Bad Money Decisions


We’ve all made poor decisions with our money.  Our ability to admit it simply proves that we’re human and still sucking air.  I know that I’ve made some brilliant mistakes – putting off student loan payments, delaying savings, keeping my first home as a rental and then subsidizing 2+ years worth of mortgages all come to mind but none can top my all-time absolute worst financial decision.

I’ve actually never before spoken these words and as further proof of Colin’s ‘say it out loud’ philosophy, this one just sounds stupid.  And with the duly noted risk of losing credibility in this forum, here goes…

I once purchased a used motorcycle for $14,000 by using a credit card cash advance.

At that price and at that time it was a good deal and the rate was low…blah, blah, blah.  The fact is that I had the allusion of a paid for Harley simply because I had a clean title in hand.  But that ignored the fat credit card balance in my other hand.  This was simply not a smart move.

For the record, I do still have the bike and riding it remains one of my favorite things but there are now and were then other bikes, not to mention time to save and pay cash.  Instead I felt entitled and impatient and present my resulting decision as a bad example for all.

Photo By: Alicia… of Dave and his toy!

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This article has been featured in the blog carnival – Carnival of Money Stories hosted by Prime Time Money

Category: Personal Finance

14 thoughts on “Bad Money Decisions

  1. I suppose it all depends on how you look at it. What was the interest rate of the cash advance on your card? How did that compare to a loan that you could have gotten from a credit union?

    Hey, at least it was used, right? If you enjoy having it and you get some satisfaction from it then it isn’t all bad. Okay, I’m trying to make you feel better. It definately isn’t the end of the world. At least you learned something from your mistake, as I did with my stupid financial decisions.’s last blog post..An Experiment in Reducing Food Waste

    • Dave Ozment on said:

      Yeah I certainly learned from the experience… and I still greatly enjoy the bike even today. But I know that I carried that balance around for a long time and because the purchase of the bike was such a huge amount for a single credit card I just became more numb to piling more and more on top. I think I had this card above 21k when I finally said “enough”.

      To be completely honest… I know that I’d never make that kind of move again…………. but there’s a little part of me that hears the throaty roar of the bike and is kinda glad I made the mistake when I did!

    • Dave Ozment on said:

      That is a very good point… I do enjoy the bike and it is a blast to ride! In fact, I have a ride scheduled with my dad this coming weekend! I suppose now that I’ve actually paid for it, I don’t feel so bad about having and riding it!


  2. I haven’t made many huge money mistakes, but little ones (buying gas and groceries on a credit card when we were broke) can sure ad up.

    I got a $130 speeding ticket the other day and was quite annoyed — what a way to throw away money!

    Maria @ Residual Income Web’s last blog post..Record Passive Income Day

    • Dave Ozment on said:

      You are so right…. sometimes the smaller ones are more deadly because they are the most innocent and easiest to rationalize… but they sure do add up.

      Ha, speeding tickets are also perfect little budget busters too…. I’ve certainly experienced those over the years!

      Thanks for sharing!

  3. PT Money on said:

    Nice story, Dave. One of my stupid mistakes was using extra student loan funds to buy one of those suped-up, double-walled softball bats. I hit my first career home run that year, but I’m still paying off those loans. That trot around the bases is one I’ll never forget though.

    Nice looking bike. Looking forward to sharing your story in the Carnival of Money Stories next week.

    PT Money’s last blog post..Are You Obsessed with Money?

    • Dave Ozment on said:

      Ha, I bet when you recall that trot its like the scene in the Natural with the scoreboard exploding and sparks flying!

      Thanks and looking forward to the Carnival next week!


  4. Brandon on said:

    Been there, done that, and got the T-shirt.

    Great post Dave, thanks for being candid about your personal financial life. We all make those types of moves for all the wrong reasons, but I’m glad you still have the bike. It didn’t hurt you enough that you had to fire sale it or anything! Keep enjoying it for years to come, that will bring your average cost per unit of personal enjoyment down significantly!

    Brandon’s last blog post..April Blog Income Report

    • Dave Ozment on said:

      Yeah, it’s really a funny story with the bike…. it was a bad decision but it also was a mental hurdle that originally kept me from really listening to Dave Ramsey. Somehow I just knew he’d tell me to sell the bike. But I sucked it up and started listening… I applied his percentages relative to income and vehicles and I was ok so I exhaled a little. I could have still sold the bike but when I figured what it would bring against my monthly snowball it didn’t make much difference.

      Now that I’m on the other side of most of my non-mortgage debt – I’ll kill the rest once I land a job – I’m glad I have the bike. It is a blast and one of my favorite things to do and enjoy…. but it’s also a reminder of how I need to remain in more control over my spending!

      Thanks for commenting! I always love the dialogue.

  5. Money Funk on said:

    Darn, I was hoping I had a pic online to show you of the one my husband bought himself with a 2nd on the house. It’s a Custom Soft Tail… extremely nice. But, it was still a bad purchase regarding the finances. But, all the men friends were having one built and he wanted to join in on the fun. ha! Now the boys are onto boats… Needless to say, I had to put my foot down on that one. We’re still paying on that $25K Custom. :)

    Money Funk’s last blog post..(Near) No Spend Month Project

    • Dave Ozment on said:

      Wow. sounds like a great bike! He certainly went all out with the custom job. I hope he’s still enjoying it. While buying mine was a poor decision tactically, it remains one of my favorite things to do. I guess that’s worth something now that I’m out from under the debt.

      Thanks for sharing… and perhaps you’ll have to post and link a pic of the bike!

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