Several weeks ago I was in New York City for business. It was a beautiful summer late afternoon in the low 80’s with clear blue skies, low humidity and a pleasant breeze.
I was in my car and turned on the radio for a traffic report so I could plot the best route back to my hotel, which was across the Hudson River in New Jersey. Room rates in Jersey are about a third of what I would pay in Manhattan.
It was rush hour and the traffic reporter’s voice crackled that bridge and tunnel delays were running over an hour because of various accidents and construction.
As I sat in my car, I realized I wasn’t that far from Yankee stadium …
I love going to baseball games and frequently watch the Rochester Redwings when I’m home in upstate New York. The ‘Wings’ are the Triple A farm club for the Minnesota Twins, and it’s a thrill to watch players who eventually get called up to the Big Leagues.
A visit to the ballpark is a great value and easily fits into my spending plan: parking is only $5.00, a field level ticket is $11.00 and the concessions are reasonably priced.
I had never seen the Yankees play live and searched their website on my phone. The cheapest seats were listed at $23.00 and I had plenty of time to make it to the game.
Although the ticket price was a little more than twice as much as what I’m used to paying, the extra $12.00 wouldn’t be a problem … after all it was the New York Yankees.
I put the address into my GPS and headed up to the Bronx. I also unconsciously put three assumptions into my head; assumptions that would ultimately wreak havoc with my spending plan.
When I approached the stadium, I was shocked to see that the parking ranged from $25.00 – $40.00. Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore (or Rochester) …
I parked my car and walked several blocks to the stadium.
The sun was shining, the crowd was buzzing with anticipation and I found a ticket line for what I thought was going to be a $23.00 admission price to see the Bronx Bombers.
The only thing standing between me and my seat was a ticket seller sitting behind a thick piece of glass, who told me that the cheap seats were sold out and the least expensive ticket she had was $95.00!!
At that moment I could have turned around and walked back to my car and driven to my hotel. Instead, I reached for my wallet, took out my debit card and handed it to the woman behind the glass. In a little over thirty minutes, I had spent $125.00, almost eight times more than what I was used to spending and a lot more than I had planned to layout that night for a ballgame.
The damage would continue …
As I made my way into the stadium and up the ramps toward my seat, I saw dozens of tempting concessions. I’m not a souvenir hound, but I do like a beer or two and a hot dog. A dog and a beer cost me $14.00. I’m embarrassed to tell you what I spent on ballpark food that night …
My seat was pretty good and I enjoyed the experience but decided to leave after the sixth inning so I could beat the post-game mob.
I drove back to Jersey …
As I listened to the final innings on the radio in the car, I reflected on what had just happened:
- I had made assumptions about the price of parking, tickets and food based on previous experience and a lack of knowledge.
- I had spent much more than I was comfortable with.
- I let emotions get in the way of logic and didn’t have a realistic spending plan for this event.
Has this ever happened to you? Let me know what steps you’ve taken to remain in control of your spending plan.
Flickr Image Courtesy of Fall Line