I'm writing this week with a sad tale of money saving gone wrong - a tale I'm sharing in the hopes that it will help prevent you from making a similar mistake!
Last week, I had a meeting across town. I thought, "hm, it's only 4.5 miles from my house. How about I walk home from there after the meeting, and save the $2.50 I would otherwise spend on bus fare?" To my cheap-obsessed mind, this seemed like a brilliant plan, so that is what I did.
Even though I'm not someone who regularly walks 4.5 miles at a stretch.
Even though I wasn't wearing running/walking shoes, but a pair of (of course very cheap) oxfords.
Even though I had a 35 pound backpack on my back - and not like a hiking backpack, but like a briefcase with backpack straps.
Suffice it to say, when I finally reached my house, just a little over an hour and a half later, my body was not happy with me. Not only did my knees and feet ache, but I found myself with terrible pain in my shoulder where my backpack had been, running down my entire arm. I thought maybe it would be a temporary thing.
Three days later, my range of motion was still somewhat limited and my shoulder was in throbbing pain.
And that, dear readers, is when the irony of the situation appeared.
I called my doctor, who told me that yes, I needed medical attention.
So I spent, you guessed it, $2.50 on bus fare going to the doctor's office.
I got diagnosed with a pinched ulnar nerve up near the shoulder. Not the worst thing in the world, but still pretty irritating and painful. The doctor prescribed me some medicine. With insurance, my copay was $.50 for that.
And I'll still be getting a bill for my copay for the doctor's visit, which will run anywhere from $10 to $40.
In other words, my attempt to save money actually cost me somewhere between $10.50 and $40.50.
Saving money is awesome.
Having to pay money is not.
Having to pay money to recover from an attempt to save money is even worse.
The next time a brilliant money-saving idea crosses your mind, be sure you do what I didn't do - and that you consider your own limitations and the potential monetary cost for your savings when all is said and done.
Because that, it turns out, friends, is one of the essential secret ingredients to being a saavy saver.