Day 63 | $35,083 paid | $55,634 till freedom
Ugh. I hate eating my words, but it looks like I’ll probably end up doing that here. After getting back from a ridiculously awesome weekend in Asheville, NC watching my two good friends get married and hanging out with the whole crew for two unforgettable nights, I don’t think I can refuse to go to Faith and Luke’s wedding in Chicago in April.
Watching Natalie and Navneet exchange vows was completely moving. The ceremony took place outdoors at a ranch. The bride, seated next to her father, rolled up to the ceremony in a white, horse-drawn carriage. A river ran behind the arbor where the two exchanged their vows, and a small waterfall slightly upstream provided some complementary audio to the wedding songs. The sun setting behind the foothills brought out the oranges and reds on the leaves of the tall trees surrounding the small ceremony. And as Natalie and Navneet kissed for the first time as a married couple, a flock of geese flew by overhead and honked their well wishes. I was touched, thankful I was wearing dark sunglasses, and realized then and there that I could not miss a similar moment in Faith and Luke’s lives.
Total costs for this trips (excluding the flight) comes to $178.
- Gift – $50
- Food and drinks - $80
- Rental car - $35 (after split)
- Parking – $13 (after split)
The best financial story from the entire weekend occurred today. My buddy, Khalid, got his tickets earlier than the rest of the group, and due to reasons I still don’t completely understand, he decided to fly into Greensboro, NC instead of Asheville, which is 3 hours away. I felt bad for the guy–and this was pre-NMHD–so I decided to fly into Greensboro with him and split the cost of a rental car. Roadtrip!
Fast forward to today. Our flight left at 11:20 AM on Sunday from Greensboro, so if we wanted to arrive at the recommended 60 minutes prior to departure, we had to leave at around 7 to drive the three hours, fuel up the car, return the car, and get our tickets and go through security. That’s already cutting it quite close, and it’s easier said than done, especially since the house where I was staying was the designated spot for the after-party. As the reception was drawing to a close at around 11 PM on Saturday, we transferred the kegs and liquor to our house, cranked the tunes, and had a pretty wild party till about 3 AM on Sunday morning.
I woke up to my alarm at 6:45 AM and looked around for Khalid in the very quiet, very dark house to make sure he was rolling. I shined a flashlight on each sleeping body. No sign of him, but his clothes were scattered all about. I called his cell three times and got his voicemail each time. I assumed he was in the other house–I had seen him talking to one of the bridesmaids the night before and…well…
I got packed and then looked for the car keys for the rental car. Due to somebody’s (not mine) drunken antics from the night before, the keys were nowhere to be seen. I sprinted over to the other house in the 29-degree morning, stormed into the house, found Khalid sawing logs, and woke him up. He was completely belligerent and asked me why I was waking him up at three in the morning. I told him to focus and that we would miss our flight if we didn’t hurry.
I’ll fast-forward here–we eventually found the keys, got Khalid packed, and took off at 7:30. Now, with my driving record, I was in no position to speed, but Khalid assured me he was still drunk, so that meant I had to drive. I put the cruise control at five over and left it there. Good thing, too, because we passed not one, but two speed traps on our way to the airport.
We arrived at the airport street entrance at 10:20. We had an empty tank, and I had passed a couple of gas stations when I exited the freeway seven miles ago, but I had wanted to get as close to the airport as possible before stopping for gas. It turned out that those gas stations were the nearest ones available, so we had to make a game-time decision: pay the inflated rental car company fuel cost, or spend about 20 minutes fueling up on our own and potentially miss our flight.
Khalid told me he didn’t think that rental car companies put a premium on fuel, and that we should just drop the car off. A part of me wanted to drive 90 mph to the gas station and fuel up, while the other part of me wanted to wring Khalid’s neck for making us late. I was extremely frustrated because I felt so completely out of control at the expense that was about to hit me. I came to the logical conclusion that it would be better to make our flight than to miss it because of my thrifty nature.
We parked the car as the attendant walked up, and the conversation went something like this:
Me: Good morning.
Attendant: Hey there.
Me: How much is your fuel?
Me: See, Khalid? I told you. It’s ludicrous!
Khalid: Wait, how much is it?
Khalid: A GALLON?!?
Me: Yeah, dude.
Attendant: It’s okay.
Me: What do you mean?
Attendant: It’s okay.
Me (in complete disbelief, some confusion, and just going along with it anyway): It’s cool?
Attendant: Yeah, it’s cool.
Me: You are an angel! Thank you so much.
The attendant than took her mobile credit card processing unit, confirmed the rental car charge with Khalid–$70–and told us to have a good day.
We paid $0 for fuel all weekend long for a savings of ~$60. That being said, Khalid is going to watch his credit card charges online for a week just to make sure we’re in the clear. We’re still not sure that “It’s okay” and “It’s cool” mean we don’t have to pay for gas.
Also, we rented a Buick Regal–a premium car–for only $70 for three days thanks to Khalid’s dominance on Priceline as well as some haggling at the rental car desk.