I'm not the only penny-wise, pound-foolish cheapskate out there.
Last week, I wrote how I had once fractured my kneecap in a fall, trying to keep from spilling a few dollars' worth of dog food. Readers have since shared their tales of woe, and I now realize I got off lightly.
One New Jersey man decided to paint the exterior of his house to save money. It was all going well until the ladder slipped.
"When I hit the ground, I ended up on top of the ladder and the paint splashed all over my face. So I was then treated to an ambulance ride to the local hospital where I found out that I had two broken bones in my shoulder, one rib fracture, and one broken finger bone, plus numerous scrapes and cuts. At the hospital, the doctor's first comment about the paint all over my face was 'nice color.' "
One Texas banker wrote me about his bad decision to cut his own firewood a few years ago.
"We had not been there 15 minutes when my chainsaw kicked back and nearly lopped off my thumb. ... A trip to the emergency room and several trips to a hand specialist led to the most expensive firewood I have ever burned. Since that day, I have not complained about the price of a delivered cord of wood. Anytime I get the idea that I could save some money by doing something myself, I look at my deformed thumb and reconsider."
One Atlanta reader wrote about taking along his seven-year-old Basset hound when he traveled to a wedding.
"We could have stayed at a motel that allowed pets for $25 a night more than we paid at the motel that did not allow pets. We decided to stay at the less-expensive motel and take Baby into our room even though the sign in the lobby said 'No Dogs Allowed.' The motel security camera caught us taking our 60-pound hound into the room and we were billed an extra $175 for 'cleaning expenses' because of the dog. Bad decision."
Another reader decided to save himself money by buying a used basketball hoop and bracket and then constructing his own post and backboard. Only problem was the concrete hardened before he could get the post sunk to the right height. And he got paint all over himself.
"By the time I got the thing mounted and somewhat stable, the rim was two feet higher than regulation. To put it mildly, [my] boys were crestfallen. Already I had spent more than $300--not including the cost of my ruined clothing--to get this $1.50 hoop up to where my little boys could barely reach it with the ball. Luckily, a friend (who unlike me was an accomplished handyman) accidentally knocked it down with his truck and offered to replace it himself with a kit from a sporting goods store, which cost me a little over $100, fully installed."
One reader told me what happened when, while living in Alaska, he returned to a supermarket to retrieve a box of crackers he had paid for but mistakenly left behind.
"It was snowing and the roads were slippery. A Jeep Cherokee in front of me was stopped in the middle of the road. I braked but skidded into him, smashing the front end and totaling my car (without even scratching the Jeep). To top it off, I got a ticket for rear-ending the Jeep. All for a box of crackers. What was I thinking?"