I love to listen to the Dave Ramsey show when I have the chance. While I may not agree with everything he says, I believe that he is one of the greatest voices to motivate someone to get out of debt. His baby steps are an excellent place to start if you are clueless as to where to begin with eliminating debt and building savings.
On his show and in his book Total Money Makeover, Dave uses the phrase stupid tax to describe a time when he paid the price for doing something…well, stupid. Getting over your head in debt and paying high interest on credit cards is something that would fall in the stupid tax category. For Dave, he’ll mention how getting over his head with real estate burned him and that he paid the stupid tax for his mistakes.
There’s value in learning from the mistakes of others, so I try to soak up as much as I can when others share their failures. Unfortunately, I’m not immune from paying the stupid tax and have made some financial errors myself.
My Stupid Tax:
Not all stupid tax rates are the same. They vary from person to person and can change with each stupid mistake. Here are two recent taxes that I paid..
Small Stupid Tax: $2.50 – The Public Library
I love going to the library and renting books, and will often share it as a way to save money with your entertainment budget. Of course, the library is free IF you return your books on time. I went a week or so without renewing a book and paid $2.50 in stupid tax to cover the late fees. I could have went on Amazon and bought the book for $5.00, but instead I paid the library for my laziness. The real kicker is that it was a financial book…go figure!
Big Stupid Tax: $150 – American Airlines
Now this one hurt. If you make a change with your airline ticket, you’ll have to pay a change fee. For American Airlines, this fee is $150. I booked a flight this summer and failed to double-check my calendar. Ouch! I had to change the flight because of a conflicting date, and ended up forking over $150 to do it. If I had just planned a little more carefully, I could be $150 richer. Oh well…lesson learned (I hope).
Have you paid a stupid tax lately? I hope you haven’t, but we’d love to hear it in the comments :)