Infamous “bad boy” Justin Bieber got a DUI last night. Given his downward trajectory since his fresh-faced “eenie meenie miney mo lover” days, this moment was somewhat inevitable. And yet I can’t help wondering why an internationally renowned pop star would risk a DUI. Was there not a single member of his entourage telling him alcohol-fueled drag racing is a bad idea? Did he not set up some kind of black car service to follow him around knowing full well that he planned to get wasted?
Running the risk of getting a DUI over the cost of cab fare is an irresponsible, stupid mistake, especially when you are not Justin Bieber and don’t have the funds for an attorney and additional fines. Here are four other wasteful money drains that can be prevented with a little maturity and discretion:
1) Reckless driving. On top of risking your life and the lives of other drivers, bad driving can cost you quite a bit. At the low end, you have hefty fines for moving violations. At the high end, you can get into an accident and be forced to pay for expensive repairs and an increase in insurance payments. Being a responsible driver can save you money and save lives.
2) Parking violations. It never ceases to amaze me how people will nickel and dime their way out of paying for parking when an extra quarter in the meter is much cheaper than a parking ticket. And heaven forbid you ever have to pay for getting your car towed. Be mindful of posted signs, overpay your meter if there is any chance you might be longer than expected and if necessary, walk a few more blocks.
3) Forgotten subscriptions. Many subscription-based products come with free trials in the hope that consumers will exchange payment information for the free product and then forget to cancel the subscription. I’ve definitely fallen prey to this one. I paid for a whole year of credit monitoring (and didn’t log in once!) after I signed up for a free trial to check my credit score before applying for an apartment. If you are going to sign up for a free trial, set a reminder before the due date to make a decision as to whether or not you will keep the service. Also, pay attention to the fine print as some memberships require a few days’ notice prior to cancellation.
4) Banking fees. I understand that times get tough and sometimes you just have to accept that you are going to pay interest or fund a balance transfer. But other banking fees are just irresponsible. Don’t overdraft your account. Just don’t do it. Don’t bounce a check. Don’t miss a credit card payment. And try not to pay ATM fees if you can help it. Even when funds are low, these situations can be avoided by keeping an eye on your cash flow. Be in tune with your finances to prevent these unnecessary costs.
Photo credit: NY Daily News and Getty ThinkStock