When sanity > principles

Money or sanity? When mental health overrides principles

I have a strong sense of fairness and justice (which sometimes makes it hard to exist in this world). But I’m also quite pragmatic and getting more ruthlessly so over time.

Which is why I’ve made the conscious choice to write off certain sums of money over the past few years. To move on and look forward. Let go of the expended stress and energy, and devote that time and headspace into productively making that money back even quicker. And of course, to not get into the same situation again.

Let it goooo

Heinous flatmate (approx $1000)

Blood from a stone. He was a terrible person to live with and is terrible with money/being employed/adulting in general. I’ve written off the money he owes for bills and damage and moved on.

Tax refund

Can’t really remember the amount – maybe $500? Anyway, T was due a tax refund a few years back that went into limbo somewhere between the IRD and his bank account. Endless back and forth never resolved it and we’ve moved on. (Subsequent refunds have made it through fine.)

Work expenses

Again, the exact amount has faded from memory and I’m certainly not going to check and dredge it up, but a couple hundy? Suffice to say toxic boss #2 in this post was a nightmare from start to finish. T chatted to someone from the labour department but ultimately, not enough proof of the context and it being a work expense. Live and learn.

Unpaid freelance invoices (approx $1000)

Loved the work. Hated the chasing of payment. I did a series of features and was paid for about half. Struggling magazine, new editors, tardy accounts … just one big clusterfuck.

Unrefunded bond (approx $700)

Our last tenancy was a nightmare. Anything to put that memory behind me.

I know lots of you mentioned in the comments on this post that you’d written off small amounts in the past – what about bigger ones?

Disease Called Debt

11 thoughts on “When sanity > principles

  • Reply Taylor Lee @ Yuppie Millennial August 31, 2016 at 00:21

    Paying contractors even though their work was not up to par (and getting it up to par they claim would cost thousands more). At some point I just wanted them out of my house.

    Forgave a few thousand dollar “loan” to my mother given when she needed dental work done. I always considered that a gift though.

    • Reply Ruth August 31, 2016 at 06:38

      I’m chasing money owed on behalf of my Mum at the moment. The fact that the woman who owes it is giving me the complete blankety blank just makes me even more determined to get it. Like you I may in the end just give up but I intend to be completely annoying to her while I’m trying! As soon as it changes from “I don’t mind doing this for Mum” to “OMG this is driving me insane” I will move on because as you point out, it is just not worth the mental hassle.

    • Reply Martin - Get FIRE'd asap August 31, 2016 at 11:16

      I too have learned my lesson here. Never, ever pay a tradie up front. Pay instalments as the work gets don, sure, but never pay the final instalment until it’s complete to your satisfaction.

      I can’t think of the number of times, myself and friends have chased tradies to come back and either finish the work or fix their mistakes.

    • Reply Vicki@Make Smarter Decisions August 31, 2016 at 13:08

      AH – yes, this one for us too. We just wanted the contractors out as well!

  • Reply Jessie's Money August 31, 2016 at 04:42

    I think it makes sense to choose sanity – absolutely. I would have such a hard time letting any of these amounts go though. I’ve never been in a position where I had to choose, thankfully, about letting a sum like this go or not.

  • Reply Martin - Get FIRE'd asap August 31, 2016 at 11:13

    How about $10,000 (which was half of what was being asked) to buy into a great business opportunity. A mate of mine paid the 20-big ones and convinced me it was a great opportunity as he had apparently done himself.

    All looked good for a month or two and then……..oh dear, not looking so rosey any more. Business owner was hard to get hold of, promised materials didn’t show up, etc etc. I’m sure you get the picture.

    Long story short, as there always is, chased him through small claims, got costs awarded, he skips to Oz and then goes bankrupt. Goodbye $10k.

    I did get him back a few years later when he came back to NZ and started selling real estate. Sent a ‘wanted’ poster to all of the real estate companies in the area and into the letter box of all of his listings with a list of his previous sins (and it turned out there were a few). Last I heard he’d given up RE and gone back to Oz. Scum!

  • Reply Fruclassity (Ruth) September 1, 2016 at 09:57

    I remember a time when I had to give up on an amount being paid to me – it was a personal rather than professional context – and when I realized it wasn’t coming, it was a kick to the gut. When that kind of thing happens – whether personal or professional – I’d say it means a relationship has to end. Then there’s the recognition that it was never a good relationship to begin with. Lots of kicks to the gut really. But with recognition and acceptance of reality, a new beginning really is ready to happen. And that ‘s worth way more than any money that can be squeezed from unwilling hands.

  • Reply Dividends Down Under September 5, 2016 at 00:04

    I completely agree, sometimes it’s just not worth it to worry over small* sums when it’s going to cost you so much in stress and we could be putting our efforts to earning more money instead like you did.

    I once loaned a friend some money, it took many months but eventually he paid it back (I’m never going to lend to friends/family again).


    *To some people

  • Reply Emily @ JohnJaneDoe September 5, 2016 at 00:06

    I’ve written off work expenses a few times…just not worth the hassle to bother with a few dollars, but it probably added up over times. And I’m really bad about returning defective merchandise, though I’ve gotten much better lately. I think I’m pretty good at letting go though, and most of the time I’d rather do so.

  • Reply Mel @ brokeGIRLrich September 5, 2016 at 07:05

    I write off just about any family/friend loan. I just think it’s a perk if it comes back to me.

  • Reply FF @ Femme Frugality September 5, 2016 at 11:10

    When I went through that split I had to write off a huge chunk, not just from a drained bank account but also from a loan I’d either have to litigate or handle solo. The latter was better for my mental health, even though it wasn’t “fair.”
    I’ve got a bit of medical debt at the moment…I don’t agree with the billing or payment plan policies, but at this point I’ve been anxious over it for months and am just ready to let that shiii go.

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