Wednesday, September 3, 2008
I tend to be a good saver of money. I find security (right or wrong) in knowing that I have money in the bank. Being a saver of money has been hard for me during the past year. My graduate stipend in about a third of what I was making while I was working, and if you consider the 12 percent of my salary my former employer was putting into my 403 account, I'm making considerably less these days. Wanting to live within my budget and still save some money, I am always looking for ways to save.
This past summer I have spent countless hours in different grocery stores trying to determine where we can get the cheapest food. For instance, eggs, nuts, bread, and veggie burgers are cheapest at Target. Salsa is cheapest at Safeway; soy "deli" meats are best bought at Whole Foods; and cereal is only cheap when bought on sale. I'm proud that I have figured out a way to save money on food (and still not have to drive out to the 'burbs).
This morning, however, I feel like my penny pinching could have gone a bit too far. I went to school this morning, but didn't need to be there until mid-morning. That being the case, I decided to metro to the end of the Green Line, take the bus to BWI airport, and then take the light rail into Baltimore. Yes, it sounds like a miserable commute, but if you time it well and have a good book on hand it isn't bad at all (and only 15 minutes longer than taking the Marc Train directly into Camden Yards). Additionally, this route provides me with a lot of flexibility in terms of when I leave home/school as the Marc trains only run back and forth during rush hour.
In order to get the 10am bus to BWI, I left my house around 9:20am (just to be sure I was on time). I got to the metro station by our house and realized that the higher/morning rush hour metro rates were still in effect. Wanting to save LESS THAN A DOLLAR I stood at the entrance to the station willing the arriving train to arrive just a few seconds late so the clock would change to 9:31am and I could get the discounted rate.
Unfortunately, the train wasn't running late. I had a choice to make... I could either wait eight more minutes and take the next train (probably missing the 10am bus) to save 85 cents, or I could spend the money and make my connections as planned and arrive to school on time. Surprisingly, this was a tough decision for me to make. I was really set on getting the cheaper rate and actually thought about screwing with my pre-planned schedule and possibly being late for a meeting.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!?
In the end, I forked over the money for the rush-hour rate and made it to school on time, as planned. And I believe this was the right decision.
But, seriously, how far am I willing to go to save a few dollars? Am I too reliant on money for security? too much of a penny pincher? completely out of my mind?
How far is too far when it comes to saving money?