In some situations, it might be better to pay up and forgo frugality.
Apparently I was out of my mind when I booked my trip to visit family over Christmas. My return itinerary had me leaving Philadelphia late on a Friday afternoon and flying to Chicago, and then from Chicago to Anchorage. The option of flying directly to Alaska, with no stopover in Seattle or Salt Lake City, felt like a grand piece of luck.
And it would have been, if the flight had left on the same day. However, it left at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday.
I wanted to do a series of forehead-plants into the drywall. Instead I sighed, shrugged, and started looking for a semi-affordable hotel near O’Hare.
The old me would have done those forehead-plants.
The old me might also have spent the night in the airport, reading and drinking free water from the fountain and eating food she’d packed.
That’s because the old me would have required penance for the mistake, and because the old me was, in fact, a younger me. The new me is the older me, who’s learned that she can’t keep punishing her body and expect it to forgive and forget.
This is why I’m frugal
Not that I was nuts about paying what Dave Ramsey calls “the Stupid Tax,” but it had been a whirlwind couple of weeks and I was bushed. A decent night’s sleep before flying for another six hours and 20 minutes was definitely worth the freight.
Once again: This is why I’m frugal. I save where I can so I can spend where I want. Sometimes that’s not where I want, but where I should. I’ve learned that it’s OK.
Good thing, since I wasn’t done paying the idiot’s excise.
A few months back I’d bought a Groupon for a family day pass to the H2Oasis indoor water park here in Anchorage. Things kept interfering with my actually using it, but I swore to my niece that she and her boys and I would go after I got back. We had to, because the Groupon expired on Jan. 13.
Wrong. It expired on Jan. 1, 2013. Which I discovered on Jan. 2.
The promotional value remained intact, so I had a choice: Forget the whole thing and consider it a lesson learned, or pony up another $35.
Did I want to spend another $35, plus lunch? Not particularly. But I’d already told the kids we were going – and again, everyday frugality meant I could afford it.
My eyes are still stinging from the chlorine. The boys had a great time. And the Master Blaster slide made me scream like a Victorian maiden gone nose-to-nose with a satyr.
Incidentally, I did drink the free water at the airport vs. buying a $4 juice. I’d bought the Groupon through a cash-back shopping site, so I got a 3 percent rebate. Brought home the bar of soap I used in the hotel shower too. I haven’t lost my frugal edge. I just misplace it sometimes.
More stories on DonnaFreedman.com:
- Think you’re broke? You probably aren’t
- This isn’t your grandparents’ recession
- What I learned from de-cluttering: The sequel