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I Admit It – I Make Mistakes

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make mistakes

I have a confession to make. I made a mistake last month that ended up costing me a little money. It was a simple mistake, but one that I have not made before. I am kicking myself for it right now, but it shouldn’t happen again. I won’t let it happen again.

I forgot to pay a bill!

Yes, you just read here on Frugal Rules that a personal finance blogger didn’t pay a bill. Oh, the humanity. Someone stop the madness!

OK, let me put my big boy pants back on and explain how it happened and to show you that even I make mistakes. I don’t pretend to do everything right, but I get a little flustered when I make simple mistakes like this. I pride myself on paying my bills on time. It is something that I have done ever since I started paying bills. I didn’t even make one late payment when I was in a mountain of debt. That was one reason why my credit score is so high.

The Missed Payment Breakdown

 

Truth be told, I am not sure how I have not missed a payment before. Before I paid off all of my credit card debt, I just used a whiteboard to list my bills. It was pretty standard with due dates and I would use some nice check marks when they were paid.  That system was prone to mistakes. If I didn’t go into my office one day, I could have missed a payment.

After I became credit card debt free, I figured I would try something new. I have been using Manilla to keep up with my bills for a few months. It is a great service and is also free. It helps me not to make mistakes by allowing me to setup notifications about all of my bills and even pulls data from most of my providers. It is quite nice.

The case of the missed bill came about this past month. Manilla emailed me and also notified me on my phone that one of my bills was due. Just like any other month, I logged onto the provider’s website and started making the payment. Unlike other months, this time was a little dicey. Their website was on the fritz. I went through my regular clicks and scrolls like I normally would. I input my bank account information and hit submit.  It took a long time to churn and then finally came up to the submit confirmation page. I had to click another button in order to submit the actual payment. I left-clicked that bad boy and we were off. I saw the page churning for some time. I got a little nervous, but I was also in a hurry to leave the house due to a party.

Once the page finally loaded, I didn’t think anything of it. I thought it was the confirmation page for the successful payment. I closed my laptop and jumped in the car. Now that I look back, I realize the page was a system error page, not a confirmation page. The payment never processed. The worst part is that I usually check my bank account for the payments to go out. With our house on the market and the craziness that comes with it, I totally forgot to do it. When I woke up this past Saturday, I noticed an email with my next statement. It was double. Crap, I missed last month’s payment. What a goon!

We All Make Mistakes

 

While I am upset now that I missed the payment, I know it will be fine. I made the payment, plus this month’s payment early. This was just a simple mistake, but one that cost me a late fee. I hate late and convenience fees with a passion. I don’t like them and do what I can to not pay them.  The only way to do that is to make your payments on time.  No matter if you are in debt or free of debt’s shackles, we all make mistakes. They could be small or large.  It doesn’t even matter.  We are all human and humans make mistakes.

The biggest thing to do is to learn from my mistake. The lesson I learned from my debt was to control my spending and understand how to use credit wisely. The lesson I learned from missing last month’s bill was to slow down and make sure things are complete. I don’t half-ass things at work, so I don’t need to be doing it in my personal life.

 

Have you made any mistakes lately? Come on, don’t be shy! Share it with the people…. 🙂

 

Photo courtesy of Celestine Chua

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Grayson is the owner of Debt Roundup and Empowered Shopper. He also co-owns Sprout Wealth and Eyes on the Dollar. After going to battle and winning against consumer debt, he decided it was time to learn how to use credit wisely and grow his wealth. He discusses all things personal finance and is not afraid of being controversial. He also is a freelance writer and blog manager.

Latest posts by Grayson Bell (see all)

39 Comments

  • Adam Kamerer says:

    You might have missed the window of opportunity, but I wonder if you might be able to get the late fee waived, since the problem was relayed to the company’s technical problems. Did you try asking their billing department about it?

  • Yesterday, I just noticed that I forgot to pay my internet bill. I signed up for a paperless bill and I just remember that I forgot to pay last months’ bill! Their customer support called me and reminded me about the payment. I know it’s just a small mistake but hopefully it won’t happen again.

  • The first thing I do when a new month starts is to copy all the recurring monthly expenses from the previous month to the new month’s budget worksheet. Last month, somehow I forgot to copy my daughter’s dance class tuition. We went about our budget putting all the pieces together and then realized we had to subtract off the dance class amount. Luckily we caught it in time before we started spending…

  • May says:

    Just this month I made a (large) payment on the wrong credit card. Got it sorted out after a few phone calls, but careless mistake that nearly cost me $90. I won’t do that again.

  • Kay says:

    I think we’ve all been there, so at least you’re in food company :). I forgot to pay a credit card bill when I just had a lot going on. So I set up an email alert so I would get a notification three days before the final due date.
    I agree with Adam above, have you tried getting the fee waived?

  • DEBt DEBs says:

    We took out cash advance at 0.99% interest on a zero balance credit card and put the money as a prepayment on our mortgage with strict plans to have it fully paid before the interest rate increases. We forgot that we had used the card last January when we were using it for other things to sign up for CAA. Well this past Jan, our renewal was charged to the card. Consequently, we have a bit more interest on our credit card. I was bummed that my strategy was messed up. Looking back, I should have called CAA right away and maybe I could have got it reversed and charged to our normal credit card. Because it made me so grumpy I just wanted to not think about it. I’m estimating the impact for this month was about $4 in interest, so no biggie, but then I still have 5 months to go, so I think this will have an impact for the remainder of the term. It’s complicated how they apply the payments and calculate the interest on cards with diff rates. Suffice it to say, if you use my strategy, don’t ever let any other charges go on that card!!!

    • Grayson Bell says:

      I have used your strategy often, but I always made sure to pay off the card or balance before the date. That was one reason why I was able to get out of debt. It certainly can backfire quickly if you are not careful.

  • Ah sorry to hear that. I did make a mistake lately in that I didn’t pay in as much in quarterly taxes as I should have last year. I knew this but didn’t realize until I did my taxes just how low my payments were relative to what I made. Needless to say I am writing a big check to the government this year.

    • Grayson Bell says:

      Well, there is another mistake for me then. I have done my taxes and know that I owe quite a bit. I am paying it this weekend. I will be making bigger quarterly payments this year.

  • I get nervous too when it takes a long time to process a payment on the net. Always worried it’s not going through properly. I print out the confirmation page for my records and keep it until I see the transaction clear in my bank account.

    • Grayson Bell says:

      I typically print out a copy as well. The problem with this last one was that we are moving and constantly showing our home. Most of my record keeping is in storage, so my methods are a little off.

  • Grayson, did you call and ask them to refund your late fee? We missed a payment last month too, due to my own stupid inorganization, and I called and asked for a little mercy, and they refunded the late fee. Yay!

  • Yes I have! Like you I missed a payment on our phone bill. Not a big deal ($5 fee) but it does stick in my crotch.

  • I don’t even know if you can call it a “mistake” if it was due to a technical problem! I’m thinking you should call and talk them into crediting the late fee to your account…

    • Grayson Bell says:

      Well, it was still my mistake. It is my responsibility to make sure the payment goes through. I should have been more vigilant. I have called and am trying to work with them.

  • I have done the same thing before! I actually paid a utility bill to the wrong place. It happens to even the most organized of us!!!

  • Michelle says:

    Something similar happened to me. I must have underpaid a bill without realizing it, and still owed around $5. I was then charged a late fee of $8. It’s not a huge fee, but it was a stupid mistake.

  • We all make mistakes all the time, mine are too numerous to list in one place, but I find that I learn more from my mistakes, so while it sucks to make them, they actually have long term benefits. This has clearly impacted you, and I bet you will take many other precautions that you may not have before because of this.

  • Ugh, this happened to me 3 years ago. Forgot one time because I never use that credit card and now it’s on my credit report! So frustrating!

  • Ugh. What a pain. I sometimes move so fast that I have to remind myself to slow down. I’ve made some costly mistakes in my life and I remind myself that as long I learned something and don’t repeat the mistake again – that’s all I can do. And generally, I don’t make the same mistake twice, and I suspect you’re the say way, Grayson. 🙂

  • The last big finance mistake I made was some years ago when I paid our property tax a week late. That cost us an extra 10% of the property tax bill plus fees, which amounted to $289.57. All for being a little absent minded. This was in 2008, and it still sticks with me as a learning experience that missing payments can be expensive.

  • E.M. says:

    I know the feeling. There was a crazy month a while back with a lot going on, and I missed a payment on my credit card. Thankfully they waived the fee and everything was fine, and I’ve been careful to make sure it never happens again, regardless of what is going on. At least you didn’t really forget to pay, it was an honest mistake anyone in a rush probably would have done. I hope they decide to waive the fee for you, $40 is a lot considering it was their system error.

  • That’s why I have all my bills on autopay, it bothers me too much to pay those accidental late fees!

  • Auto Pay and I are very good friends. I still like to check on each account just to make sure I know what I am paying, but it is nice to know that my bases are covered no matter what.

  • Daisy says:

    I forget to pay bills far more often than I’d like to admit. It slips my mind at least a few times a year, but luckily my bill providers don’t charge a late fee until after they have to send you a paper notice. The couple of times I’ve been charged late fees, I’ve phoned and asked them to refund it because I had been such a long time customer at their companies. They gladly agreed!

  • We don’t have a service like Manilla here in Australia, but it would certainly be useful.
    I recently became debt free and stress every month that I need all my bills paid and still end up with no credit card debt each month.

    Late fees suck. If you want to retire early and retire a millionaire, you need to stay on top of the admin!

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