Thursday, November 11, 2010

Stupid costs money

I don't have unlimited funds so I try to watch how the money is spent.  The more food I get out of the yard the less money I have to spend at the store.  The less money we spend buying clothes the more money I spend on future preparing.  If I speed while driving and I get a ticket, it's going to cost money.  If I do it a second time it's going to cost even more.  To me, that's just throwing away money.  It's simple.  I'm not sure why it isn't that obvious to others.  Take my son...please! 

Ok, the please part was a joke.  But my son is an example of what not to do.  He and my daughter-in-law and their two kids have had a pretty tough go of it, initially because of reasons beyond their control (a serious accident) but over the last two years, their problems are all their own doing.  They don't have a lot of money and are barely making it by their standards.  I look at what they have and how they spend their money and try to give advice.  I don't give unasked for advice.  That would be a waste of my breath.  On the other hand, if they ask for the advice perhaps every once in a while they should take it. 

My son got a job about 20 miles away from where they live.  They didn't have a car at that time and there isn't any public transportation to get to his job.  It was a job and after being unemployed for almost a year he needed to take it.  He wanted to get a car.  I told him that they couldn't afford a car they should move.  They could live in the town where the new company was located.  He could walk or ride a bike to work.  No, he went out and spent their last welfare check on a cheap car.  It did get him to and from his job for a month so all was good.  Then the car broke down.  He didn't save any of his money from the new job, instead they went on a spending spree. 

He then sold his 46 inch color tv (he didn't have a job for a year but somehow bought this tv while on welfare...I think from selling food stamps) and used that money to buy another cheap car.  I still said they should move.  I'd drive my truck and trailer to move them.  They moved (without my help) but to a different apartment a little further from his new job and for $100 a month more in rent.  After all, he had a job now.   I told him to pretend that they were still on welfare for a while and save the money.  No, they spent every bit going out to eat, going to movies, buying the kids new clothes, etc.  Oh yeah, and another 46 inch color tv. 

Then the car broke down.  Two cars in about two months was more than he could stand.  He went to the nearest used car dealer that sells rebuilt totaled cars at ridiculous prices and high interest.  Now he has a $300 a month car payment for the next four years paying on a ten year old car, oh, I mean SUV! with over 100,000 miles.  But, it's a decent car, even if he is paying twice the value of it. 

I shouldn't be complaining much.  After all, I get to see those two grandkids each weekend.  Never mind that the parents are still skimping because they now have a higher rent and a car payment.  Insurance is required in California and he has to pay this as part of his monthly car loan.  They are charging him $60 a month for insurance.  Not too bad if it was full coverage.  It isn't.  It's the minimum coverage to pay for someone elses vehicle if he hits someone else.  It will pay back the loan.  He would get nothing out of it.

California has a law saying you can't hold a cell phone while you drive.  He got caught doing this a couple of months ago and got a fine.  He paid it.  All was well.  Last Monday he got caught again driving while holding the cell phone.  This time didn't go as well.  He was told that his license was suspended due to an unpaid speeding ticket.  Oops, he figured that since he got that ticket while in Oregon nobody would notice.  They towed the car.  He is in the process of getting the car back.  After paying the fines, getting his license reinstated, and getting the car out of storage it will cost him about $1,000. 

I think about a thousand dollars and how would I spend it?  Stupid costs money.  He is spending the money and getting nothing tangible in return.  Sure he gets his car back but if he didn't hold the stupid phone to his ear in the first place he wouldn't have been pulled over.  None of this would have happened.  What was so important that he had to call?  He wanted to know what was for dinner! 

One thousand dollars?  Two days ago I was excited because I had a spare $98.

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