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The Dumbest Thing I Ever Did With My Money

By Riley O. from Ontario, Canada

However strong my urge is to buy for myself it instantly doubles when I shop for someone else! I love the mission of trying to find the perfect gift for a loved one and become overwhelmed with excitement at the thought of their reaction. This ranges from simply shopping for them to buying for their pets! Because really, what fish doesn't want a pile of glimmering rocks and a rubber frog sitting inside their fishbowl all day? My generosity is constantly on overdrive. Even if there isn't a holiday or birthday coming up, I still buy gifts when I see something that reminds me of a special person in my life. Why you ask? I am always able to justify being generous, as it is an amazing characteristic to have, however there is a line that I did not see until my mom's forty-third birthday.

My mom is very athletic and loves yoga. She is a very peaceful person and through yoga has discovered her love for Buddhism. Knowing this I constantly tried to encourage her to follow her Zen lifestyle and I thought the best way to do this was to throw her a yoga themed party! I started planning small by decorating the house and yard with little reminders to stay peaceful. For example, I gathered many "inspiring" Buddha statues and scattered them in the garden and around the windows. However, I felt that the decorating was not enough. I went on to invite all of her exercise friends to come for a surprise party. I loved the idea of having a yoga themed party, so I rented multiple yoga mats and positioned them in the backyard. I then gathered every yoga ad or phone number I could find to try and discover the perfect yoga instructor to come and lead a private yoga session, which was not an easy task! After hours of searching for the perfect candidate I found her and felt as though the party was finally all coming together.

I was going over my checklist when all of a sudden I realized that I had no food or drinks! Needless to say this sent me into frantic hysterics; after all I had to feed my guests. I decided that the most logical thing to do was hire a catering company, and not just any catering company. I wanted the best! I did research on multiple catering companies and looked at everything from their reviews down to the very last ingredient they used in all their dishes, just in case of unknown allergies. With the main meal covered I began to look into cakes and desserts. I learned the hard way to never make a decision like that when you are hungry! Everything looked so appetizing and I ended up ordering three cakes for a group of people who are not even big dessert fans! The Chocolate Crunch, Double Deluxe Delight, and Very Vanilla took over a week to finally finish! The party was officially ready to go, or so I thought...

The most important thing to check when you are planning a surprise party is a day that works for everyone but most especially the person the party is for! This is a crucial piece of information that completely slipped my mind. It was the day of the party and guests had started to arrive. The catering company was set up to deliver their food any moment and the cakes were sitting in the fridge to stay nice and fresh. The backyard looked wonderful with the mats, Buddha, and so many smiling faces. I knew my mom had to go to a meeting that day so it would give me enough time to get everything arranged and I assumed that she would be coming right back home. I have never been so wrong! Around thirty minutes after she was supposed to get home I began to get anxious. In fact, I became obsessed. I was checking my phone every second and running from the front door looking for her car to the back door making sure the guests were still content. I called her multiple times with no answer and I began to panic. An hour and a half after she was expected home I finally received a phone call from her explaining that she had gone to a movie and she thought she had told me that. As you can imagine guests had left, it had become dark, and food had gone bad with being exposed for so long (although, on the bright side the cakes were still perfect). I had spent multiple paychecks to throw the most phenomenal party she would always remember and I missed the most important detail! This is by far the dumbest thing I have ever done with my money.

As part of my "rehabilitation" I learned how to appreciate the value of money. With university fast approaching and little savings for such an expensive endeavor, I made savings my top priority. I understood that if I did not see the money then I would not spend it. So I went to my bank and opened an additional account to be used specifically for university tuition. Now on the day I get paid I move a portion of my earnings to my university account. Since I do not view this money for spending and because it is moved over right away I have been able to start saving a small portion for my university career. It also helps control the amount I buy because I am aware that I do not have as much money in my bank account. I have a job at a grocery store and this also helps with my rehabilitation because I am very aware of how quickly money adds up, a concept I clearly did not understand before. I now spoil myself in the fulfillment of saving, because you know what? I'm worth it!

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