The 9 Biggest Money Regrets of 2017

[I have something a little different for you today. My friends from down under at MOZO have offered to share their 9 biggest money regrets of 2017. I’m sure we can all relate to one or two or well…all these. Check them out!]

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As 2018 draws ever nearer, so does a fresh start for your finances. While nothing soothes the soul quite like a clean slate, it’s often handy to be able to look back on, and learn from, your own financial mistakes and mishaps. Let’s be honest, we’ve all made a few.

Piggy Bank

So to help steer you in the right direction in 2018, our team at financial comparison website Mozo have revealed some of their own biggest money regrets of 2017:

1. Underpaying for wedding photos

“I was naive when I got engaged, thinking I could get my big day captured on camera just to my liking for under $2,500 but little did I know that not spending more would be my biggest money regret of 2017! I now wish I’d paid for a more experienced professional with a candid eye and less cheesy shots in my wedding album!” – Roisin

2. Jumping on Bitcoin (too late)

“At the start of 2017 I finally bit the bullet and invested some money in Bitcoin. While that might not seem like something I’d regret given the current state of the market, I do wish I’d taken the plunge in 2013 when I first looked at investing. The only reason I didn’t was out of sheer laziness, and that certainly stirs up some regret given the price at the time was $130 – roughly one hundred times cheaper than the current price.” – Max

3. Not packing lunch

“I regret not joining my best friend when she asked me on a last minute trip to Cambodia and Vietnam. Looking back I realised that the money I’ve spent buying lunch every day at work this year would have easily covered the trip. That $9.50 a day, $47.50 a week – and $2,470 for a whole year really add up!” – Kelly

Bring Lunch to Work

4. Giving in to impulse buys

“When it comes to spending I feel like I’m a pretty frugal guy, which is why my biggest money regret of 2017 still rankles. I decided to fork out for a fairly expensive set of golf clubs earlier in the year, and it’s safe to say that they’ve seen about as much sunlight as I’ve seen birdies on my scorecard. Next time I’ll give myself a few days to seriously think before making any big ticket purchases.” – Tom

5. Failing to make the switch

“My biggest money regret of 2017 is being lazy about which providers I stayed with. I knew the phone company I’d been with for years wasn’t providing competitive rates, I had the wrong credit card for my spending habits and my health insurance cover was all wrong. This resulted in additional money frittered away every month until I finally made the switch to providers and plans which suited me better.” – Gemma

[Editor’s Note: I feel your pain Gemma. I was overpaying for insurance for years!]

6. Waking up late

“Cars are expensive commodities at the best of times, but they become far more expensive when you keep leaving them in places you’re not supposed to. That’s why my biggest money regret of the year is having to park, where I’m not technically allowed to, at the train station after I’ve hit the snooze button a couple too many times in the morning. After procuring three hefty $185 fines in as many months, it is safe to say I have learned my lesson (I think).” – Ben

7. Getting stung by fees

“Getting my partner to book our overseas family holiday with his credit card is my biggest money regret of the year. The foreign exchange fees added around an extra $300 to the overall cost which I would have much rather spent on a night out in Tokyo taste-testing sake! The upside is that his card does have complimentary travel insurance so at least we didn’t have to fork out money for this.” – Jen

8. Using your heart, not your head

“My biggest money regret of 2017 involved an unnecessary trip to my favourite handbag store. I’m guilty of having a ‘love at first sight’ habit when it comes to shopping, so when I saw the supposedly perfect black tote, I was ready to get down on one knee. So with the bag in one hand and the matching wallet in the other, we were off. Where is that bag now? Collecting dust in the back of my wardrobe because it’s just far too big. Next time, I’ll remember to use my head before I fall in love.” – Ceyda

9. Not going with gut instinct

“Earlier this year I was on holiday in Far North Queensland and I visited a gallery featuring artwork by some local aboriginal artists. I immediately feel in love with a massive black and white dot painting canvas but it had a price tag of $5,000 and I couldn’t bring myself to paying this much. All holiday I thought about it, so when I got home I decided to call the gallery, but of course it had already been sold. It was definitely my biggest money regret of 2017 and I hope that the next time I’ll think more about the years of enjoyment that I would get from having something beautiful like that in my home, than the immediate dent to my bank account.” – Kylie

If any of these regrets sound familiar to you then I hope the Mozo teams’ mishaps can inspire you to give your own money mistakes a miss in 2018. And if you’re looking for some savings inspiration for the new year check out our blog on innovative ways to save.

Kirsty Lamont is a money expert and director at financial comparison website mozo.com.au. She is passionate about helping Australians make better, more informed choices about their finances.

 

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I’m so glad I agreed to this guest post! What a fantastic list. They include some topics that we’ve already discussed and some new ones as well. Here are my takeaways.

You need to have focus:

Shop for the best deals on the services you use. Choose the credit card that gives you the best benefits or lowest costs. Set up a reminder system so you don’t end up with a parking ticket or some other late fee!

Spend on your top priorities:

It doesn’t matter if you care about a painting, traveling or wedding photos (congrats Roisin). The saying “you only live once” is spot on. When something is important to you, figure out a way to afford it and make it happen.

Don’t spend on unnecessary items:

Think hard about how often you are going to use an item before you buy it. Nobody needs to spend big dollars on a handbag or golf clubs that gets used once. If going out to lunch is not important to you, stop doing it!

As for the Bitcoin regret, I’ll leave you with two Warren Buffett quotes:

“Opportunities come infrequently. When it rains gold, put out the bucket, not the thimble.”

If your research shows something is a good investment opportunity, run don’t walk to get started. On the other hand;

“never invest in a business you cannot understand.”

That’s where I fall on this Bitcoin phenomenon. I still don’t understand why a Bitcoin will be worth more tomorrow than it is today. Or what’s stopping them from becoming completely worthless? This is why I’m staying out of this craze no matter how much the value increases. Feel free to answer my questions in the comments. I’d love to learn more.

Thanks again to the staff at MOZO for sharing. Here’s to a Winning 2018 with no money regrets for all of us.

 

17 thoughts on “The 9 Biggest Money Regrets of 2017”

  1. Nice list of items – will definitely check out MOZO.

    Items #5 and #6 stuck out for me.

    In general, not switching providers and waking up late both can have an adverse impact on our bottom line and the outlook of our day. With any of the items listed, I’ve found – at least for me – one poor decision can sometimes lead to another or a double-negative.

    Example: I’m too tired to workout this morning, so I’ll sleep-in. I missed working out but also decide to pamper myself with a larger meal. The same could be said for after work: skip the workout and decide to go out for a few drinks.

  2. Probably my biggest financial mistake in 2017 was trying to do a thesis instead of non-thesis for my master’s. I’m still going to graduate, but two semesters later than I should be. Thankfully work is paying for everything, so I’m not wasting my money, only my time.

    A win for me is making lunches for my wife. She used to buy lunch and we have saved so much money having me pack for her. She loves it, too, so double-win.

    1. It’s a tough calculation to look at. I have not run the details of it. Maybe one day. To figure it out you would need the following. All ownership costs (taxes, repairs, maintenance, loan interest expense). I’d then have to compare them to what I’d have earned (or lost) on my money if it was invested instead of being tied up in home equity. I’d also have to consider what the cost of renting would have been. From a financial perspective, I think that owning was the better financial move for me. If we had rented, we certainly would have moved to a nicer and more expensive place sooner. Sure, the increase in standard of living would have been. Still, we would have ended up worse off financially.

      I own again today. Our reason for buying was to settle down in the suburbs to raise our kids. Owning our home and locking in the cost was important to us considering our plan to stay long term. I did rent in between my condo and my current house.

      I don’t have a strong position between owning and renting. I do think that either can be right based on your situation in life. One thing you risk by renting is not saving enough. The forced savings into home equity through home ownership can build wealth without even thinking about it. The length of time you are going to stay in a home may be the biggest factor between owning and renting.

  3. I like the takeaways! Focus and discipline are key.

    Packing lunch is great and has the added benefit of helping you stay healthy. I used to be extremely strict with my diet and packed lunch and snacks every single day. I felt great, and of course I saved a lot of money. Nowadays I’m much worse with my diet, but I’m fortunate that my employer provides daily lunch! How’s that for a money-saving tip 🙂

    1. The unfortunate side effect of employer provided lunch is that they may expect you to spend each lunch hour working at your desk.

  4. All of these are so relatable! Well, except for the $5k painting one…

    I’m also someone who goes to bed late and wakes up late. I never thought about it, but yes, waking up late has totally cost me money! Like, forgetting to move the car, or having to pay for a cab instead of the subway, or missing my flight entirely (and having to pay fees). Totally avoidable stuff.

    1. Sounds like you should invest in an alarm clock! I’m surprised you can’t relate to the painting. Seems awefully similiar to an expensive t-shirt I’ve seen you write about.

  5. Great list!

    #3 is my favorite of the bunch. I still eat probably atleast 3 PB&J’s a week for lunch. Those $8-10 lunches add up overtime where if that money was saved over the course of a year, that alone could open your finances for more meaningful purchases. Also learning how to cook is ALWAYS a good skill to have in your back pocket.

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