What Is: The Dumbest Thing You’ve Ever Spent Money On?

Fellow PF blogger, Gather Little by Little, has started a running series called, "Share Your Story". Inspired by, of all things, radio talk shows where they post some crazy question and all the nuts come out of the woodwork to chime in.

The first in this series asks, "What is the dumbest thing you've ever spent money on?"

Here comes one nut out of the woodwork...

This is a really tough one for me, because it's typically pretty tough to separate me from my money. I'll go along with a lot, but when the wallet needs to come out, well, that's where the rubber meets the road.

Still a few things do come to mind: a Dave Matthews concert (I have no idea what people see in his live show - not much different than listening to his album with a bunch of frat boys), a bathroom remodel gone awry (tile showers and I do not get along), a $50 home warranty plumber who came out, spent five minutes looking at the problem and said, "Nope, not covered". Those things sure have a way of making you feel dumb.

This one takes the cake though. I knew before hand that it was probably dumb, but youth has a certain optimism about it, doesn't it? I was probably 17 at the time. Summer was approaching and I needed a summer job. I was trying to make a clean break from the low paying jobs of summers' past. I could drive now, was (at least somewhat) intelligent - Why was I doing these grunt jobs? I wanted more. What I lacked in good sense, I made up for with spirit. I was ready to do something.

One day something presented itself to me in the want ads: Work from home, be your own boss, no experience needed - or something like that. Maybe you've seen this before? You likely skipped over it like I did many times. But with so much nothing in the rest of the ads, I decided to try something. I called.

The lady I spoke to could barely be bothered to tell me exactly what it was as she was so busy trying to get my payment information. She was good. Being 17, I had no plastic of any kind. Just a checking account. Good news! They can take a check over the phone. It was $117 or $137 some-odd dollars. I had the money, but for a kid, that was a lot. I gave her the info and she sent the kit out.

A week later, it arrived. To my horror, the 'kit' was little more than a database of local businesses along with the type of work they could outsource to you, along with some info telling you how to start a business (filing a DBA, blah, blah, blah). It was total crap. But I had done it.

The silver lining to the story is that over the next several months, I watched my account very carefully. I was very responsible with my accounts back then - balancing the old check book every single month, saving a large part of the money I made in a separate savings account. The check never cleared - they never charged my account. I'm guessing that they must have gone out of business as I never heard a peep out of them. Still, to me the money was gone - that is until I closed that account a year later. :)


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