Financial Horror Stories: Overspending to Please Others


We’ve asked several people to share their financial horror stories with us with the idea that we can learn from their mistakes. Today we have the opportunity to get to know Sarah, owner of Lemon Blessings and practical family finance blogger. 

What’s the biggest money mistake you’ve ever made, and how did it impact your life? 

One of the biggest mistakes I made was applying for and accepting store credit cards early into my college years to have the clothes and decor I thought I needed. Halfway through my second year of college, I had cards for Macy's, Maurices, JCPenney, and more. To top it off, I often forgot to make the payments, which resulted in me defaulting on all of them. 

If you could go back in time, what would you do differently?

I'd like to say that I wouldn't take out those credit cards to start with, but I honestly didn't know any different. I spent years watching the adults in my life charge everything on credit, even if they couldn't afford it, and I was just following in their footsteps. If I could go back, I'd make the payments on time. I had the money to do so, but I just didn't because not making the payment meant immediate money in my pocket. What I didn't realize was that overlooking those monthly payments meant that I would spend years repairing my credit. 

Did anything good come out of the mistake?

Absolutely. I married my husband a little over a year later, and that debt carried into our marriage. Compounded with student loans and medical bills up to our ears, we learned together what it meant to pay down debt and live with a budget, even when we didn't have much money. 

Two years ago, I started Lemon Blessings in an attempt to help others practically manage their family finances. That's allowed me to expand the brand and work from home as an Administrative Consultant. Additionally, we are openly sharing our finances with our kids so that they won't have to make the same mistakes we did.

Today, those credit cards are paid off, our student loan debt is under control, and we have no outstanding medical bills (as of now) to speak of. So, that's a huge win in our book!

What is your biggest financial fear?

My biggest financial fear used to be that we wouldn't be able to pay the monthly bills. I'd lie awake at night and worry about how we'd make ends meet. Now, several years later, that feeling is in the past. My fear today is that our kids won't learn from our mistakes and will spend the first decade or two of their adult lives dealing with debt. 

What’s one piece of financial advice you would like to share with our readers? 

Live within your means and be open and honest about it. I think the hardest thing for a lot of people is, to be honest about their financial situations. If you can't afford to meet that friend for coffee, offer an alternative. When someone wants you to go shopping with them at the mall, but your budget only allows for an item or two from the thrift store, don't shy away from that. It's easy to get caught up in the moment or what other people think, but you are the one that has to go home and pay those bills. Who knows, you might find out that your friend's finances are in the same shape as your own!

Thanks to Sarah for sharing her financial horror story with us today. It's easy to get caught up in what other people think (or even the lifestyle you believe you need to be part of) before you realize you are up to your ears in debt for things you didn't even need. If you’d like to connect further with Sarah, you can do so by visiting her website,

Other posts in our series of financial horror stories:

Financial Horror Stories: Lack of Emergency Savings Leads to Financial Nightmare

Financial Horror Stories: Credit Card Debt

Financial Horror Stories: Reckless Spending

Financial Horror Stories: Vacation Timeshare Regret

Financial Horror Stories: Investment Gone Wrong

Financial Horror Stories: Excessive Debt 

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