I'd say yes it was your second mistake. Your first mistake is worrying about $ and the cost of something; after all it's youth hockey, didn't anyone tell you?
Everything in hockey is a money grab. That doesn't mean everything is a waste of money.
Getting your son into the USHL at 17/18/19 should be a priority. It is a legit league, a required step for pretty much every player that has aspirations to play D1 in college. Maybe your kid never gets there. Doesn't mean you shouldn't try.
Now, you CAN send your kid too soon. He has to be ready to play against the best in the country. If he can't, don't send him, at least not yet. But, look to send him sooner or later, if he wants to play hockey after HS.