with fixing this watercraft. His buddy then passed it on to another person that was a specialist for my brand. After hearing that it was going to cost $800 to fix the craft and I approved, I heard nothing else. The person that had my watercraft kept it for well over a year. He was one of those shifty business people that just takes money and doesn’t provide a service. After emails and calls were exchanged, my brother and I drove to his business. We knew we were going to be in for some trouble once we got there. This man was just uneducated and created terrible stories about why he didn’t fix the problems.
This man was just terrible. I asked him for a refund because he didn’t fix the problem and it appears the didn’t even work on the Jetski. He just kept it outside, uncovered and let it rust. He then blamed me for the rust problems and I told him sternly that I only kept it in the garage and my brother did as well. Just more stories. The man ended up forcing us to leave his property, but I made sure to take the Jetski with me. It was still broken and there were parts missing. It just ended poorly.
Long Story with a Crappy Ending
If you have stuck around to the end of this post, then I want to let you know what happened. After trying unsuccessfully to sue the man and realizing that he had nothing to his name and his business wasn’t even licensed, I realized that I wasn’t getting my $800 back. Now I have a broken and rusty Jetski that used to be worth thousands. Now, it is worth nothing. I was pissed and I still owed about $5,000 on the loan because of how long it took to get it back. My only option after looking to see how much it would cost to fix was to sell it for what I could.
I put the Jetski up on Craigslist and had it sold in less than 4 hours. Yes, just 4 hours and you know why?
I sold it for only $800!
Yep, I had multiple people ask about it and come see it in the same day that I posted it. It was crazy, but people were only offering me about $300 for it. I mean,it didn’t work and no one knew what the problem was. It was also missing some key components. Then a man came and offered me $700. I told him that if he could do $800 and if so, then he could have it. Done and Done!
The man took that huge money mistake off my hands and then I had to come to the realization that I would have to just pay off the loan over time and have nothing to show for it. What a way to go.
I felt like an idiot after I sold my Jetski. It was a purchase that never should have happened. I saw money coming in and I was partaking in lifestyle inflation. I was being a stupid consumer and the only thing I had to show for it was a bruised ego and a nice loan. Terrible. Buying the Jetski was one of my biggest money mistakes that I will always remember. My wife and I still joke about it to this day. She makes fun of me for getting it and I laugh, because that is all that I can do.
Well, thanks for sticking around for this huge post. I just went through it on this one. So, what is one of your biggest money mistakes?
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