How To Overcome Paranoia To Save Money

I have a confession to make. I am a paranoid person, especially when it comes to safety.

I don’t know if it’s because I’m obsessed with detective TV shows like Forensic Files or if I’m just chicken and not adventurous enough.

But fear has prevented me from taking many actions in my life.

In many cases, it is a good thing because I am always cautious and weigh the pros and cons of an action before taking it.

However, it has also prevented me from seeking thrill as well as saving lots of money in life.

I am not so much into thrill. But the failure to save money really bothers me.

Related: 3 Weird Things We Do To Save Money

My paranoia

Give me a scenario, and I will tell you some of the worst things that can happen in that theoretical situation.

Going clubbing at night?

Some creep might follow you all the way to your house and stalk you for days to come.

They might also attack you right at the club without anyone else knowing.

Selling stuff on Craigslist?

A couple with their baby wanted to buy a used camera they saw on Craigslist and were kidnapped by the seller at gunpoint (Google: Project Miranda).

Wanting to buy stuff on Craigslist? The seller might lure you into their house where other people are ready to ambush you.

Your basement has a glass window? A thief can easily break it to enter your house.

The list goes on and on.

But on January 23, 2018, I overcame by paranoia to do something for the every first time in order to save money: taking a Lyft ride all by myself.

I had taken Uber twice before. Both times I was with Mr. FAF. I had never taken Lyft or Uber by myself prior to that date although Uber has been in existence since 2009 and Lyft since 2012.

I felt so behind with technology, apps, and millennials. But I let my paranoia win. I didn’t want to be kidnapped or murdered by an Uber or Lyft driver and make headlines the next day. Just Google those key words, and you will see it has happened before.

And I miraculously avoided situations where I had to take Uber/Lyft whether it was going grocery shopping, visiting a friend, or going to a party. If I couldn’t take the public transit, walk, or get a ride from my friends, I wouldn’t go, period.

In a way, it helped me save money because taking Uber, though cheaper than a cab, is definitely not cheap. A 20-min ride can easily cost $30. On the other hand, it also limited my mobility and social life since I didn’t own a car when Mr. FAF used to live in anther city.

Related: How To Save Money On Transportation In DC

My first Lyft ride alone

On January 23, 2017, I had a doctor appointment on a weekday. I spent hours trying to book a visit at a doctor office near my work place or at home just to avoid taking Uber/Lyft.

In the end, however, I still had to get a short ride from the Metro to the appointment. Mr. FAF was at work with the car. I had no choice but to turn to Uber/Lyft since it’s cheaper than taking a cab.

Mr. FAF suggested I try Lyft since it’s cheaper than Uber. He then referred me to the app, set it up on my phone, and got us each a $5 referral fee ($10 in total).

When I got off the train that day, I was a bit skeptical of my decision to take Lyft still. What if the driver kidnaps me and sells me to someone? I tried to assuage that fear by not thinking about it.

When I got off the train and opened the Lyft app, my heart was beating faster than usual. I was a pregnant woman all by myself and soon would be in the same car with a stranger.

My husband knew where I was going, but he was so far away. I entered the drop-off location. The driver arrived within one minute and was polite.

The cat was me when I hopped into the Lyft ride.

While waiting, I kept checking the license plates of all the nearby cars to make sure mine had arrived, and that I wouldn’t hop into the wrong car and be driven off to an unknown place (told you I’m paranoid).

During that brief 5-minute ride, I sat in the back seat and didn’t talk much.

The driver double-checked the address and didn’t ask any other questions.

When I arrived at the hospital, I just wanted to message Mr. FAF immediately and tell him I was safe and sound.

The whole experience turned out to be much better than I had expected.

Both the driver and I were tracked on GPS by Lyft. He knew where I was waiting, and I knew when he was coming to pick me up. The total ride was $6.80. I applied the $5 credit and ended up paying $1.80 for the ride (frugal win!).

Would I take Lyft or Uber alone again? The answer is a resounding yes if there’s no other economical option (i.e. walking, public transit).

RelatedHow To Be Lazy, Frugal & Happy

Conclusion

Technology is just amazing! It is living proof that you need to invest in a product to make money and help others make and save money.

And my experience is also proof that sometimes I just need to be more open-minded and risk-tolerant to save money and enjoy the great things life has to offer.

There are apps out there that I wouldn’t want to try such as Tinder even if I were single (nothing against Tinder users. I’m just paranoid like I said). But anything that comes with GPS tracking and/or background check (aka transparency) is worth a try.

When I link my experience to investing, I realized that keeping savings in all cash just because it’s the most secure won’t yield me a good return. I need to take risks and dive into different forms of investment to know what works best for me. Living in a bubble won’t get me rich.

At the same time, before I invest my hard-earned money into something, I need to make sure that the fund has a good reputation like Uber and Lyft. It needs to have a certain level of transparency (i.e. GPS tracking, vehicle safety check) and a good track record of benefiting customers/investors.

And most importantly, I need to understand the product and all the risks and benefits that come with it.

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10 thoughts on “How To Overcome Paranoia To Save Money”

  • Your first Lyft ride sounds just like mine! I sent my husband a screenshot of the app and a photo of the car. I think the driver thought I must have been a tourist at first…but he soon realized that I just default to “worst case scenario” in any new situation. Ha!

    • Haha I was super paranoid being in a stranger’s car. I kept thinking he could have turned off the GPS device and driven me to who knows where. But it was all ok in the end. I feel like I have more confidence in humanity and technology now 😀

  • Ha ha, the human mind is a funny thing, isn’t it? For me these kind of scenarios cause no stress at all, i have taken ubers in the middle of the night without worrying. But i am scared to death of flying. Once when my husband was flying solo from india to canada, i obsessively spent every single minute tracking his flight’s path online on flightradar. I even started analysing the flight’s log to see if it might have run into any problem even though i have zero idea about any of it. I didn’t do anything for the 20+ hours he was flying. He has absolutely no fear of flying and laughed at me when i told him about it. Later i too realised how stupid and paranoid i was being. Now i try very hard to keep myself busy and not overthink when he is flying. I have found that not reading too much news and staying away from social media helps. I think they all feed our anxiety. I am so glad you were able to overcome yours, way to go.

    • I have a relative who is super scared of flying as well. He had an experience where his flight had lots of turbulence, and he was shocked when he landed alive.

      I don’t mind flying as much since I know I have a higher likelihood of getting into an accident when driving than when flying 😉

  • You and I sound very similar! I also troubleshoot outcomes to scenarios as well. I grew up in a very safe rural town in New England where people didn’t always lock their doors at night. One day a girl disappeared when she was outside alone, and that changed my view on safety. I think I was 7; the girl was 8. She was never found, and it was all people talked about for weeks. Many knew her family. I had a few other scary experiences as I grew up, and I think all that shaped me. I tend to say Be Careful! And Don’t…! a lot. I think you are smart to be cautious.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about the girl. That’s exactly what I’m afraid of, not just for myself but for my kids as well. I live in a relatively safe neighborhood where kids play outside by themselves often. But I’m not sure if I’d let my son do that. I don’t want him to be a loner either >_<

  • Oh oh, are you OK with driverless cars or paranoia on that front too? I am sooooooooooooo OK with it, but…I am not OK with it to fall asleep. If like the car crashed, I’ll never wake up! Lol I don’t know if that sounds crazy. I’m still pro-driverless cars 10000% though!

    • I’m excited about the driverless car! I’m terrible but driving, so having the car drive itself would be awesome! I might wait for a bit to purchase it though. I want to see the safety states on those cars hehe.

  • Nice article. I see people afraid of investing. You certainly need some courage to invest. In fact you need courage to go after any worthwhile reward. Investing can pay off though. Just as you enjoyed the Lyft ride, you can enjoy the benefits of investing in terms of security, income and growth – once you get over the fear of the markets.

    • I’m a bit of investing too. The thought of losing money pains me a bit. But as the saying goes, no pain no gain 😉

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