All of us have some things that bother us from time to time whether it’s a surprise bank fee or morning traffic.
I have 5 financial pet peeves that irk me to no end.
Fortunately, those don’t happen often.
But the amount of discomfort and annoyance that those financial pet peeves cause to my life is enough to warrant a separate post.
1. Auto-renewal subscription
I get it. Businesses need to make money.
And what’s a better way to retain existing customers than making the payment and renewal process effortless for them than automation?
I can count on my fingers the number of services (except for utilities – basic necessities) that Mr. FAF and I subscribe to: one – Amazon Prime.
What I find particularly annoying is when companies offer one free month of trial or specify a monthly payment plan and secretly charge me the next month when the trial is over.
That’s why I love it when a company offers a free trial period without asking for my credit card number.
Now I know part of it is my fault because I should pay more attention to the trial end date and cancel my subscription prior to that.
But it is no fun to get a surprise invoice saying I have successfully paid for something I don’t intend to use any longer.
A couple of months ago, I was asked to use my personal credit card to sign up for a Survey Monkey month-to-month plan. I paid $25 out of pocket thinking it would last for only one month.
One morning I opened my inbox and got a payment confirmation from the company. I was livid. Fortunately, after a couple of emails back and forth, I got a refund for that month from Survey Monkey.
My boss said my employer could reimburse me for the $25, but I refused to waste $25 even if I didn’t have to pay it. Money is money. And wasted money is never good no matter whose pocket it goes out of.
After those incidents, I’m now always alert whenever I subscribe a free trial. I cancel the subscription and delete my credit card my information right after I sign up to prevent surprise charges. And it has been working out great so far.
2. Trying to find missing items
Time is money. If you have to spend 20 minutes trying to find something, it is 20 minutes that has been taken away from your life.
If you get $60/hour, you have lost $20 just to try to locate something you just can’t find.
A simple 5-second action of putting a wallet back in your purse will save you an hour of rummaging through every corner of your house wondering where you might have placed it.
That’s why I always try to stay organized and put things where they are supposed to be. It irks me to no end when I can’t find my earphones or a pair of scissors because Mr. FAF has put them somewhere he just can’t remember.
Every time that happens, I just can’t help but get annoyed at him for (1) not putting things in the right place and (2) wasting my time. If you are organized or trying to stay organized and have a spouse/partner who is not, I’m sure you can relate to some extent.
Mr. FAF has put in place a system where he put labels on almost every drawer, closet, and pantry in the house to help organize our household items and make it easier for us to find what we need.
I usually keep mental labels on everything around the house, but this new method will hopefully help Mr. FAF stay more organized.
Related: 6 Tips On How To Be Productive
3. Disingenuous salesman
This one is a bit obvious, but somehow I still don’t understand how some people can tell lies and still act like nothing happens just to make a living.
After having Baby FAF, my father-in-law urged Mr. FAF and me to buy a new car to replace our beat-up $1,500 Toyota Corolla for the baby’s safety. We decided to take out a loan to buy a brand-new car (mistake!) with the help of the salesman at the dealership.
He convinced us that we should take out a loan to build our credit. If we paid off the loan in six months, we could get a refund for all of our interest payments. He was so smooth-talking that we found no problem trusting him.
Six months later, Mr. FAF tried to reach him via phone and email to pay off the loan, but the salesman never responded. Mr. FAF went to the dealership to meet him but was told to wait for hours.
Mr. FAF is a bit of a softie, so maybe the salesman just ignored him. I had to go to work, so I couldn’t go to the leadership with Mr. FAF.
Mr. FAF was so upset and frustrated that he contacted a lawyer to discuss suing that salesman and the whole dealership.
It wasn’t until I felt like I had had enough with Mr. FAF’s complaining and the salesman’s unresponsive manner that I showed my face at the dealership to let them know I meant business.
The salesman saw me. He knew I wouldn’t leave until I had a chat with him. I was ready to talk to his manager and call the brand’s headquarters office to sort out the mess. When I’m angry, I’d go to great lengths to get things right.
Mr. FAF had gone to the dealership three times before and couldn’t even meet the salesman although he was sitting in his office.
I showed up that day, and that same salesman greeted us with an affirmation that he would get everything done that day. I told him my patience was running out, and I meant what I said.
The whole mess got resolved the next day. But we learned one of the biggest financial lessons in our marriage:
— Never trust a salesman 100%.
— Ask for evidence and written proof if they promise you something.
— Try to save up and pay cash for a new car if you can. A loan is a burden.
— Look at used cars before you want to buy a brand-new one.
4. Restaurants that overcharge.
Mr. FAF and I once went to a hotpot that has raving reviews online. The restaurant is part of a nationwide chain that originates from California. We paid roughly $30/person and went home hungry that night. We had gone to other hotpot places before and always got really full afterwards.
My portion came with a plain water base mixed with some miso paste, 4 paper-thin slices of meat, 4 shrimp, some veggies & thin noodles. All of that was for $30. We felt cheated.
We checked with a couple of friends who had gone there before and got the same feedback. The restaurant is good at presentation with no content. We are still puzzled as to why they have so many 5-star reviews.
The $30 mini hotpot left me hungry.
Next time we want to try a new place, we will make sure to check the pictures of the food on Yelp and/or ask our friends to see if they’d recommend it.
$90 for a failed attempt at exploring new food is not too bad for one time. But we just can’t afford to spend our heard-earned money on testing new places often. We are also trying to eat out less often.
5. My spouse’s secret bank account (if any)
Each of us also have our separate accounts which serve mainly as our emergency funds.
He knows exactly how much I have in my separate account, and I also do his.
If you have read the post where I interviewed Mr. FAF, you’ll know that he has used his separate bank account to pay for some of his restaurant meals with friends before.
As far as I know, Mr. FAF doesn’t have another bank account. But if he does one day and doesn’t tell me about it, I’ll be sure to get very upset if I ever find out.
In order to prevent Mr. FAF from keeping financial secrets from me, I’m trying to be more open-minded about his expenses. It’s better to be updated than being kept in the dark.
I am a big fan of transparency, and I want it to start right where it should be: my life and my family.
The 5 financial pet peeves that I mentioned above might be minor compared to a lot of financial problems many people are facing.
Mr. FAF and I have been there before, so we know what it’s like to lose sleep and get anxious about money (or the lack thereof). Nothing will scare me more than having $0 or only a couple of hundreds of dollars in our bank account while our job prospects are up in the air.
I always try to stay calm when I find myself prone to irritation. However, letting something cause me annoyance won’t solve the problem. I try to find ways to mitigate the effect those pet peeves have on me and, better yet, to prevent them from happening.
I’ve laid out the solutions to my 5 financial pet peeves which will hopefully bring more happiness to our life and more stability to our finances.
What are your biggest financial pet peeves? Do you have solutions to prevent them from happening? I’d love to know. 🙂