Recently I received an out-of-the-blue request from Keith Morris, the editor of the new LifeTuner Chat Carnival and the Community Manager for LifeTuner, to write an article for the upcoming carnival on "Financial Lessons Learned the Hard Way". First off, I'd like to thank Keith for tossing an invite my way and having the optimism to think that I might have something interesting to contribute. I hope I can offer you some first person narrative which you enjoy enough to finish. That's the thing about introspective pieces... I wonder the utility my experiences have to you readers? Well, let's toss aside the deep commentary and cornucopia of supporting links for a second and do some old fashion writing. Who's with me?