Handling money is the type of thing you learn as you go. You might know the basic principles of saving—save regularly, spend less than you earn, and avoid debt—but you don’t necessarily think about heeding them. That is, until one experience has you slapping your cheek and groaning in pain with all the hard-earned money you just threw down the drain.
But, in the wise words of Miley Cyrus: “Everybody makes mistakes. Everybody has those days.” It’s just that some end up costing us far more than other lesser blunders. VICE asked people which of their mistakes cost them the most, so you can feel a little less alone.
“The woman at the counter told me it was over”
I came from Brisbane, Australia, and had a connecting flight to Melbourne to get back home to Manila. I only had a few hundred dollars left in my account, enough for a meal and a Grab ride to my house. I got to the airport four hours before my departure. I connected to the public Wi-Fi and watched some Netflix while eating some McDonald’s. I was constantly watching the clock. Ten minutes before my scheduled departure, I decided to head to the boarding gates. They were checking my bag when I realized I had forgotten to check in. My suitcase was still with me and I had no boarding pass. I ran to the counter and asked if I could still check in. The woman at the counter told me it was over—I had missed my flight. She was super nonchalant about the $300-flight I’d just missed. — Sachiko Zorrilla, 28
“The next year, we broke up”
I was dating this guy for about a year. He was my first boyfriend. I was 22 then. On Christmas, I wanted to give him something he would use a lot, and I knew he loved video games. He had sold his video game console early in our relationship for financial reasons, and that broke him. So I spent 20,000 [Philippine] pesos ($356) for a new console, but it ended up just collecting dust in the corner of his room. He later swapped it for a different gaming console and still didn’t play with it. His priorities and hobbies changed. The next year, we broke up. — Aria Gonzales, 27
“We lost 60 percent of our investment”
Last year, my friend and I joined an online platform for trading currencies. We used an app to trade. We were happy about our gains for the first few months so we invested more. Then, suddenly, the market crashed and we lost about 60 percent of our investment in less than 24 hours. — Joseph Tuvilla Jr., 28
“I blew it all because I didn’t want to be alone in college”
My most expensive mistake is blowing off 20,000 [Philippine] pesos ($356) of my savings in college. I’ve been saving since I was a kid, and it was hard for me to earn money then, but I blew it all because I didn’t want to be alone in college. It was my first year, and everyone was always eating out and drinking. My mom found out and got mad. Of course, I reflected and realized a few things—that eventually you’ll find your crowd. That some people don’t care about your background. And if you can’t catch up to other people’s spending, it’s better to find a group of friends you feel more comfortable with. — Anonymous
“I ended up being too stressed”
At the start of the pandemic, I decided to buy a top-of-the-line gaming computer that cost over 100,000 [Philippine] pesos ($1,780) because I figured we weren’t going to the office anytime soon and I would have more time to play video games. But we ended up having even more work in the transition to remote work, and I barely had any time to use the computer. I would use it from time to time—maybe once a week—but just to watch movies or YouTube videos. I ended up being too stressed to play role-playing games and esports. — Carlo Yaptinchay, 26
“He even sent us photos”
When the pandemic began, we were operating our business remotely from our home in Manila. Our workshop was in Valenzuela and we had a guy who lived in the workshop who we trusted to do everything—inventory, remittances, etc. We hadn’t visited the workshop in about a year, but when lockdown restrictions eased and we could finally go back, we noticed there were missing finished products, discrepancies, and even lots of Lazada, Grab, and Foodpanda deliveries. We then decided to install CCTV cameras in the workshop, soon after which our guy quit. It turns out, he had been taking materials, remittances, and receipts, and selling finished products. We lost more than half a million [Philippine] pesos ($8,900). Meanwhile, he bought his own lot and built houses for his family and his parents in the province. He even sent us photos. — Frances Abesamis, 27
“I cried and begged for them to give my money back”
I went to the mall to buy a cap and slippers but after buying those items, a person grabbed my hand to apply a cream and then pulled me into their store. It was a salesperson from a luxury brand who was very aggressive in convincing me to buy their products. I told her that the products were too expensive and that I couldn’t afford them but they still pressured me to buy something—they even gave me a free facial and said that they would hire me as a model for their brand. They offered me 8,000-[Philippine] peso creams ($142) and made me believe it was a bargain. I don’t even know how it happened but I ended up paying 60,000 pesos ($1,067). I later realized that I was a victim of deceptive sales tactics, so I cried and begged for them to give my money back. Eventually, they agreed to give back 80 percent of the money, so I still lost 8,000 pesos ($142) in the end. — Anonymous
Interviews have been edited for length and clarity.
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