There are a number of common self-defeating games we play on ourselves that have a real negative impact on our finances. The most common one is claiming we got ripped off. To skip ahead: We didn’t get ripped off – we paid what I call a “stupid tax.”
News flash: Whatever you got ripped off on, you purchased voluntarily and signed a bill of sale or order online. There are no sales or banking people who carry a gun – honestly. If you say to others, and more important, to yourself that you got ripped off, it makes you a victim and it’s not your fault. If you’re a victim, there’s nothing to be done, and no lesson to be learned.
Change the wording: I LET myself get ripped off. You didn’t ask enough questions, the right questions, signed up to quickly, didn’t comparison shop, were naïve, or trusted someone who lied to you. That’s on you! It’s hard to say. I know – I’ve been ripped off…I mean…let myself get ripped off. And when I change the wording, I change my thinking and change my behaviors so it doesn’t happen again!
It’s always nice to learn from the mistakes of others. But few people choose to do that. We somehow, for some reason, don’t take in those lessons and need to get burned ourselves.
A relative called me yesterday and he was furious. He had a Visa balance last month of $1107. His next trip to the bank machine, he transferred $1100 to pay off the balance, thinking he was done. Yesterday, his statement arrived and charged him over $21 of interest. Yes, it’s true. If you do not pay the FULL balance, you’ll be charged interest for the last month on the entire balance. In other words, his rounding down didn’t just charge him 20% on the seven bucks – it charged him on the full $1107.
If in doubt, if you don’t remember the exact amount when you’re at the ATM, round it up! I call this a stupid fee. He was charged $21 for a good lesson – and, in his case, you can bet it won’t happen again!