The Cost of Procrastination? $100!

by Katy on March 24, 2013 · 36 comments

However much I try to stay on top of my life, invariably there’s something that I’m procrastinating.

Luckily the things that I procrastinate tend to be more along the lines of thank you notes and scrubbing out the bathtub rather than work commitments and everyone’s doctor’s appointments.

I am a grown up after all.

However, I recently procrastinated and screwed up big time. A big screw up. A kick myself from here to Timbuktu screw up. A have to confess it on the blog screw up.

Here, let me explain.

Remember my son’s 17th birthday? You know, the one where I made him a manga chair? The one in October?!

Yeah, that one.

His birthday gift was not just the chair, but also a student copy of Photoshop/Illustrator. The cost was $350, so various family members chipped in towards the gift. Unfortunately the Portland State University bookstore was out of the Macintosh version, so I told my son about his gift and got on with my life.

For five-and-a-half months!

I meant to go back and buy the damned program, but parking in the university district is a pain in the tuchus, and somehow I just never got around to it. To say my son was annoyed would be an understatement, and he probably brought up his invisible gift at least once a week.

Cue guilty mother feelings.

However, I was out and about last week and realized that I had time to stop into the university bookstore and just buy the program already. I scored a 15 minute parking spot, and was feeling rather on top of my life. (I even found a dime in the parking kiosk coin return!) I ran into the store and danced a happy dance to see that all Photoshop/Illustrators were in stock.

Then I noticed the price of the newly updated program.





There was no turning back. My family had chipped in for this gift, and my son was already halfway through his year-long graphic design class. I put on my financial blinders and forked over my debit card.


I could have tried to find the previous version on eBay or Craigslist, but the time for shopping around had come and gone.

And the $100 lesson here? Stop procrastinating already!

Maybe I’m not a grown up after all. Perhaps I can console myself with the knowledge that I am a cautionary tale. Yeah, that’s it. I’m not an idiot, I’m a useful and educational tool for the internet community.


Have you ever procrastinated something to the point where there was a financial penalty? Please share your stories in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

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{ 36 comments… read them below or add one }

Cheapchick March 24, 2013 at 10:00 am

I used the baking soda and water recipe going around Pinterest to clean the door of my double oven last year in preparation for selling our home. Frugal fail – the water and soda went down in between the panels and looked terrible. I googled it and it turns out the doors are extremely complicated to take apart and put together properly. I ended up calling a repair man to take it apart so I could clean it off and put it back together. He said I was not the first to make the same mistake. It cost $120. Big frugal fail.


Katy March 24, 2013 at 8:42 pm

That so much sounds like something I would do.



Daisy March 24, 2013 at 10:26 am

My cosmetology license. I missed the main deadline which caused a fee and got really close to the final deadline. I put off renewing it so long that I not only had to pay a $100 penalty but I also “almost “risk losing it and having to re-do some school to reinstate it. This is a license I’ve held for nearly 20 years and is important to me. I renew it because you have to have an active license in the state you originated your education for if you ever want to move to another state and activate a license. I’m a SAHM with very little income/spending of my own so coughing up the license fee was bad enough add penalty and I about choked.


Carolyn March 24, 2013 at 10:31 am

You win some, you lose some.

Be thankful for your frugal efforts that allowed you to have the extra $100 to fork over.


dusty March 25, 2013 at 2:41 am

I agree with Carolyn, at least you had the money to fix the situation.


Linda in Indiana March 24, 2013 at 11:16 am

Car repairs, house repairs, clothing repairs, medical and dental issues….guilty on all of the above. Like Carolyn said, you being frugal all along provided you the funds to recover and not be in a position where you couldn’t pay for it. But, man, it sure pinches when something like that happens! Ugh! I feel your pain.


hippierunner March 24, 2013 at 11:54 am

Ouch! I feel your pain especially since I spent Friday returning library books to the public library and my school library, which meant paying about $46 in late fines. Of course it is way less than what I would have paid to buy all my books for school but if I had been on top of things, the price would’ve been free. Learned my lesson!


Rebekah R. Jaunty March 24, 2013 at 12:22 pm

“Have you ever procrastinated something to the point where there was a financial penalty?”

Why yes! I put off learning about gross receipts taxes for… oh, more than a year. You can see why this might be unwise. Like you, there wasn’t any GREAT reason to put this off, it just never felt like the top priority…

Cautionary Tales, unite!


marie March 24, 2013 at 12:42 pm

And here I thought I was in the minority.
My thing of late was paying my Discover card online 1 hr late.
Big late fee Ouch! I’d been thinking about it all week, just didn’t do it.


marie March 24, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Oh, I forgot it always Eastern 5 p.m. not western


Daisy March 24, 2013 at 1:12 pm

I did that this month. It really does hurt.


Laurie Bennett March 24, 2013 at 5:12 pm

I did the exact same thing this month – dang it!!!


michelle d March 25, 2013 at 5:48 am

Did you call them? Discover is really good about removing the late payment fee.


Su Mama March 24, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Yep, we’ve all done it. What immediately leaps to mind are the penalties on late payment of property taxes for three houses a couple of years ago. In Oregon, we don’t have a sales tax, but we DO have state income tax and ridiculously high property taxes. I don’t mind kicking in for schools, libraries, roads, etc. But I feel dumb for missing deadlines and paying more than I need to.

By the way, Marie, next time (hope there isn’t one), you might ask the person on the phone if the late fee can be waived, given that you’re such an ordinarily sterling customer. I do this with all kinds of stupid fees charged on the phone. A few days ago, I was calling to pay an extra amount toward principal on a credit line, and was told there would be a $17.50 fee for doing this on the phone. “No, there won’t,” I said as pleasantly as possible. “Let’s just waive that.” The poor guy just sputtered that he couldn’t do that. “Sure we can,” I said. “You apparently don’t have the authority to do that. How about I talk to your supervisor?” He was really happy to try to put me through to his boss. A couple of minutes later, he came back, said she was busy, and that she told him to waive the stupid fee. (My words, of course.) Always ask to have those late fees waived. Often, they say they’ll do it “as a one-time courtesy.” The key is not to act snarky, but pleasant.


Jayne March 24, 2013 at 2:35 pm

Call Discover and ask them to waive the late fee. Most credit card companies will waive one late fee a year, according to my procrastinator brother-in-law.


Marcy March 24, 2013 at 3:48 pm

I have a line item in my budget which is “Sh*t happens”. I fund it to the tune of $1000 a year. Because some sort of sh*t always happens. You’re being good, saving money with homecooked food and riding your bike everywhere, then you get distracted for 1 sec and have small bingle in the car – $500 deductible later. That sort of thing.


Katy March 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm

That’s great, I love it!



Crystal March 24, 2013 at 4:13 pm

I often procrastinate getting projects to the graphic designer who freelances for my nonprofit organization. She does amazing work and gives us a generous nonprofit discount, so I feel terrible when I give her hardly anytime to do the job.

With our most recent project, I told her to instate an automate rush fee anytime I give her less than two weeks’ notice. Now, I will pay a monetary price if I procrastinate, which will provide tremendous motivation to stay on schedule for our promotional campaigns.


Laurie Bennett March 24, 2013 at 5:14 pm

Not to rat out my hubby, but dear man did order something, then forgot to pay for it and ignored follow up bills. Only when the it went into COLLECTIONS ?! did I finally get involved and get it taken of. A very expensive – with possible long term financial repurcusions – lesson.
As for me, yeah, I’ve had expensive lessons in the past – usually not returning an item in the 30 day return period, and then having to get rid of it, for $nothing. Ouch.


JoDi March 24, 2013 at 6:36 pm

I don’t know if there is any way for you to return the one you bought, but you can purchase directly from the Adobe website at the student price which is probably cheaper than what the university charges.


Katy March 24, 2013 at 8:44 pm

Please, keep it to yourself. The packaging is open and the program has been installed.




Reese March 25, 2013 at 6:03 am

I just spit my coffee on my computer screen. That was hilarious. Thank you ;p


greenstrivings March 24, 2013 at 8:43 pm

Library fines and child care late payment fees (you have to pay by Friday for the following week, except for some weeks when you have to pay by Wednesday, and if by November you’ve misplaced the payment schedule they gave you in August, too bad! $10, ding ding ding!) spring to mind. Ugggh.


Joy @ Joyfully Green March 25, 2013 at 5:34 am

Sometimes there’s an up-side to procrastinating (rare, but still, it can happen!). Instead of buying a book on amazon, I’ll put it on my amazon wishlist, forget about it, and then they notify me that the price dropped. And I often procrastinate with big projects because then I feed off the “rushing to get it done” energy–I did this in college all the time.


Cyndi March 25, 2013 at 5:52 am

I thought your employer gave you a free Trimet pass? Sure, it might take a bit more time than driving, but much easier than parking. And cheaper too…


Katy March 25, 2013 at 9:44 am

True. But I’m able to rationalize driving since I’m usually running multiple errands.



Elaine in Ark March 25, 2013 at 6:10 am

The gate in my privacy fence. One of the neighbors took apart and fixed the fence across the front of my backyard and rehung the gate. The diagonal brace on the back, which is there to transfer the weight of the gate to the hinge side to prevent the gate from sagging, was backwards. He told me about it, and it was something I could have fixed myself. Eventually, the gate sagged so much it won’t open at all.

The contractor is coming tomorrow to give me an estimate.


Rebecca March 25, 2013 at 7:40 am

I think I might win with this one. I registered for a 5th year of college attempting to work full time and go to school full time. Eventually accepted that I would never make it to class and should just withdraw. Didn’t withdraw until way past the deadline and needed to pay for a full semester of college I never attended. My parents had given me a down payment for a car as a graduation present and I had to use it to pay for the tuition instead, almost $4000. ouch.


Katy March 25, 2013 at 9:45 am

You win. The worst prize ever!



Rebecca March 25, 2013 at 4:01 pm

Yeah, that was a tough lesson learned!


Louise March 25, 2013 at 8:08 am

You might check out the Educational discounts on the Adobe website – It looks like the package you got included InDesign? If you don’t need this you might contact Adobe and see if they can discount you in some way? Always worth a try! Also, you can save money by going to this on-line site to purchase and get immediate downloads of software … which would save you time (you don’t have to drive) and money (parking plus packaging/materials). I feel your pain though 🙂


Kailey March 25, 2013 at 9:05 am

I moved from Ontario to British Columbia and didn’t realize the health care process was different, (it’s still Canada after all). Long story short, three years later I finally have proper health care in BC but might have to BACK PAY! This will hurt because a) it’s going to 3 years worth of monthly payments and b) it’s entirely my own fault.


Kate March 25, 2013 at 9:15 am

Late library dvds at a $1 per day late. I am a bad procrastinator! I also forget things alot.



Diane March 25, 2013 at 11:39 am

Reframe it…think of the expense as an investment in your son’s education…..a minor sum really for all he will gain from the software. I invested many many thousands in my granddaughter when she was a teen to send her to “specialized school” which saved her life. I will be paying hat loan forever….but my investment paid off in a responsible, creative college graduate who now holds down a professional job!


Eliza March 28, 2013 at 3:01 am

$250 in late fees for the video store (not all mine, some due to housemates borrowing on my card). That hurt me so much I’ve never borrowed anything from any video store ever again.


Alyssa April 4, 2013 at 8:17 am

Had to come and share mine. I’m a big fan of to do lists and getting things done, so I rarely procrastinate. However, mine was a $25 mistake. Not a huge one, but the sting of regret still hurts. I received a padded exercise mat (thicker than a yoga mat) for Christmas 2011. I was doing an outdoor boot camp at the time and it would be great. However, I stopped the bootcamp before I got to use the mat. I never exchanged it for credit (it was an amazon gift, so that would have been easy). It sat in my trunk for months. Now it sits in my closet. I ought to sell it but not sure I could even get anything for it. Regret…

My fiance is much worse about the cost of procrastination. One of his, however, ended up favorable for us. He did a trial of Amazon Prime one year and didn’t cancel before the trial was up. So, he was charged for a full year of it ($79!). However, we definitely used it and have renewed 2 times. The 2-day free shipping is unbeatable. Perfect for gifts, supplies, etc. We try to buy local, but you can’t get everything, so it works out.

The one that bugs me the most is the Netflix movie that sat around for 4-5 months unwatched (his account, not mine). That became a $40-50 rental!


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