Monday, February 25, 2008

Two Expensive Mistakes

I have foot-in-mouth disease today. The day after I gushed in public about how the way R. and I split expenses works so well, it turns out the accounts are now balanced in his favor and it's my turn to pay the $200 gas bill. Ick. Perfectly fair, but ick. Clearly, we need to communicate more regularly about finances if I'm going to make accurate budgets.

I also logged into my PayPal account for the first time in months to change my e-mail address. I had $479.78 sitting in there! It has been there for over a year. How was I not aware of this?

Actually, I know exactly why I wasn't aware of this at the time--I was in the middle of a huge and unpleasant fight with a friend, quitting my job, and moving--but there is no excuse for an additional fourteen months of ignorance.

I was very proud of myself for continuing to track monthly how much money is on the international phone card that I rarely use (currently a balance of $25.42), and it turns out I had twenty times that just hanging out in virtual space.

Two questions for readers:

What's your most recent (or most memorable) financial mistake?

Do you keep track of stray pockets of money in online or seldom-used accounts? If so, how?


Denise Mall said...

Hi Elizabeth, I recently found your site and am anxious to see you suceed with your "Rachel".

My most recent and memorable mistake was buying the residential rental.

As far as tracking - I use Quicken and every account is set up and tracked. It is the only way I remember what is what.

moneychallenge said...

Great start to your blog Elizabeth. I too am looking forward to seeing you succeed on this path.

My most recent financial mistake just cost a few dollars but it made me feel really sheepish: I used up a gallon of gas at $3.17/gal in order to save 50cents. Duh! Stupid tax they call it.

As for tracking, I use the account aggregating software at my bank to keep track of all my online accounts. Similar sites are yodlee.com and mint.com Not sure if they track paypal though. Another way is to bookmark all my online accounts under a "money" tab and check them every month when I do bills.

Anonymous said...

My most recent financial mistake (although maybe this is stretching the definition) was not wearing my seat belt as I pulled out of a parking lot. Got hit with a ticket for almost $150.

Good point, moneychallenge, about gas prices. I almost made a drive of 30 miles to renew my vehicle registration in person, rather than pay a $1 mail-in fee.

I guess PayPal is the only "online account" I keep money in. I don't bother tracking it, since I only use it when making the occasional eBay sale. I just make sure I take the money out ASAP and, until then, make a note in the budget that the money is incoming, in case I forget.

Kacie said...

Don't beat yourself up over it! At least you found it at some point...it could have just sat there forever.

Scarlett said...

@dedicated: Thanks! I see you're a fellow Chicagoan. I've always been wary of residential rentals knowing the trouble my father and aunt had with a duplex they used to own.