Wouldn’t it be great to be just about perfect? Well, not that I ever had any wacky illusions of that, but if anyone ever thought I was totally sound when it came to all money moves, a recent mistake would clearly disprove that.
We’ve all been there. You know, the times when we feel like a fool for making a dumb financial move.
Here’s what I did. Two weeks ago, I was in a major hurry to get someplace in the evening. I was leaving the city, and was headed out of town. Thus, while I often like public transpiration instead of driving, I did have to drive that day and parked my car in an out of the way lot. This place cost $15 for an “earlybird” rate, as long as you got out by 6pm. It was a deal, compared to the garages in this area of Downtown Chicago which typically charge between $30 to $40 to park during the working day. Yes, it’s not cheap here in the Windy City!
Anyway, I rushed to the lot and asked to pay. The guy immediately told me “Cash only”, which was corroborated by a sign at the booth. Okay, I suppose I missed that sign in the morning when I got there. So I had to tell him that I needed cash, and that I’d be right back after I found an ATM. He said fine, but I realized that I needed to rush back so that I wasn’t charged the full price.
I went a few blocks to a location I knew would have ATMs, and went to the first one I saw. It wasn’t for my bank, but at this point I didn’t care. I just needed to get the cash, get to the car, and leave. So I withdrew money, and agreed when I saw the prompt on the screen that notified me that the bank would charge me a $3 fee in addition to whatever fee my bank charged. I can’t stand ATM fees, but figured that this was a rare exception and that I didn’t have a choice in this situation anyway.
So, I withdrew the money, and turned to my left and started to walk away. As I did, I froze.
Right in front of me – literally, right there before me – was an ATM from my bank.
It instantly hit me that in my rush to just find the first ATM and get money right away, I never bothered to even glance around to notice the other ATM that was there. After paying the 2 fees, I just wasted $6 right there. For no reason whatsoever, other than carelessness. I mean, the no-fee machine from my own bank was basically right next to the other machine.
Now can you see how I felt like I made a dumb financial move? There is no rationalizing this away.
Well, when we make mistakes we should try to learn from them. Two quick takeaways for me were:
- Pay attention. If I would have seen the sign in the morning that noted “cash only” , I might have been able to get the money ahead of time. By not having my head in the game at that time, I cost myself a few bucks.
- Manage time well. If I would have planned my time better, even by a few minutes, I wouldn’t have been rushed and prone to making a careless move.
Of course we all know that we should pay attention and manage time well, but sometimes we need a reminder to do the basic things. This was a $6 reminder!
My Questions for You
Have you ever made any really silly, dumb financial moves like this one?
What were the circumstances, and why did it happen?
Did you learn any applicable lessons from the experience?