I’m Celebrating All Of My Financial Mistakes This Holiday Season

Just like that, the holiday season is here and everyone is starting to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of the season. I can’t lie, I absolutely love the holidays. I love everything from giving gifts to hosting family and friends to enjoying the seasonal activities like watching Santa Claus arrive in our little town square. If you’re a new reader, you’re probably starting to figure out that I haven’t had a very linear journey to financial independence. In fact, you could say it’s been a zig-zagged adventure sprinkled with quite a few good and bad decisions. And you know what, that’s okay. So to kick off this holiday season, I’m veering off the windy path to FI to tell you why I’m thankful for all of my financial mistakes. 

Making Financial Mistakes


Financial Mistakes | Money Mistakes | Bad Money Habits | Bad Financial Choices | Financial Independence | Financial Freedom via @MadMoneyMonsterMaking mistakes is a part of life. Each time we make a mistake, we can choose to beat ourselves up or to look at it as an opportunity to grow and better ourselves. I have made plenty of financial mistakes in my life, and today, I am choosing to celebrate those mistakes.

I used to be jealous of people who, seemingly, never made a money mistake in their life. That went for people in real life and other personal finance bloggers innocently sharing their financial triumphs via the virtual web.

Hearing people brag about their non-existent student loan debt or reading stories about how people were able to throw in the corporate towel in their early 30s made me slip into a mild depression.

The analytical side of me knew that, if I had made different choices along the way, I could’ve ended up being Yahoo headline by retiring super young, too. But, alas, I didn’t make all the right money moves. I’m still working and I’m not in my 20s or even early 30s anymore. But you know what, that’s okay. In fact, it’s more than okay, it’s WONDERFUL.

Yes, you read that correctly. I am making a conscious decision to celebrate my financial missteps – and you should, too! And let me tell you why.

A Colorful Route To Financial Independence


I have accepted the very real fact that I have had quite a colorful journey on my long and windy path to financial independence. Not only did I not do everything right, but I did a whole lot wrong.

Thankfully, those wrongs have helped me to grow and to reflect on why I made those decisions in the past and why I will choose to make different decisions in my future. So, just what were those mistakes I’m talking about? Without further delay, here they are.

xmas tree - financial mistakes

Kicking off our holiday season.

My Financial Mistakes

  • I overpaid for a rental property (by about 20k) at the top of the real estate bubble in 2007
  • I passed up a perfect opportunity to house hack in that same rental property when I split up with my significant other later that same year
  • 401(k) loan? Check.
  • Student loans – I didn’t prioritize paying them back
  • Car loans
  • Credit card debt
  • Not maxing out tax-advantaged accounts until a few years ago
  • De-prioritizing debt repayment
  • I settled on my current house with only $200 left in savings
  • Almost buying a big house I couldn’t comfortably afford
  • And on, and on, and on…


Celebrating Money Mistakes


Mad Money Cat - Financial Mistakes

Mad Money Cat never made a money mistake. #nothingtoadd

Simply, I am celebrating my financial mistakes because without each and every one of them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. I wouldn’t be within spitting distance of financial independence. And, I wouldn’t be able to write about my colorful experiences here on Mad Money Monster.

Without my past financial foibles, I wouldn’t be Mrs. Mad Money Monster, sharing my thoughts and ideas with all of the wonderful readers of this blog. I can’t relay to you how thankful I am for every single reader and the community we have built together.

I’m willing to bet you have also made some financial mistakes in the past. And I’m here to tell you that it’s perfectly acceptable and you shouldn’t beat yourself up over those mistakes. Instead, you need to celebrate them, because they made you who you are today. And who you are today is a person with a colorful financial past who has learned from those experiences. Now, you can share those experiences with others to make a difference.

Together, we can celebrate our money mistakes and, through sharing and caring, we can help each other improve our finances and our lives.

Other articles I recommend:

What are you thankful for this holiday season? Have you made any mistakes that, inevitably, helped you in the long run? We’d love to hear your story in the comments.

Financial Mistakes | Money Mistakes | Bad Money Habits | Bad Financial Choices | Financial Independence | Financial Freedom via @MadMoneyMonster

6 comments… add one
  • Mitchell Walker (@ThePouchPlan) Dec 4, 2017, 8:49 am

    Great article! 99% of us have been in the same boat. While we’ve heard it said that experience is the best teacher, I don’t believe that is actually true. It is the definitely the most thorough, but learning from others usually hurts, and cost, a lot less. Thanks for sharing and making a difference.

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 4, 2017, 6:49 pm

      Thanks so much! Good point about learning from others’ mistakes. That’s definitely the way to go.

  • Stop Ironing Shirts Nov 27, 2017, 7:31 am

    I loved the list above, we all learn from our financial mistakes.

    I enjoyed listening to your interview this morning on ChooseFI and can also relate to the embarrassment 20 years ago of going to a “nice” high school but living in a trailer. Its nice to not be there anymore, but also to not care.

    • Mad Money Monster Nov 27, 2017, 9:45 am

      Thanks for listening. I’m glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Yeah, it’s definitely nice to be in a different place – but these days I actually love the idea of living in a trailer. It’s amazing how perspectives can change over time.

  • Accidental Fire Nov 22, 2017, 6:48 am

    Mistakes are really blessing in disguise, but only if you learn from them….
    The fact that you’re “within spitting distance” of financial independence puts you, oh I don’t know, in the top 1% of all people in America in that regard. So I wouldn’t harp on the mistakes, you’re pretty much winning 🙂

    • Mad Money Monster Nov 22, 2017, 9:26 am

      Haha…yeah, you’re totally right. And I now realize how fortunate I have been, despite all the mistakes. Thanks so much for the comment!

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