Even experts will occasionally make a mistake, or do something that is contrary to their teachings. Sometimes this transgression leads to the downfall of the expert, and others it is just a footnote that is humorous. We’ll get to that one a little later.

First, an update on my friend with the car problem. LAST WEEK I told you about a friend who made several mistakes in the purchase of a vehicle.  I talked to my friend again over the weekend, and he was able to unwind the deal.  Essentially, he came out ahead.  He was able to use the car for a couple of weeks for free.  Now he has his money back and the seller has his car back.  My friend learned a few lessons with this transaction, and has stated that he will be smarter in the future.  Score one for the good guys!

Secondly, I consider myself to be a fairly shrewd consumer.  I rarely fall for gimmicks or shiny distractions.  Last week was one of those times where I fell for the gimmick.

I bought a CD on Amazon of a comedian that my wife and I enjoy.  His music is pretty explicit, but for adults I think he is pretty funny.  When I was placing my order, I got to the checkout and they said if I ordered something like $6.00 more, I could get free shipping.  Who can resist free shipping, right?  So I ordered a DVD of a web series that I really enjoyed.  I got my free shipping, and two items that I really wanted.  Then I saw that the shipping would have been about $3.00 give or take.  Arrgh!  The got me!

Now let’s look rationally at what happened:  I bought two items that I probably would have bought anyways.  I saved about three dollars.  Is it a little frustrating that I fell for the trap?  Sure, but there are bigger deals in the world.  I personally don’t think falling for this is anything more than a humorous footnote to a long history of doing the “right” thing.

What’s the lesson here?  From time to time, you will make financial mistakes.  Just like every dieter cheats occasionally, and just like people who are trying to kick any habit, you will slip up.  You have the choice of letting a one-off define your future, or of laughing it off and realizing that you probably shouldn’t fall for that one again.  Too often, young people come to me and throw their hands in the air in frustration because they made a mistake and feel that they can’t overcome the mistake.  This is rarely true.  Mistakes will happen.  Worry when you keep making the same mistake after recognizing that a mistake has been made.  Don’t worry about isolated incidents, or even a pattern that you have successfully broken.  Life is too short.

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  1. Crgslst d says:

    Thank you for yet another great post. I have become a big fan of your blog, keep it up

    • Wil says:

      Thank you!

      Hopefully this is reaching the people that will benefit most from it. Based on several anecdotal stories, it seems like it is.

  2. Awesome. Hahaha. By the way, Sephora got me over the weekend. Same thing. 🙂 I added $10 I wanted but didn’t need, to save $7 in shipping. And the whole thing started because I was offered a free full-size product I wanted but didn’t need, with a $25 order. So really, I spent $57 on stuff I wanted but didn’t need. 🙂

    • Wil says:

      Wow, now I don’t feel so bad! So just to be sure, how much of that $57 were you originally planning on spending? Also, at the end of the day, did you feel bad about spending money on something you wanted, even though it was more than you planned?

  3. Finance For Youth: The Wife says:

    Ok you got a few facts wrong on that humorous footnote.

    1. If you spent an additional $10, you got free shipping.
    2. The additional purchase cost $10.49.
    3. The shipping would have cost about $2, so really you spent an extra 8 bucks to “save on shipping”.
    4. Your wife was the one that fell for it, but being the chivalrous husband you are, you took the blame so others can learn.


    • Wil says:


      Of course whether I fell for it or my wife fell for it, two professionals should have seen that one coming! The important thing to remember is that I didn’t fall for it!

      But seriously, it could have just as easily been me, and we all do this occasionally.

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