By Andrew Wei

This summer I got a speeding ticket. I wasn’t going as fast as they said I was but I guess everyone says that. Without a doubt, it was a new experience. I’ve been pulled over before, but I don’t think anybody gets used to seeing the red and blue lights flicker on behind them. This was about the middle of June.

I figured I should be able to take care of things like this by myself. I’m 20 years old.

At the time I had also just quit my line cook position at a local restaurant. I’d applied to a local pizza restaurant as a delivery driver and I had some money stashed away in my savings account, but I didn’t think this is how I’d be spending it. A couple weeks later and I was interviewing for a Brand ambassador position with OrderUp, a Groupon company. I was also working a 30 hour week with the pizza restaurant, delivering pizza and wings. It was around this time, a week or so after it happened that I also got hit with my first bill, a lawyer fee concerning the speeding ticket.

I signed up for a safe driving and lifestyle choices course. It had a $100 registration fee. $75 per session I attended. I was assigned to ten. Every Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday came to an $225 extra per week I had to make.

Pizza delivery, brand advocating, Postmate deliveries, five shifts a week, hours with this company and a paycheck from that one – job after job. And every shift I worked, only one thing kept racing through my mind. It was the same Thursday night that I got my citation was also coincidentally the Thursday night that my friend Caroline had invited me to a music festival on the far side of the country. I could’ve – I would’ve – had it not been so last minute that it would’ve cost me a little over $1,300. Money I wasn’t exactly willing to shell out at the time, as feasible as it could’ve been.

Eventually as the summer dragged on, more time passed and when I had landed in Arizona fell apart completely. And today it wouldn’t have affected me any differently what I had done – I would still be out of the money and had a heck of an experience as a result from it. Because in the end it is only money.

I understand money’s importance and I understand the work that goes into earning a living, but I feel that people obsess too much about hoarding the almighty dollar. I am not advocating people blow all they have on any and every little thing – you still have essentials like rent to pay and food to buy. But if you hold onto the every dollar that comes into your hand, spending only on essentials – you end up starving your own life. You hold that cash until life forces you to spend it. I just happened to get unlucky with my timing this summer.