The speeding ticket
A few months ago Mr. FAF took his mom to a dentist office and made a quick run to the grocery store.
When he came home, however, he seemed irritated.
As usual, I asked Mr. FAF what he bought and how much the groceries were.
Instead of showing me the total amount, he just told me not to ask him any questions, and that he was annoyed.
I took the hint and kept quiet.
I was arranging the groceries on the dining table when Mr. FAF called out my name while walking down the stairs and smiling.
He then proceeded to tell me that he had gotten a speeding ticket (?!).
The frugal side in me just couldn’t keep quiet anymore. I could feel my blood rushing at a lightening speed towards my brain.
A non-existent blow of anger suddenly got a rush of energy and exploded in my chest.
I tried to control my temper and asked him why. Mr. FAF brushed it aside and just said he was speeding.
My next question, of course, was “How much is the speeding ticket?” to which Mr. FAF said he didn’t know.
I Googled “speeding tickets” in our state and found that it drivers who get caught speeding need to pay $6 for each mile over the speed limit besides court costs.
It could easily cost $141 for 15 miles over the speed limit.
I showed Mr. FAF the numbers. He wasn’t happy and looked guilty. Now I know why he came home unhappy. A few minutes of haste ended up costing him even more time and money than he had expected.
If Mr. FAF had to go to court for the speeding ticket, he would definitely need to miss a day at work, pay the fine, and endure all the emotional baggage associated with that incident.
Anger (or not)
It wasn’t the first time Mr. FAF had gotten a speeding ticket. In fact, it must have been the 5th or 6th time over the past four years.
Every time that happened, I would get so upset at him that I didn’t want to talk to him the whole day.
Mr. FAF prides himself on his driving skills and always insists that he’s just following the flow of the traffic or that no one would notice if he drives just “a bit” faster than the speed limit.
For me, this is one of the most senseless ways to lose money.
A minute of speeding ends up costing hundreds of dollars. What can you do in a minute to get that much money? I can’t think of anything we can do for that price.
It’s equivalent to my monthly grocery budget when I was living alone. All those penny pinching efforts to save money on food for days or even months just went down the drain.
All those hours of finding and getting hand-me-down clothes for Baby FAF to save a couple of dollars ended up paying for the speeding ticket.
I tried so hard not to splurge on the clothes that I liked or the food that I craved. All of the money saving just ended up in the air because the husband thought that he would save some time by outsmarting the police.
I don’t even know what was going on in Mr. FAF’s mind, but now both of us have to bear the brunt of a speeding ticket. I didn’t speed, but I still had to pay for that reckless action.
Now I’m sure I’ve made mistakes that Mr. FAF also had to pay for. But for me, a speeding ticket is just one of the easiest ways to lose money and sanity. I just don’t get it.
I actually wasn’t too upset after Mr. FAF told me about it. I was calm and just said “Ok.” It was a Saturday morning, and I didn’t want to lose my mind and weekend peace over his mistake. Plus, Mr. FAF works full-time now, so the fine won’t be a huge dent in our monthly budget.
I even came up with a new idea for my blog, which I’m currently writing about in this post: the cost of rushing things. It made me think about other times in our lives when haste ended up costing us more time and money than we expected.
Related: The Costs of Marital Conflict
Not spending the time to do research
One time I bought an educational toy for Baby FAF on Amazon and later regretted it.
Our son had already learned the alphabet and numbers, so I was eager to teach him arithmetic.
I typed in the key words on Amazon, skimmed two pages of results, saw the product on sale for $19.99, and just went ahead to buy it. $20 for a toy was indeed expensive in my mind.
Up until that point, I had always bought toys and books from community yard sales or gotten free items from our friends and neighbors.
This time, however, I wanted to teach out son math immediately hoping that one day he will do much better in math classes than I did. In other words, I wanted our son to be as good at math as his dad is.
I always envy Mr. FAF’s his aptitude in hard sciences, and I want our son to have what Mr. FAF has and what I don’t.
When looking at the price of the toys, I reasoned to myself that although the educational game was $20, it was a good investment in our son’s education. I just thought that it would yield great returns in the future.
It wasn’t until I got the toy in the mail that I got so disappointed about how small, light, and flimsy it was. I decided to return the product.
As I spent more time looking for other math games, I saw the exact same product in page 5 and 6 of the Amazon search results that the same products were on sale for $8.
All I had to do was to spend more time looking up more research results to find the best price. I didn’t the first time and deeply regretted it.
If it weren’t for Amazon’s easy return policy, I would have wasted $12 ($20-$8) on a toy I didn’t even like. It’s not to mention the time I spent packing the product to return it to Amazon Fulfillment Center.
After realizing what big mistake I had made, I invested more time looking for the right item, and I did.
Socks & pants for Baby FAF
As winter was approaching the DC area, I got increasingly worried that Baby FAF would get sick. We keep our thermostat at 67 degrees, so it’s not particularly warm in our house.
Our whole family usually has to layer up and wears lots of winter clothes in the house.
As for me, my feet and legs get cold easily, so I suspected that Baby FAF would feel the same way.
Our son just came back from China not long ago, so he doesn’t have a lot of winter clothes. As I felt the temperature in the house getting increasingly cold, I jumped on Amazon, looked up “warm thick socks and pants for boys” and made the purchase within 10 minutes.
Once again, I was extremely disappointed when I got the pants. They were not thick and made of cheap material. I bought two pants for $15 each. My MIL was also puzzled as to why the pants were so expensive.
Later that day, I was folding laundry for Baby FAF when I realized that he has a really warm pair of knit pants that were definitely hand-made.
At the same time, my MIL had been knitting all day at home to kill time and to share her products with her Chinese friend in the neighborhood.
A light bulb went on in my head. I asked my MIL if she could knit thick pants and socks for Baby FAF, and she said yes. In fact, she seemed happy that I even asked her.
Maybe she wasn’t confident that I would like what she makes and assumed that was the reason why I bought clothes online for Baby FAF. Needless to say, I was super happy that I didn’t have to spend the money buying quality clothes for our son.
My MIL usually watches Chinese drama and knits clothes at the same time, so it’s not like I made her do something she doesn’t want to. Mr. FAF then jokingly said that my MIL could now produce winter clothes for our whole family.
It would be ideal, but it would also make my MIL exhausted. We also weren’t sure about the style of those clothes. But we’re sure it’s ok for our toddler.
Related: How We Save On Hubby’s Clothes
When Mr. FAF and I were looking for our dream house, we were outbid twice. I was distraught about losing our dream houses and even sobbed for 30 minutes the second time it happened.
We were waiting for our dream house to show up.
In my mind, I had already moved into those houses and even pictured where to put our furniture and who would stay in what room. After being outside the second time, I was desperate to find a place to call him.
Mr. FAF and I wanted to find a move-in-ready house so that we wouldn’t have to deal with all the contractors. However, after months of not seeing anything we liked, we decided to put a bid on a run-down townhouse that met all of our criteria except for the fact that it would need a lot of work.
I have to admit that it was me who was rushing the purchase. I got Mr. FAF on board and told our realtor about our decision. Knowing us, our realtor tried to prevent us from making a hasty (aka bad) decision.
The house was within our price rage, had the ideal number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and even had a finished walk-out basement.
Right before we put in the bid, our agent made the last attempt to help us avoid making one of the biggest mistakes of our lives by giving us a detailed description of what kind of work we would need to do to bring the house to a livable condition.
After seeing the amount of work and money that would go into the renovation, we balked at the decision. Eventually, we decided to move on with the search and later found the house that we currently live in.
We almost made a $400,000 mistake by rushing to buy a place to call home.
Being impatient can help us speed up our daily activities to get things done. However, impatience can also cause us to make hasty decisions we will later regret due to the lack of research and/or cost-benefit analyses.
I want to move things forward and dread any kind of unnecessary delays. A lot of the decisions that I made in haste ended up costing me even more time and money, which is definitely not an outcome I originally desired.
Sometimes I can see a similar behavior in Mr. FAF, especially when it comes to driving. Mr. FAF is a patient man. However, one area that has cost him so much angst and money is speeding tickets.
I am now more observant of my impatient behavior and try to take the time to think things through. It’s a process that will take time to improve. But I do believe that acknowledging the problem and agreeing to find a way to solve it is the very first key step.