Friday, November 23, 2007

money mistakes

I suspect that when Canadian Capitalist asked readers to submit stories of their money mistakes in honour of his wonderful blog's third birthday he was expecting nice, neat little narratives about people changing their habits, learning lessons and vowing never to do them again.

I've got a few of those I could share, but for me, my major money mistake is an ongoing one -- albeit one that I'm diligently working on.

In a nutshell, my mistake is accepting less than I've paid for. In a myriad of circumstances. Whether it's my current pissing match with Canada's largest bank, not getting around to returning defective merchandise because I'm too lazy to get around to it (but vowing to "never go there again" -- as if that's going to do me an iota of good) or even something as seemingly innocuous as accepting substandard service because I think it might be awkward to have the audacity to actually ask for what I've paid for.

Not that I want to turn into a fire-breathing penny-pincher overnight, but the lunacy of obsessing over reducing fees in my investment portfolio on the one hand while throwing good money out the door on, say, being charged twice for orange juice while ringing me through at the cash register, has struck me of late.

I realize I'm coming off as a bit of a cheapskate here, which is unfortunate because I'm actually willing and eager to pay top dollar for the things that are genuinely important to me. But the never-ending leeching of money to things that don't fall under that category are just death by a thousand cuts.

I have a friend who's an absolute peach to those to know her, but she has a well-deserved (and hilarious) reputation for absolutely, positively refusing to give an inch when it comes to business dealings that don't live up to her expectations. She's always the first to pick up the tab for a round of drinks at the bar, but don't you even dare think of sending her a chest of drawers with an almost-indecipherable scratch on the back, tell her the rental car reservation has been lost, or try to tack on a previously-unknown service charge for something. I can't count the number of times she's regaled me with stories of apologetic CEOs leaving messages on her answering machine. The e-mails are almost as good.

It's sort of a lifelong process, but I think continuing my efforts at change in this regard would do a lot of good for my finances without making me insufferable to those around me. If nothing else, I'll probably have better stories. :)


Canadian Capitalist said...

Thanks for the link GIV. It's too bad that RBC won't budge but thank goodness there is plenty of competition where you can take your business.

nancy (aka money coach) said...

wow! Your friend! Could she be a regular guest poster on your blog with How To Get the CEO to Call (or preferably crawl)?

mariam said...

GIV, I'm the same way. I'm a wimp in conflict though. What's your excuse? :)

And go girlfriend for not taking crap!