This year (so far) has been a strong one financially for me, but I still make some moves that are of questionable financial nature. In terms of saving for the future, here are my five worst moves so far in 2007 and why they were bad ones. By reflecting on my choices, I can strive to continually improve my personal finances.
We conceived a second child. This child is coming in late September. This is a great personal move, but a terrible financial move: another mouth to feed, clothe, house, and insure. That being said, it’s definitely a move I’m happy with considering the overall picture.
I bought my wife a laptop and a copy of Office 2007. She had an old desktop machine that was still (mostly) functional but it was giving her some headaches, especially since it had started spontaneously powering off and rebooting on occasion. So, on Valentine’s Day, she had a gift on the table: a new Sony Vaio laptop (that she had eyed in the past) plus a copy of the latest version of Office (she uses Word, Excel, and PowerPoint in the classroom). It was expensive and probably not wholly necessary, but my wife was so thrilled I’m actually wondering if she loves her laptop more than me.
Cat food and cat littler. I made a huge error buying these in bulk. Less than two days after buying a huge amount of both (that seemed like a good deal), the brands of both we used cut their prices everywhere a bit, plus the place we buy our supplies also had a huge sale on the items in bulk. I overpaid by about 35% on the bulk purchase. I realize it’s hard to know that such things are going to happen, but looking at prices and realizing I could have saved $50 or more by just waiting two days was painful. Even worse, I could have foreseen this price change had I done a bit of research before buying.
I ate out for breakfast and lunch way too much. I’ve been entertaining a lot of guests recently and thus have eaten meals out with them on a very regular basis, depleting my cash more than I would like. I should just invite some of them in for a home-cooked meal, but that also detracts from the conversation potential.
I bought into an index fund too early. I intended to buy into a broad index fund on the way down, but I got excited and it dropped a little more after I bought it. I still got about a 6% deal off of where the market peaked, however.