Here’s one for the lessons-learned-the-hard-way file. I realized on Monday that I’d made a really dumb mistake that’s cost me $3K so far. Maybe someone can learn from it. Or if you’re willing to 'fess up to a careless mistake that cost you big time, we can drown our sorrows together.
In December, I lost my wallet. I immediately called my bank, ordered replacement cards, switched my accounts to the new ones, and that was it. But wait… I forgot one bill! My pet insurance.
I didn’t realize it until early Monday afternoon when I was sitting in my vet’s office. My hound dog mix, Kermit the Dog, is normally a rambunctious lad, but he seemed a bit sluggish, so I took him in for bloodwork.
The vet discovered Kermit was dangerously anemic. I needed to rush him to the emergency vet nearly an hour away. She warned me about the massive bill I’d get from the blood transfusion, bone marrow biopsy, imaging, and so forth that he needed. “I’ll manage,” I said. “I have pet insurance.”
I logged into the policy and found that it was canceled in February for non-payment. Then I logged into my bank account. Sure enough, the pet insurance company hadn’t taken money out of my account since December. And buried in my unread junk emails was a notice of cancellation dated Feb. 3.
I hadn’t noticed that the money wasn’t coming out. When I budget, I tend to look at my overall spending for that category. I was well within budget for my pet spending category, so it never caught my attention.
The pet insurance policy would have paid 70% of the tab. Thus far, the bill was around $650 at the regular vet, plus $3,900 at the emergency vet, so roughly $4,550 total. Had I monitored my bank account more closely and noticed that I wasn’t being charged for pet insurance, I could have saved 70% of that pet insurance bill, or around $3,185.
Mind you… we’re still waiting on diagnostics to come back. Treatment is likely to cost another several thousand dollars. So what’s now my $3K mistake might very well be my $6K mistake in a couple of months. Kermit is only 5 or 6, so I’m going to do whatever I can for him, so long as he can have a good quality of life.
The lesson is pretty obvious here: Any time you switch bank accounts or debit/credit cards, scrutinize several months’ spending and make sure you’ve transferred every single account. I always manage to forget one minor bill whenever I replace a card. But until now, it’s been something inconsequential, like Netflix.
Anyways, Kermit is out of intensive care and resting comfortably at home. We won’t have his test results for about a week, but he’s been barking at cats and trying to steal my lunch… so he’s getting back to his old self, I hope.
Has anyone else made a really careless mistake like this that came at a huge cost? If there are any budgeting apps or general tips for avoiding this type of mistake moving forward, Kermit and I want to hear from you!