Until recently, the majority of jobs I have held had an interesting perk built-in. That was the perk of the INVITATION. Invitations to sporting events, concerts, parties and more. The majority of these invitations included all of the great stuff to make an evening awesome, food, drinks, parking and swag. Ahhh, what a life.
Not content in my youth to just be happy with the awesome free stuff, sometimes I would still
spend, waste contribute monetarily and unnecessarily. I think it was the excitement. Or the peer pressure. Or stupidity. But this is one of those wasteful moments whose memory never leaves me for long. And this happened almost 20 years ago so clearly, I am still annoyed with myself. It started out innocently enough…
My boss and I went to a gala fundraiser for who knows what, as representatives for our organization. I was able to dress up, eat and drink all I want and meet interesting and fun people – for free! What more did I need? Nothing. I needed nothing. That didn’t stop me from wanting something.
The thing is, I didn’t know that I wanted something until someone told me I did. And they told me in the form of the dreaded ‘auction’. That part of the evening that raises more money for the event by getting people excited to part with their dollars by showing shiny stuff on stage.
I like shiny things A LOT.
The item for auction was a day cruise. And for some reason, perhaps the people at my table telling me to go for it, I had to needed that cruise. So I bid. $100.
Then final and winning bid of $400.
$400 was a lot of my back then and when I went to the event, I had no intention of walking out with $400 charged on my card. Yet, I did. Some interesting finance writer would share that if I had just invested that $400 twenty years ago, it would be worth over $1800 now at 8% compounded interest. Heck, if I had just gone our for a really great meal with a friend it would have been more valuable to me ultimately due to the buyer’s remorse.
There is a lot to be said for shutting out the voices that make you want to act like an idiot with your money. There is a lot to be said about making a plan before you have to act. That way, you can plan to act right. There is also a lot to be said for making a mistake, learning from it and letting it go.
And the worst part? I never went on that cruise. Just shoved the certificate some where and it got lost eventually. So no $400, no great meal with a friend and no $1,800 with accumulated interest. Just a lesson in money management that I paid $400 dollars for.