Well, when my mom had a stroke in 2004 and had to go to Guatemala to get physical and speech therapy, I very coincidentally got in the mail a pre-approval letter from Citi for a credit card that would help me earn miles. I was thrilled that I could earn miles on my credit card so that I could start getting free trips to Guatemala. Now, that was not the dumb part (yeah….I know!). The dumb part was that this is how I believed the program worked: since Guatemala is only about 2000 miles away from the US, then clearly that’s how many miles (or 4000 if it was round trip) I needed to accumulate to get a free trip! So, as soon as I got the card I started making purchases left and right…..so much that by 2005 when my husband and I got married, I had a $4K or $5K balance! As Dave would say….this was stupid on steroids! Now by the time I got to about 4,000 points I tried to redeem those for a free trip only to be very disappointed when I realized I only qualified for a one year magazine subscription to some random magazine I had no interest in reading.
Now….it’s my husband’s turn. When we got engaged (with a financed engagement ring….which was fully paid a year into our marriage…so you can say I contributed to paying for my engagement ring) one day he called me very excited! Well, he had gotten a “great deal”. He had a received notification in the mail that he had been selected to win two free tickets for a cruise and get this….IT INCLUDED AIR FARE!!!! (yeah…you know where this is going). The whole thing was only going to cost us $1200. I was beyond excited….our first cruise together! Well, we were both in college and in the middle of our fall semester when we got married so we couldn’t take any long trips so we decided to wait till the summer to use our phenomenal trip. Once we were approaching summer we started looking into this fancy, dreamy, once in a lifetime trip he had given a $600 down payment for only to realize it was one of those timeshare deals! I can’ remember the details because this was almost 8 years ago but basically you had to listen to a sales pitch in order to get the trip…..we canceled the trip but were not refunded the $600. Luckily though we had received plenty of student loan money that year so we were able to go to sea world and get VIP seats to dine with Shamu!
Now….this is why it’s so important for our family to teach our children how to make wise financial decisions! The number of stupid things we have done with money is more than we can count (and therefore merit more than one post!) and although we are aware that our children will make their own mistakes, our hope is they can avoid making the same money mistakes!
Stay tuned for more stories on the dumbest money mistakes the #teamvasquezvielman have made!