Stupid Mistakes That Cost Me Money

Well I’ve had one of those weeks recently were you shake your head at yourself.  I’ve managed twice recently to toss money down the drain by my own fault.

The first one was simple enough the clerk at the grocery store accidently scanned the next person’s in line item onto my bill.  So she goes about reversing it. Yet while doing this she keeps passing the item over the scanner adding more copies of the same item to my bill.   So after watching her do this several times and trying to fix the issue she said “I think I got them all removed.”  The word ‘think’ should have been my red flag to check the bill afterwards, but I just took the bill and walked away grateful to be away from that mess.  It’s only at home did I examine the bill in detail to realize she scanned the item on 7 times but only took it off 3 times so I paid for $5 of juice that I never got.

Then my second mistake was even bigger.  I finally got around to looking at all my e-statements for my TFSA account and noticed something odd.  At one point I contributed $510 instead of $500 that I thought I had.  So after doing the math over several statements it became clear.  I’ve over contributed to my TFSA account and have been at that point for several months now.  So now I get to find out at tax time exactly how that penalty works and how much tax I own.  I’m not clear on what the 1% penalty per month is calculated exactly since I’ve read references to it in two different ways.  I either owe about $60/month that I was over (the penalty is calculated on the highest balance during that month) or  $0.10/month (if the penalty is calculated only on the over contribution amount).  Hence all this lovely tax savings I’m suppose to get from this account might be flushed down the drain this year from my own fault of not checking these statements earlier.

So my lesson from this week is pay attention to what you are doing.  There are literally thousands of ways to lose money by not paying attention and doing something stupid.  So if you are feeling brave, feel free to share how you have recently lost money by not paying attention in a comment.

8 thoughts on “Stupid Mistakes That Cost Me Money”

  1. My biggest stupid thing that costs me money? Clutter!
    Seriously. Over the years I’ve had so many piles of “stuff” that I can’t find some things when I need them. Sometimes, if I really need something (say a new needle for my serger – not something you can use the machine without) I’ve had to go out and buy a new one, knowing full well that I already owned several “somewhere”.
    The most expensive thing I’ve lost and had to replace was a 1GB memory stick. Not much money these days, but this was back when one of those cost about $100. I’m still annoyed about that one. (I found the old one a few months later, and made full use of two of them, but still.)

  2. $5 down the drain? No biggie – don`t worry about it.

    The TFSA penalty is on the over-contribution amount so it is pretty minimal in your case.

  3. I try to keep my chequing account above the “rebate level” so I don’t have to pay fees. Inevitably, the balance dips below the threshold once or twice a year and I get dinged for $30 of fees. Also, my savings account only allows 1 withdrawl per month, and charges 5 bucks for additional ones. 5 bucks represents a lot of interest, especially with rates as low as they are. 🙁

  4. Isn’t that just so annoying when that happens? I bought a few lengths of fabric on sale a wee while ago, and it wasn’t until I went to make up one of the lengths into a skirt that I looked at the receipt and realised I had paid for 2.5m of fabric instead of the 1.5m I asked for and got 🙁 I am usually so careful at checking receipts !

  5. Caitlin,

    That is a good one. I try to fight clutter in the house, but I don’t always win.


    I know the amounts are small, it just makes me mad to waste money for nothing.


  6. I always take anything back to at least try to resolve a mistake. And I carefully check receipts since being charged $95 for $5 worth of ground beef.

    I don’t pay any bank fees: Canadian Western Bank has free chequing and savings accounts and has similar rates to ING. If you call to ask for a fee to be waived (like writing a cheque when the money is in savings), they may do it.

  7. Oh well, just move on, these things do happen.

    You seem to have a very solid, well thought-out big picture.

    This is minor.

  8. I have been paying my bills online for nearly 10 years now without error. This month I go to pay my cable and as I attempt to enter it into my spreadsheet I see that I made an entry that would indicate the bill had been paid the prior week but for a slightly higher amount. After a bit of research I discovered the bill I paid the prior week should have been hydro but I selected the cable payee by mistake. So now my cable bill was paid a little early and for a little more than it should have and my hydro is now late by a couple days. I immediately make the payment to hydro. I gave them a call and fortunately they said it wouldn’t be a problem since it was only 2 days late (I hope that’s true).

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