The Friday Tax

I’ve been at the doctor’s office every time my kids have been scheduled to get shots.   I let them know what to expect before the shot, hold their legs still during,  and comfort them after.   It’s not pleasant, but it is a bonding experience.  It builds trust. My kids know that if I tell them something won’t hurt, it won’t, because I tell them when it will.   Unpleasantness is never a surprise.    Somehow, this policy hasn’t led to a fear of the doctor.  They always know what to expect and how tough I’m expecting them to be, so they don’t worry.

Last Friday, it was time for the unpleasant duty. Both of the girls had checkups and one was due for shots.   I took the afternoon off to meet my wife and kids at the clinic.

It was a beautiful day.  It was warm, the sun was shining, and traffic was light.  The windows were down and music was playing; it was an almost perfect start to the weekend.

Did I mention I have a lead foot?

“No, honey, I don’t think we need to buy that” certainly loses some of it’s effect shortly after “Uh, honey?  I just paid the voluntary driving-too-fast tax.”

For days, I heard,  “Well, I wasn’t the one who got a speeding ticket!”   This sounds like nagging, but it’s not.   I am normally the one issuing reminders about spending and saving.   This time, it was her turn.   It’s not my job to hold her accountable.   It’s our job–jointly–to hold each other accountable.   If I mess up–and I did–she is perfectly within her rights to hold me feet to the fire. I certainly don’t hesitate when the roles are reversed.

I haven’t had a ticket in almost 12 years, so this isn’t a habitual problem.    It is an expense that should have been avoided.

Now, I’ve got to take a day off of work and go to court to try to keep it off of my record, so it won’t affect my insurance rates.   That means court costs on top of the fine.

Monetary weakness or a lapse in judgment can  derail goals.    We haven’t destroyed our budget for the month, but it’s not an insignificant amount of money.  I try figure enough padding into our budget that this isn’t painful, but it is money that could have been “snowflaked” onto our debt. It could have meant another $150 in the vacation fund.   That is disappointing.

It’s time to establish the habit of driving the speed limit.

Update:  This post has been included in the Money Hacks Carnival.