July 7, 2008

My Biggest Financial Vice

Posted in Finances, personal finances, Recovery tagged , , at 11:09 am by otherdeb

In this post, Five Cent Nickel challenges us to admit to our biggest financial vice.

Mine is using car services to get to and from work. Each September, I vow not to do that except in emergencies. And I usually manage to stick to that for the first half of the school year.

Then comes the first major snowfall. Between the sciatica and a weak left ankle, navigating a two-hour, three-bus (or two-hour -and-fifteen-minute, one-bus-and-two-train) commute becomes, to put it politely, hellish in the extreme, especially since my area of Brooklyn is so far down the City’s list of places to dig out that the snow is often gone by the time they get to us. So I call the local thieves. Unlike the other car services in the area, they don’t offer discounts, or deals for regular customers, but they do offer one thing the others don’t: reliability. They show up, and usually within a minute or two of when they say they will. On a well-below freezing morning at between 5:00 and 5:30 am, this is important.

So, I give in and call them. I tell myself that it’s just for the duration of the mess on the ground. then I notice that I can sleep an hour later if I use them. I’m hooked, and have to pretty much force myself to not use them sometimes. So from January until the end of June, I’m lazy and it costs me $33 (including tip) each time.

As if that wasn’t enough of a hole in my pocket, at about the same time each term, commuting home becomes an issue for the same reason. There, however, I was able to cut a deal. I call the drier directly, and he gives me $5 off what the company charges, because he’s taking me off the books. If he’s not available, I call the company, but most days he is. So that’s an additional $20 a ride. (He’s good to me, though. If I need him and don’t have the money, he will take me and I can pay him the next time.) Still, this kind of thing adds up.

I was better about it this year than the year before, and, as I loose weight so I have less joint problems, I intend to get even better about it. Still it was a significant chunk of cash that could have gone to debts or savings.

Having admitted it, the question becomes what am I gonna do about it. My bike has been retrieved from the corner of the living room. It’s in okay conditions for local riding, and I will shortly have it checked out and tuned up. Once my bike legs are back, I plan to increase the distance I can ride over the course of the summer, hopefully to a full thirty miles. (Thirty miles is double a one-way commute to work by local streets). For travelling into the city this summer, I am planning to use the express bus as much as possible.

I’m not kidding myself. This is not going to be an easy habit to kick, since it hits me right in my laziness. But I keep telling myself that when I have lost weight from the exercise, and have a fatter bank account to show for it, it will be well-worth the battle.

<i> What’s your biggest financial vice?



  1. […] The Dangling Conversation […]

  2. Estelle said,

    Could you move or find a job closer to your home?

    • otherdeb said,

      Hi Estelle. Since I had my surgery, I have healed enough to be able to use public transit to get to and from work. It wouldn’t be financially viable to move closer because a) my job is now ending in June (the school is being phased out), and b) Being on half hours and half pay, there is nowhere I could move to that I could afford the rent on. I am surviving because my roommate covers the rent and I just pay our food and utilities costs.

      I am working toward being able to create my own work once the job ends, and pursuing several long-term goals that would give me financial stability.

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