Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Thoughts On Time and Money

I have spent a lot of time in the past few days performing maintenance on things I own: myself, my dog & my car.

My stress levels have been elevated lately and thus been making me sick to my stomach. That ended up with a trip to the school clinic and a couple of prescriptions. The visits are free and prescriptions are reduced since we pay medical fees in our tuition. I lost about 2 days of productivity, but suffered even more days since I felt bad. It is pretty terrible how stress can wreak so much havoc on the body, especially when things happen that we have no control over. Money spent on Rx: $31.

The dog was WAY overdue for her vaccines and what not. I found a low-cost clinic that seemed like a good deal. My vet wanted $130 for an exam & shots plus the cost of heart worm preventative. The clinic charged about $40 for the shots and another $40 for the heart worm pills. That seems like a really good deal until you are standing in a line of people 20 deep and contending with a pit bull mix that has clearly not been socialized! It took the same amount of time for the low-cost vs. the regular vet, however, it was not even a remotely calm event. I don't think it would be worth the extra $100 for less chaos, but it is too bad that more realistic pricing usually equals craziness. Hopefully there is a happy medium to be found the next time around (like a vet with a real office that charges less than my regular one, but maybe more than the clinic). Money spent on dog: $84

I got my oil changed a few weeks ago and they informed me that my tires, alignment and brakes were bad! Well the tires were definitely ready to be replaced and I got that done last week. I was ready to tackle the alignment today. I have family that works in the automotive industry and they recommended a place that was pretty far away. I trust them though, so I drove the 20 minutes to get there, yet still worried about what the damage was (to the car AND my wallet). It turned out to be a pleasant experience with the tech telling me that nothing was wrong. Apparently the model of car I have ALL have slight camber (tilting) of the wheels. He informed me that if I ever changed the struts, that I could then have some work done to correct the manufacturers design flaw. Thank goodness for people with expertise! He totally had an opportunity to upsell me and hit my wallet hard, but he didn't. There wasn't even a charge for the inspection. And for the record, he didn't know about my family recommending them until after he gave me the good news. I wish there were more businesses like that in the world!
Money spent on car: $0 (not including gas to get there)

The money spent was $115, but the time cost was huge. I think we pay an enormous premium for convenience in our society. I could have easily tripled my costs if I wasn't trying to be conscious of my spending. I feel fortunate that I have more free time than I did with my 9-hour a day job since I can better research and compare things. That is one of the best perks about living more simply and mindfully.

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