Sunday, July 29, 2007

Costliest mistake

Most everyone has had a time where they made a mistake that cost them quite a bit financially. I had one this summer on my flight back to the States. Here is the unabridged account.

I arrive at my hostel on Wednesday afternoon for my flight that leaves the following morning. I decide to stay in the town about an hour from the airport because it's in a nicer place than the actual airport, and cheap shuttle services are offered straight to the airport. That afternoon, I reserve a place in a shuttle that leaves at 4 AM (gotta get to the airport at 5 since it's an international flight), and everything's set.

I go hang out with a friend to enjoy my last night in that country, and I call it an early night, so I can get up early the next morning. I set my alarm, and set it on a table a bit aways from my bed to make sure that I get up out of my bed instead of just hitting snooze from the comfortable position of my sheets. The alarm I've relied on for the four weeks I've been in this country is the alarm on a watch I got from Walgreen's before I left - of course the cheapest watch I could find.

Thursday morning, I wake up to light.... that's not good, it shouldn't be light at 4 in the morning. I check my watch, and it's in fact 6, and with the rush hour, I know that there's no chance I can get to the airport in time unless I had a private helicopter, which I doubt exists in this third-world country. I arrive at the airport late, and I discover that there are no more flights for the day through Spirit, the airline on which I booked my ticket. Their flight for Friday is all sold out, but I could catch a flight on Saturday night for under $200. Unfortunately, I have to be back by Saturday afternoon, so this flight won't work. My only option appears to be Delta, which flies directly to Atlanta, where I need to be, but this sets me back quite a bit more. There's not much more I can do, so I pay the price, and I chalk it up as a lesson learned.

What kept eating at me during this misadventure was why I didn't wake up in time. I think it was because the alarm on my watch was pretty weak, and I placed it far away, so it just wasn't loud enough to wake me up. Looking back, if I had only spent an extra $5-10 on a real alarm, I most definitely would not have missed my flight. In this case, my biggest mistake was not that I didn't wake up early, but that I didn't spend an extra few bucks to buy a real alarm. It's like when two people are bumping uglies - the mistake isn't the act, it's if you're too cheap to buy a condom.

And the cost of my mistake? Quite fittingly, $666.

What's been your most expensive mistake?
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5 Comments:

Blogger Tiffany said...

As a new homeowner, I just recently learned the hard way that when you have someone come fix something in your house after 5pm, you will be charged overtime, which is usually double. I was angry that nobody told me this before I made the appointment, but evidently, this is one of those things that everyone is just supposed to know. Hopefully people reading this can learn from my costly mistake!

August 1, 2007 at 11:19 AM  
Blogger eshop600 said...

Now thats a bummer, I suppose my mistakes are betting on england to win the football world cup! next time I will bet against them winning the world cup.

August 7, 2007 at 4:47 PM  
Blogger SavingDiva said...

My costliest mistake is not saving earlier. I spent over $3k from savings on clothing and food...this isn't including the amount that I spent from my biweekely pay checks...

August 21, 2007 at 1:47 PM  
Blogger Emm said...

I think I can relate so much to your site, being a student and trying so hard not to be broke and yet having my aspirations of traveling, and getting that "dream job"... PF brings me back to reality. I decided to make my own PF and de-lurk myself to the blogs I've been reading.

My costliest mistake thus far? Blowing away most of the settlement money ($7000+) I got from being injured in a car accident when I was 9 and having nothing really to show for except more clothes and more shoes and a laptop. the silver lining, if you could call it that, is that I still use them.

-emm

October 15, 2007 at 12:08 AM  
Blogger Hannah said...

I have two really costly mistakes, although time will tell if the first really was.

1. Buying a more expensive car than we planned on. By about five thousand dollars. However, we got a much newer car, in better shape, that will last us until we drive it into the ground. Good old Toyotas. :) It's certainly cheaper on gas than a clunker would be. But the fact remains, it's still five grand more than we planned to spend on a car...and we're still paying the interest on the lines of credit each month.

2. Moving back in with my parents to save money. My husband and I were married. We quickly discovered that all those issues we had when I was teenager didn't go away -- they got worse. My husband and I spent so much money and time just to get away from the poisonous atmosphere of the house that any rent savings were quickly overcome.

What's most costly about it, however, is that it took us 7 months to start to recover our relationship to the point where it was at before we moved in. (We lived with my parents for 3.5 months.) Dealing with the tension, passive-aggressiveness, second-class-citizen treatment, and judgment on a daily basis took such a toll on me that I nearly got fired from my job. Thankfully, my husband and I managed to keep it together long enough to move out. We're finally starting to find our footing again. Stability is a nice feeling. :)

October 24, 2007 at 12:11 AM  

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