Lesson learned: Procrastination = Expensive!

I made a disastrous mistake.  My car’s headlight had burned out.  I was going to ask a friend of mine to change it for me after finding out the price (mostly labor!) at my usual shop.  Unfortunately, I don’t get to contact this friend often because he’s busy.  I should have just gotten the thing fixed, because my attempt to be frugal has bitten me in the checkbook.

headlight

I got a ticket for having one headlight.  The ticket costs only $10 less than the cost of the replacement quoted by my shop.  Plus, I still have to pay to get it fixed.  I’ve almost doubled my cost!  AAARRRGH!!

The only good (sort of) thing to come out of this is that the officer informed me (and didn’t write me a second ticket for it) that my license plate bulb isn’t illuminating from 100 feet away.  Though this is barely good news, since I now have to pay for that too.  Moral of the story is, I should have gotten the light replaced asap through one method or another.

Procrastination really is frugality’s enemy.

Boing…

Nooo!!  After digging my claws in to get hold of my finances, I have screwed up.

Yesterday, I got sick and went to the doctor.  I paid for my copay and then went to pick up my medication.  I had to wait for the medication, so I went across the street to get some food (since I was going to be on a restricted diet for a little while).  I went back for my medication.   Since I started using a register to keep track of my check card purchases, I have been keeping up with that thing daily.

I’ve been low on funds in my accounts lately, but I knew that I had just returned a pair of shoes and would be getting my paycheck through direct deposit tomorrow.  Therefore, by checking online and taking note of my balance in my register, I figured I was covered for the medical and food costs.

emptyThe $165 bank fee on my account this morning proved I was very wrong.  At first, I didn’t understand what happened.  After a call to the bank and some careful examination of my online bank register, I figured out my mistake.  In a nutshell, money going into my account (paycheck and shoe return) takes longer than I assumed.  Money going out of my account (despite it too being listed as pending) is deducted instantly.  Unfair?  I think so, but now that I know the rules, I won’t be making this expensive mistake again.  I guess that’s why the fees are so high.

Frugal Pitfalls: Postage

One of the reasons I rarely shop online is because you have to pay shipping. Now if there’s a free shipping deal and I’m not buying something wearable, I have no problem shopping online at a trusted store. And if the store offers a ship-to-store option, to me, that offers the best of both worlds: the online stores have a bigger selection of items and picking the shipment up at a local store is easy and free! Two stores I know of that have this option are Borders and Walmart.

But rather than buying books (free shipping or not) at Borders, I have been looking for more frugal ways replenish overstock my book supply. I used to get excited when Borders would send me a 40% off coupon in my email, thinking what a great deal it was. (And sometimes it is, if you are purchasing a new book.) But since then, I have discovered PaperBackSwap. Not only do I get to get rid of books I don’t want that are cluttering up my shelves, but I can also request almost any book I want, given that it’s not too new/popular.

Here’s where the pitfall comes in. I have been justifying my use of PaperBackSwap because the books are free–and they are free. What’s not free is the postage you pay when mailing out your own old books. This month, I am over-budget on postage. It’s easy to think, well it’s only $0.64, no big deal, but after mailing out 10 books at varying weights to different locations, it adds up! I even use the cheapest rates and no additional services to keep the cost down, but it still has been too much this month.

I never thought that postage would be a budget category that I would overspend!