Liveblog: Financial mistakes by experts who should know better


Learn from our mistakes! We'll be adding our own stories of financial mistakes to this space and telling you how we coped with the aftermath. If you've got a story to tell us, send it along to

This last weekend, my wife and I drank our first $300 bottle of wine. This was not a deliberate decision.

When a few of my old college friends came up to visit us in the Bronx, we decided to take them to Zero Otto Nove, our favorite place for entertaining out-of-town friends. The restaurant, located near our house, is beautifully decorated, reasonably priced, and has fantastic food. It also has extremely aggressive waiters, but their endless tendency to upsell is one of those things that we have learned to overlook. After all, when a pizza joint makes tear-worthy pies, you tend to ignore the little irritations.

At any rate, we ordered a couple of appetizers and three of the restaurants distinctive gourmet pizzas. My wife, who knows a lot more about wine than I do, picked a reasonably priced Italian red that seemed like a good bet to accompany our meal. A few minutes later, the waiter returned to double check on our drink order. My wife, who was dealing with our daughter at the time, glanced at the wine he pointed to, noted the name, and replied that, yes, it was the one we wanted.

The meal was outstanding; in fact, the only down spot was the wine. Somewhat watery and underflavored, it had a hard time standing up to the spicy "Diavola" pizza we ordered. Still, the food was great, the company was outstanding, and we were all more than willing to overlook a slightly lame bottle of red wine.

When the bill came, the total was $407. Assuming that the waiter had made a mistake, I called him over and jokingly asked my wife if she had ordered a $315 bottle of wine. Laughing, she told me that, no, her choice had been $36. The waiter, however, disagreed, and noted that he had double checked to ensure that she was serious about her choice. The manager, who seemed to be waiting for just this occasion, backed up his story.