It’s Nice When Money Can Fix Your Problems

Kyle and I did something supremely boneheaded last month that cost us a pretty penny – yes, you will be reading about it on Friday in my monthly budget review.


To lay the scene, every year Kyle and I share tickets to our university’s men’s basketball team’s home games with a group of students in Kyle’s program.  We camp out together for 36 hours to enter a lottery to win season tickets and then we split the season tickets among the group members, each drawing games.  (This year, we won 4 tickets for 10 people.)  One important detail is that the season tickets are not individual tickets for every game, but a single card that permits entry to every home game.  So we have 4 ticket cards and a detailed spreadsheet as to who has drawn each game and who will pass off each season ticket card to whom between each home game.


Kyle and I attended a game on February 15 and the next home game was February 22.  We originally had drawn the February 22 game, but because we were called out of town we had to trade those tickets, updating the spreadsheet accordingly.  (And if you watched the ending to that game, you will understand how even much more painful trading those tickets became in retrospect!)  On February 20 we flew from RDU to LAX for our weekend celebrating our friend’s wedding and visiting with friends and family.  Can you see where this is going?  We realized just after boarding our plane at RDU that we were still in possession of two season ticket cards that our friends needed in two days.


I can’t even describe to you how mad we were at ourselves and how ashamed we were for forgetting to pass off the ticket cards.  Our dismay was compounded by the fact that this particular game on the 22nd was slated to be the best of the season and since we had to miss it we for sure didn’t want to force our groupmates to miss it!  We’ve never done anything like this before – our group has always been careful to note when people were leaving town for winter break, for instance, and to designate someone staying in town as the holder of the ticket cards so no one will miss a game after returning to town.  We just had such busy days leading up to our flight and had a lot on our mind other than basketball!  Normally ticket cards aren’t passed until the day before the game, so our groupmates probably wouldn’t have contacted us to get the tickets until Friday, anyway.  Ugh!


So here is where money was able to solve the stupid predicament we put ourselves in.  We used FedEx to overnight the tickets from Los Angeles to Durham.  We considered using a FedEx dropoff box during our layover in Atlanta, which would have been slightly cheaper, but Kyle didn’t want to trust such a time-sensitive package to an airport dropoff location.  So the morning after our arrival in LA, we hurried ourselves to a FedEx location and got our package into the system earlier than it would have been if we had abandoned it in Atlanta.  It arrived on time and our friends attended the game using the tickets.


water pouring into gobletThis kind of mistake can easily be characterized as a dumb waste of money.  And for sure I wish we hadn’t done it – it was embarrassing for us and inconvenient for everyone involved.  But I prefer to just appreciate that money (and FedEx) was able to get us out of the mess we created.  Kyle and I are no longer living paycheck-to-paycheck so we didn’t have to stress about what that $55.50 would do to our budget.  We just pulled some extra from our general savings account, which serves as our buffer when unexpected expenses come up.  So thank you, general savings account, for enabling us to rectify our error.  Money can’t compare to obligations to friends, or attending amazing basketball games.


Have you ever done something truly stupid that unnecessarily cost you a bunch of money?  Do you stop to appreciate that you have money when you’re able to use it to get you out of a jam or improve your life?


photo from Free Digital Photos


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Filed under: mistakes

32 Responses to "It’s Nice When Money Can Fix Your Problems"

  1. My last totally stupid move was actually quite recent, to be honest! When planning our spring trip overseas, I realized that the cheapest way to fly was to go from ATL to NYC, then from NYC to Dublin. I booked the NYC-Dublin tickets first, and then went to book the ATL-NYC set.. and accidentally booked a flight that arrived in NYC four hours AFTER our flight to Dublin was scheduled to leave from there! I was FREAKING out, but the only redeeming thing here was that Delta allows you to make changes without the hundreds of dollars in change fees if you call within 24 hours of booking. So thankfully, we only had to pay $20 out of pocket to get on the correct flight to NYC, but I was still kicking myself for failing to double and triple check I had selected the right flight before booking! $20 isn’t much, but it was still $20 that wouldn’t have been spent had I not made a really silly mistake.
    Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial recently posted..Experimenting with the Seinfeld Productivity Hack

    1. Emily says:

      Close call! Good thing Delta was amenable to the change. I’m always paranoid about making that kind of mistake – I call Kyle over to look at the order specs before placing them.

  2. Bless your heart, Emily. I have made many forgetful mistakes like that over my lifetime (like the time I partied way too hard at a rave, and lost my wallet with hundreds in cash…story for another time).

    But good on you for making it right and sending the passes back!
    Done by Forty recently posted..Relative Costs

    1. Emily says:

      Lol ‘bless your heart’ – secret Southerner?

      I can’t say I’ve ever lost my wallet, but I did spontaneously go night swimming in the ocean with it in my pocket… still using it! Every now and then I find a grain of sand.

  3. Money Beagle says:

    A few years ago we were planning a trip down to Florida with my in-laws. We were between two weeks and I thought a decision was made so I booked the tickets. Turned out things weren’t ‘set in stone’ and when they were, my dates were wrong. I had to pay $300 in change fees.
    Money Beagle recently posted..Where Are Your Old Employers Today?

    1. Emily says:

      Ooooooops. Miscommunication. Those are hefty fees!

  4. SarahN says:

    I think it the golden lining of savings, and why, since I was young, I’ve always wanted savings!! Here’s some silly things I’ve done:

    – Booked 6 tickets from Sydney to Thailand (my family is 5 people). That was about $400 to cancel, but still better than the total cost. And my parents footed that bill, sadly!

    – BF & I missed a connecting flight just this past holiday to Vietnam. Shush, this is the first the internet (and my family) will know of it! We just sucked up our mistake, booked on the next flight (thank goodness there was a next flight with this budget carrier) and paid the $200-300 more. Thankfully, both of us are savers, and have money to get us out of this stitch, and not ruin our accommodation bookings etc. IN the end, it had almost no impact other than financial!

    I tend to think money can solve or create so many issues. Like when people want to quit a job but ‘can’t’ without a set period of notice. I always remind them, it’s notice or pay – you can give no notice, and forfeit any further money. And if things are really that bad for you mental health (and your finances are in order), then walk away today. I have had to do it, and savings made it so much easier!
    SarahN recently posted..Sorry all…

    1. Emily says:

      Ack ack ack! So many travel snafus! But like you said, having the savings makes it go down easier and gives you options.

  5. Alice says:

    In a similar move, Keegan borrowed my student ID to study for the PE exam in Duke’s library while I worked… and then took it back to CA with him. D’oh!

    1. Emily says:

      I hope you didn’t need it immediately and it could return by regular mail. Oops!

  6. My brother and I had matching suitcases and were going on a trip, after some airport drama, I wound up not going on the trip. When I got home, I realized I had taken my brothers suitcase and he was now in utah with none of his clothes. We had to overnight it. THAT was expensive.
    Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life recently posted..Pets Without the Price Tag

    1. Emily says:

      Oh, I can easily see how that would happen with the matching luggage and the confusing/stressful situation. Yikes!

  7. Kelly says:

    Not that it will make you feel better about the mistake, but if you divide the $50 by the number of games you went to, and how close you are to the court, it’s still an amazing at price for those tickets! The rest of us would be paying a pretty penny for further away seats, if we could get them at all 🙂

    1. Emily says:

      Yes, it’s still a steal of a deal. You’re making me sad about graduating!

  8. Tarynkay says:

    I just read somewhere that if you have a problem that can be fixed with money, then you don’t have much of a problem. I found that really helpful in sorting out what was an actual problem and what was an easily solved inconvenience. Of course, right after I read that, my husband got into a fender bender because he was rushing to the airport, trying to make his flight on time. But no one was hurt, so money will fix everything in this situation. Anyhow, it made me feel much better about the whole thing.

    1. Emily says:

      That’s true unless you don’t have the money… or is that a separate problem? 🙂 Yes, it is a good attitude!

  9. This made my stomach flip! We’ve all had those awful “oh, shit” realizations. Glad you were able to FedEx the tickets back. I had a very trivial moment like this last October. I was flying to LA to attend USC family weekend (my little sister goes there). It’s been a bit of a running joke that I don’t much care for LA because I live in NYC, but I think it means a lot to my sister when I rep her school gear. Anyway, I have a USC hat that she’d gotten me on my last visit and I’d laid it on my bed to wear on the plane. As I was running out the door to catch the car for the airport I left it sitting on my bed and realized it when I was in the security line. No joke, I considered hailing a cab to run home and get it because I had ample time before my flight. Anyway, I ended up just running to the USC store when I got to her campus to get a new one — but I certainly didn’t need to spend that extra $15 for a hat I already had. Then again, I have incredibly pale Irish skin and needed to protection from the sun! 😛
    Broke Millennial recently posted..Traditional IRA: Saving Broke Millennials Hundreds of Dollars

    1. Emily says:

      That’s so sweet that you bought the second hat to please your sister! When I fly I tend to have a short list of absolute must haves (ID and birth control) that I triple check and accept that anything else can be easily replaced if we forget it.

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  11. This is exactly why I like being cheap and frugal with my money. You never know when something silly can throw a rock in your budget, like an unexpected medical bill (my husband had a cavity filled for $150 and I had an ER visit for a dislocated toe for $100 all in the past 4 months) or something similar can throw you off. Glad your friends got the tickets!
    Tara @ Streets Ahead Living recently posted..Why I don’t do monthly budgets

    1. Emily says:

      Yes, it is so comforting to know you have some margin when unexpected expenses come up. You just go from crisis to crisis when living paycheck to paycheck.

  12. Every time I loose a Metrocard I feel pretty stupid and irritated that I have to spend more money to fix the problem. On the plus side, my tire gave up the ghost this past month and buying a new one cost almost $200. It was inconvenient, but it didn’t destroy me financially – like it could’ve in the past. I was irritated to not be able to invest as much last month, but overall, it didn’t effect any of my set budgets at all. And that was a nice feeling.
    Mel @ brokeGIRLrich recently posted..I Love Free Stuff: 4 Great Free Sample Websites

    1. Emily says:

      The possibility of car repairs is a really worrying specter. Thankfully with sufficient cash flow like you have or with some emergency savings like we have, it’s not a big problem!

  13. Cash Rebel says:

    Those situations always make me feel so silly, but it’s great to be able to buy yourself out of them. But once you realize that you made the mistake, it’s already a sunk cost, so paying that $55 was really the only option.
    Cash Rebel recently posted..Making time to write

    1. Emily says:

      It’s not so bad when you really don’t have any choice but to spend the money. I don’t like the agonizing and going back and forth if it’s a choice.

  14. That stinks to forget but I am sure your friends were very appreciative that you made the extra effort. Assuming I am correct in knowing which game it was, I am sure they were even extra appreciative! Mistakes happen, all you can do is try and fix it and then move on, which it looks like what you are doing!
    Jon @ Our Fine Adventure recently posted..Our 2003 Chevy Cavalier

    1. Emily says:

      I’m just glad the tickets arrived on time! And yes, it probably is the game you’re thinking of – history was made! 🙂

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