10 People Share the ‘Dumbest’ Ways They Lost Money: “My mistake cost $220,000”

shutterstock 2023142585 scaled e1679677489934 - 10 People Share the 'Dumbest' Ways They Lost Money: "My mistake cost $220,000"

What is your dumbest lost money moment? A Redditor recently shared that her daughter losing a gift card reminded her of when she made a dumb money mistake. She flew across the country for work and was rewarded with a $1000 Visa gift card.

“I put it in my wallet only to forget about it. So I went to use it a few years later, only to discover that it had expired.” On top of that, the $1000 was included on her paystub for taxes. So she also lost the $1000 and paid out of pocket for it. “Dumb move. What is yours?” Here are the top-voted responses.

sad woman with empty wallet
Image Credit: pathdoc / Shutterstock.

1. Men’s Warehouse

One man confessed that when he was 20, he shopped at Men’s Wearhouse to get a suit for a job interview. The suit was $180 but was buy one get one free. The sales associate encouraged a buy one get one free deal on an $80 shirt, then a $40 tie, a $40 belt, and $100 pair of shoes.

Additionally, he got him bamboo hangers that help suits hold their shape but tossed in free shoelaces. When it rang up at $950, he panicked. “I had about $1400 to my name at the time. My brain was scrambled, so I blankly handed over the card while my body went numb and walked out thinking, “this is what adults do.”

Luckily his girlfriend talked him into swallowing his pride, and he returned everything but one suit before hitting the clearance rack at JC Penneys and getting everything needed for $120. “Since that day, I have been immune to salespeople and know that buy-one-get-one-half-off is among the greatest scams ever.”

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2. Stock Options

Another received stock options for “dot com bubble” as a hiring bonus at a software company in the late 90s. He explained the price went to trash before vesting, the grant price wasn’t adjusted, and it became worthless. “That’s not the worst part.”

He was still at the same company many years after surviving layoffs and acquisitions. “I was shopping for my first house and determining what down payment I could afford—remembered options. They adjusted the grant price of outstanding employee options down during the acquisition. 

As a result, options are now worth a $6-7000 profit! Dig up brokerage account info to see the state of options. Options expire five years after vesting. But that’s not the worst part. See options in the account. An expiration date that day. That’s not the worst part. The market has closed and cannot be exercised. Try anyway. Exercise rejected. Next day options are gone.”

3. Said No to Google

One user admitted that they worked for a small company in Mountain View when they turned down a job with Google in 2000. After being asked why they declined the offer, they responded, “Wanted to finish my college degree and didn’t want to work full time.”‘

4. College Funds

Someone shared that before their father passed away, he built college funds for her two children. So in 2006, when her son started college, there was around $10k in both their accounts.

“Unfortunately, it was ALL in education accounts invested solely in Wachovia stock! It went from $60/share to bottoming out when the bank failed. They ended up with less than $200 each. Lesson on diversification learned! So glad my sweet Dad didn’t know.”

5. Sporting Bets

“I got a huge pay raise on a Friday. I blew 12k sports betting over the weekend and still beating myself up about that one,” shared one. Several people in the thread suggested this user get help for gambling addiction.

6. Starbucks Gift Card

Someone confessed to throwing away a new $25 Starbucks gift card instead of an empty one. It was a slight loss in the grand scheme, but it still bugs them.

7. Train Tickets

Another traveler explained that they had spent $500 each on train tickets on euro rail. However, they left them in the train car on the first leg of their journey. So they rented a car instead, noting, “it was cheaper than buying new tickets.”

8. Timing the Market

“Attempting to do something not recommended… Timing the market.” This user explained they had gotten out of the market in 2020 when “everything initially tanked.” Then, they bought back when everything had gone back up. “The silliest thing I have ever done and should have known better. Cost of this mistake: 220K.”

9. Motorcycle Mistake

“In college, I had far too much cash in my wallet, around $500 if I recall correctly. That’s a lot of money to lose at any point, but it was a LOT of money when I was in college.”

They elaborated that their wallet fell out of their back pocket while riding a motorcycle. They retraced their path about five times and could never find it; no one returned it. “I never kept my wallet in my back pocket riding a bicycle or motorcycle ever again.”

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10. Purse in Car

Finally, one shared, “My dumbest lost money moment was when I was 18, had my entire rent in cash, and stopped at my mom’s to drop something off for her. I left my purse in my car and was robbed in the five minutes I was inside. My fault and I had to get my savings to eat that month. At least it wasn’t a crazy amount, and it was a life lesson learned early.”

We hope you enjoyed this Reddit discussion regarding the stupidest ways people have lost money. This article is inspired by the internet and does not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of Wealthy Nickel.

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