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The Tale of Two Cab Rides

by J. Money on Wednesday, September 12, 2012

nyc taxi

Today’s post is about two cab rides: One I gladly accepted in order to better my life, and the other I was forced into in order to help my wife. Bear with me here ;)

The time I took a $65 cab instead of an $18 Super Shuttle

Last week at this time I was getting pumped up about our Financial Blogger Conference starting the following day. I had taken a look at the schedule to semi plan my first few days there, and was elated to see that one of the things the organizer had put together was a free tour of the Denver Mint!  Where they make tons and tons of money, as well as tons of tons of financial bloggers tons of happy ;)

The only problem? My flight was getting in exactly 55 minutes before the tour.  And if you’ve ever been to the Denver airport, you know it’s at least a 30 min trip to the city on a GOOD day. Not including the time it takes to get from terminal to terminal, or the wait you have to do to pick up your bag. So needless to say I was pretty worried of missing this golden opportunity to be with my fellow coins.

As luck would have it, though, it happened to be a good day! We landed right on the scheduled minute, my bag was waiting for me when I got to the carousel (unlike on my return flight where my bag got lost!), and I had approximately 35 minutes left to pick out my transportation and high tail it outta there. The only problem was the major discrepancy in cost.

Route 1 was the most convenient, but also the most direct – a cab at $58 plus tip (We’ll call it $65). The other – a slow as molasses blue Super Shuttle which would have saved me some pesos, to the tune of $40!, but would have also cost me the tour in return. There was no way that thing was getting to my destination in under 35 minutes – I’ve been fooled by them before. So I sucked up my panties, hopped in that cab as fast as I could, and off we went to make a grown man happy :) With a good chance of making that same grown man cry had he missed it AND had to pay $40 more to do so.

But I’m happy to report that I not only made it, but also had one of the best experiences ever! And even came away with a new coin for my recent collection – a one ounce uncirculated silver coin. Which you now know a little more about if you read yesterday’s post :)

The moral of the story? Sometimes money is meant to be spent – even if people give you the judgy face.  I can’t tell you how many people thought it was stupid I paid so much just to take a crazy (to them) tour. I know not everyone’s a fan of that kinda stuff, but the important thing to remember is that we all prioritize our money DIFFERENTLY.  And that’s okay!  As long as WE’RE doing the prioritizing ourselves, and not those thumbing their noses at us just ‘cuz they’d rather spend it on throw pillows or malt balls. It’s our money to spend however we want!

The time I took a $100 cab ‘cuz my plane was delayed

While that ride TO the conference was perfection as we know it, the one back home was anything but. My starting flight not only got delayed causing me to miss my connecting one, but I then ended up in an entirely different airport with one less bag than I had initially checked. At midnight, and on a Sunday.  Now with one less major mode of transportation at my disposal (my wife – who kindly asked that I find my own way home as she could no longer pick me up anymore, and whom I didn’t dare battle with after leaving her alone with a screaming 2-month old for 4 days straight :()

So for a second time this week, I had to make the dreaded Taxi vs Super Shuttle choice again. Only this time I really didn’t want to spend any more money than I had to considering the long weekend I just had away with hotels/flights/food/etc. I preferred to get home quicker to check on the baby and make sure all was fine at home, but at that point it wasn’t going to make much of a difference had I shown up at 1 a.m. or 2 a.m. – the only thing that was in jeopardy at that point was my patience. And that I could live with if it meant saving $60-$70 dollars this time around.

With my choice easily made, I walked up to those big blue ticket counter thingies, asked the guy when the next bus out is, and to my dismay find that the last one had already gone for the night.  Leaving me yet again in the cabbie’s corner, forced to unload some more of my tired little dollars… And one hour and $100 later (I live damn far from that airport), I’m home and finished with the decision making once and for all. Ugh…

The moral of THIS story?  Even when you prioritize your spending, you STILL sometimes get jacked!  But there’s really nothing you can do to avoid it, so you just gotta roll with the punches and hope that the future plays nicer with you next time. Sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose.  And the more padding you have to catch you fall (aka savings), the better you’ll bounce back out of it too! Had I needed that $100 for my mortgage or something, I’d have been in pretty deep doo-doo.

So prioritization and rolling with the punches. These are the two things to think about while living your days today, okay? :) One may be harder than the other, but they’re both super important to master. Perhaps you’re even dealing with one of them right now? Anyone want to share?

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(Photo by S. Diddy)


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{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Lance @ Money Life and More September 12, 2012 at 7:11 am

Congrats on spending money to do what you want! I bet some people would have just missed the mint tour even if they could have afforded the cab ride.

As far as the return home taxi, were there any car rental counters open? It seems like even that would have been cheaper than a $100 cab ride!

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2 Heather Stephens September 12, 2012 at 7:42 am

I would have made the same choice to try to make the tour! Even though I get to expense that kind of stuff I have always chosen the frugal path to take the super shuttle instead of a cab. Well, unless there was someone to share the cab with, which brought the cost down to about the same or less than the shuttle. I made an exception my last trip to New York for BlogHer. I took a ground link car back to the airport since my flight was crazy early and the super shuttle recommended I get picked up 3 hours before my flight. As exhausted as I felt the night before, after the conference and all the night time events, it was heavenly getting that extra bit of sleep and made my return trip home so much more pleasant! Bet that little baby had big smiles for you!

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3 Mysti September 12, 2012 at 8:50 am

Knowing the DC area (I grew up in Fairfax Co)….I am going to guess you flew into Dulles? Cuz if you were at Reagan (although I still call it National….), you could have taken the Metro, which probably would have gotten you closer to home. And you could have called a cab at that point. Am I close?

Just be thankful that you had options. My husband’s car broke down last week at 11:15pm, and he called me (I was in bed) to come get him. I got to wake up two sleeping children (one is Autistic) to go get Daddy. Not fun!

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4 Stephanie September 12, 2012 at 9:04 am

Well, if we’re going to talk prioritization of money stuff, I’ll continue the theme and talk transportation. I live a little over an hour outside New York City. My husband is a comedian, and we both have a number of friends who live in or near the city, so we usually find ourselves there once or twice a month. Round-trip bus tickets from our town to Port Authority are up to $42.

For an extra 20-ish minutes on the PATH trains, we save a TON of money each trip by driving into Jersey City (about $15 round trip in gas, you can avoid tolls by taking a <5 minute detour, and since we only go on evenings and weekends, we can find free street parking) and taking the PATH into Manhattan ($4 round-trip per person). Even with just one person, we save upwards of $20 per trip, but when I went to see Newsies over the summer with some friends, that savings went up to about $150. Definitely worth the extra 30-40 minutes/trip, at least in my opinion! ;-)

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5 Diane September 12, 2012 at 9:49 am

Totally agree with you that this is one of those occasions where money should be used to make your life better. I have made similar choices (arriving home at 2 am from a delayed flight).

But – Dude…”Bare” with you? Um….unless you want us to throw off our clothes and romp naked in the streets, I think you mean “bear.”

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6 Kevin @ Thousandaire.com September 12, 2012 at 10:33 am

Me and 4 other guys met up at the airport to split a cab 5 ways. We got the direct route to the hotel and it cost each of us about $12.

Too bad I had already paid for the shuttle. :(

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7 Joe @ Retire By 40 September 12, 2012 at 11:15 am

Sorry to hear that. $100 is a lot of money, but it’s worth it to get home to the little guy.
We split the cab 4 ways with Jeff Rose to FinCon for $15 + tip each. On the way back we filled up the Super Shuttle and got a straight ride to the airport for $15 + tip each. It worked out pretty well and it was great to share the ride with you and Ashley. hahaha… I was so worn out from FiinCon so I couldn’t talk much though.

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8 LB September 12, 2012 at 11:41 am

I usually plan on there being problems when it comes to airplane rides. When I went to NY I ended up having to fly to NJ, because at the time that was the only flight in on a Sunday (they have since changed that YAH!). I then hit rush hour traffic and had to sit on the train into NYC for over an hour, then sit on the bus while figuring out which stop to take, because for some reason without GPS or knowing the city you have no idea where the bus will stop (one stopped in the middle of an intersection to let people out). I then had to walk to my hotel and by the time I got there I had missed lunch and almost dinner. Good thing I had planned on disaster, because otherwise I would have been starving and hating it. Instead I looked at it with fun and excitement.

I totally think the mint is worth it, but I love money. I haven’t visited the one here in Denver for a couple of years, but would LOVE to see the one in Pennsylvania. I am trying to get my friend, who is on a business trip, to stop there. I mean he is coming to visit me in November to go to a Broncos game, and it wouldn’t be THAT big of an inconvenience for him. OK it would be a HUGE inconvenience for him, but priorities right? :p

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9 Ashley @ Money Talks September 12, 2012 at 12:17 pm

At least you didn’t have to spend the night in a hotel in some random city. You did get home that night. Even if you didn’t have your bag. :(

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10 J. Money September 12, 2012 at 12:23 pm

@Lance @ Money Life and More – You know, that DID actually cross my mind, but then the thought of all the hassle of returning it the next day on no sleep and lots of work built up, I opted to not even ask them. Figured it would save me at least $50 though… good call :)
@Heather Stephens – Oh yeah, I do get to write off these cab rides at least too – that should save a few pennies later! Was great seeing you again this weekend :)
@Mysti – Oh no!!!! That sucks, sorry to hear :( And you’re right – Dulles ;) Although by the time I was ready to leave the airport, the metro would have been closed anyways at National yeah? I think it closes at 12am on Sundays? I could be wrong…
@Stephanie – Cool!! There you go! I miss NYC :) Lived there for a couple of years after college, and then it drained all my money, haha…
@Diane – HAH! Oddly enough I did pause for a second to think if I was using that word correctly, but then thought “Bear? What does an animal have anything to do with this?” so I stuck with it and didn’t take the time to investigate. Oops.
@Kevin @ Thousandaire.com – Another reason I never plan on ground transportation ’till I get to places ;) Cool you got to hang w/ friends though! On our way back to the airport I was considering splitting a cab as well, but a few guys convinced Super Shuttle to give us a ride super cheap and not take the cab. Ended up costing $15 + tips! Got real lucky there.
@Joe @ Retire By 40 – Yeah!!! That’s right, you were in that shuttle with us! Haha… thanks for organizing that :) Saved me even more from all my other dumb cab rides! Hope you and the wife made it home safely and all that stuff… (though guess you did if you’re leaving comments here, eh?)
@LB – I’ll go there with you!! Maybe we can drive separately from our different areas of the country, and all meet up there? How fun would that be?!
@Ashley @ Money Talks – Shoooot, you got that straight. Baby and momma wouldn’t have been too happy with me then ;) So great hanging with you!

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11 LB September 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm

J.,

Sounds like the best road trip ever! Maybe we could plan something for next Spring? How was the mint here in Denver?

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12 StackingCash September 12, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Ah the dilemma’s of personal finance. I encounter many people making that decision everyday. Sometimes money is more important, sometimes time is more important. So many times we beat ourselves with the “cheapy” stick which saves us money but makes life crappy. I have a big problem with that. But I am adjusting. Seeing you spend money with little regret but always concious of the pros and cons inspires me :) I’ve begin to outsource chores and purchase things with less regret. Finding the right balance will definately bring about some happiness. Now if I can get myself to justify buying a new computer and a bigger subwoofer for my car…

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13 Scott September 12, 2012 at 1:35 pm

I constantly run that opportunity cost math through my head for things – I find it really helps to make a decision when deciding “OK, is it worth $X for me to take the more expensive option”.

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14 DC @ Young Adult Money September 12, 2012 at 3:13 pm

Honestly you can only plan ahead so much. There is going to be those times that you have to bite the bullet and pay more than you’d like for something like transportation. At least you made it to the Mint in time!

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15 Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager September 12, 2012 at 3:29 pm

Thanks! Needed a message like this today. It’s all about rolling with the punches.

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16 Paula @ Afford Anything September 12, 2012 at 6:47 pm

I had a similiar experience! My flight home from FINCON wasn’t scheduled to leave until Monday. That meant I needed a place to stay on Sunday night.

I planned to check out of the hotel, board a public bus (with all my luggage), ride down to a Denver suburb, walk 4-5 blocks to a friend’s house, and stay there while my friend is out of town. (She left me a key).

But by the end of the conference, I was exhausted. And that plan sounded terrible. Ugh.

So I called the hotel desk and asked what it would cost to stay an extra night. $209, they said. Yikes! At that rate, I’d rather take the bus / walk.

Fortunately, I found some awesome bloggers who snagged Sunday night at the $99 rate, and they let me stay with them in their room (roommates!!), bringing the cost down to $33 for each of us ($38 with tax). Hooray!

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17 debtgirl September 12, 2012 at 7:34 pm

I know, I get “jacked” all the time! I have a 13 year old and she is constantly needing *UM* wanting something!
;-) Great site!

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18 Edward Antrobus III September 12, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Last December, we were in NYC walking around and being touristy until my buddy who lives there got out of work so we could meet up for dinner. Not knowing any better, we got into one of those black cars that are kind of cabs but not quite. Guy charged us $20 for a mile and a half! When I told my friend he just laughed. Turns out you can negotiate a price ahead of time, but otherwise you’re just going to get ripped off.

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19 The Financial Blogger September 13, 2012 at 11:23 am

I think money is made to be spent :-).

I always rather spend more and try to make it. Sometimes you lose but you live an interesting life. If you just pile up your cash, you might be rich but your life isn’t that fun :-).

We actually had to take a cab in Denver to see the Football game…. that was ’cause we got to the Rookies’ Sadium instead of the Bronco’s… darn Canadian Tourist! heh? hahaha!

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20 J. Money September 14, 2012 at 3:49 pm

@LB – Totally was! And that Mint is hot yo! Though I don’t have anything else to compare it too since it was my first ;) But honestly, how can any place housing so much money be bad?
@StackingCash – “Sometimes money is more important, sometimes time is more important.” – SO. TRUE. And as long as you adjust whenever those times fluctuate, you’ll be a-okay :) Though easily said than done. (And 100% get that subwoofer! That is always worth spending $ on! Haha…)
@Scott – Yep! It’s all about stopping and thinking about it first – even for just a few mins – before acting on impulse. Makes you feel a ton better :)
@DC @ Young Adult Money – I know, right? I’d have been suuuuper pissed if I paid a lot AND missed it, boy… I was a lucky one that day.
@Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager – You know it!
@Paula @ Afford Anything – Hooray!! Good for you!! That same thing happened to me *last* FINCON and I did make that trek out of the hotel, only into a crap-ass one @ $50/night, haha… I should have tried cozying up to other bloggers staying around first ;)
@debtgirl – Haha, thanks for stopping by :)
@Edward Antrobus III – Oh boy, at least it wasn’t $40/mile! I’ve seen some crazy freakin’ modes of transportation when living in NYC, but sometimes you just get caught off guard.
@The Financial Blogger – HAH! At least you had a killer time there ;) I was jealous I didn’t stay behind and join you guys – looked like so much fun!

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