I went out for a few drinks the other night. I drove my car to the subway station, hoped on the subway, and met a few friends downtown for an evening out. It was an instant classic night as usual when I’m out with this group of characters. I wasn’t going to drink but I decided to have a few vodka-waters (no time for sugary drinks). This meant that I would have to leave my car in the subway station parking lot over night. No big deal.
I was taking the bus home and then I paused for a moment. I had waited 20 minutes for the bus, my friends went the opposite direction, and the ride takes at least an hour. It was already 3 in the morning. I didn’t drink a lot. I wasn’t intoxicated. I felt that I was good to hop into the car and drive home. As the bus drove past the parking lot (subway was closed at this point), I debated jumping into my car to drive home for a split second. It would’ve saved me some serious time. I decided to stay on the bus. After two minutes I saw a police spot check setup. I would’ve gone through this spot check and it would’ve cost me either $10,000 or $450.
Why would it cost me either $10,000 or $450?
A friend of mine made a really stupid mistake that he deserves to get punished for. He had two glasses of wine and decided to drive home. Long story short, he got pulled over by the police. He wasn’t drunk, so he didn’t get formally charged. However, the office felt that he deserved to be taught a lesson. They towed his car and suspended his license for a few days. In total in cost him $450 in fees (not including the day’s wage that he lost). I wish it had cost him more because there’s no growth without pain. However, I’m sure he still learned is lesson.
The $10,000 figure is the bare minimum you should expect to lose when charged with drinking and driving here in Ontario. A dude from my gym caught busted and this is roughly what he spent. You have to get a high-price lawyer, pay the fines, attending AA classes, and losing days of work. On top of all of this, good luck getting insurance coverage ever again!
This isn’t a public service announcement for MADD. I have a personal finance tie in here.
Personal finance often comes down to making the right decision at that split second. We’re all susceptible to marketing. Every single person reading this has made an impulse purchase or spent money foolishly. When you’re in the mall it’s easy to pull out your credit card to grab that new iPhone. It’s so easy to eat dinner at the fancy restaurant. Why bother cooking food?
We all make mistakes when it comes to money.
We all know that driving under the influence is bad. We all know that buying things with a credit card when you have no money is bad too. For some reason the best of us make foolish mistakes.
I’m not here to preach or tell you what to do. I just ask that when you’re about to do something foolish that you pause and think for 30 seconds. Those 30 seconds will most likely hold you back from making a huge mistake. Drinking and driving could kill some. Buying a $1,700 laptop on credit will hold you back for a few months.
In those 30 seconds I often think of the absolute worst-case scenario. Debt will hold me back and force me to work more. Anything illegal could harm me for the rest of my life. The tinniest mistake can hurt you financially. Why not just pause and think for a second?
How have you saved money by holding back or showing restraint?