Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The $250 Decision - Tires, Smog Check, and Smog Extension

Why do we have to make decisions? Every person has to make decisions. They have to make decisions that involve education, financial, relationships, and other aspects of life.

A few weeks ago, I had to make a decision regarding a smog, tires, and a registration extension. I only had $250 to work with.

Before I left my apartment, I knew that I only had $250 to spend. The smog shop opened at 8am. The first decision, the most important one, was to get a smog.

My registration expired on March 13. Since it was June, my tags were 3 months overdue. I paid the registration fees before the deadline to avoid any penalties.

Due to the engine light, the car was unable to pass smog. The smog inspection requires a vehicle to pass the visual inspection.

The engine light was causing me major problems. What decision making was required to resolve this matter?

Well, first of all, I had to fail the smog. I knew that the car wouldn't pass. Early in the morning, I found a smog coupon that took $20 off the smog.

Since I didn't pass the smog, I didn't have to pay for the smog certificate. The total cost for the smog was $38.50. I had $211.50 left.

I raced over to DMV. It was very slow there. After sitting for only 3 minutes, my number was called. I asked for a 60 day extension. The clerk denied my request for an extension.

California changed their smog policy; they only offered a 60 day extension from the expiration date. One problem...

My registration was expired for the past 3 months. Now I still had $211.50 to worth with.

Since I couldn't get an extension, I decided to visit the tire shop. My back left tire was a complete disaster.

Six weeks before, I hit a pothole. The impact tore the inner part of the back tire apart. Due to slash in the inner side of the tire, the Walmart technician was unable to fix the tire. He told me to buy a tire repair kit that had some liquorish looking rubber in it.

The tire was repaired for only $7. That $7 was a good decision since I was unable to afford a new tire, which Walmart didn't carry in stock because of Acura's strict tire specifications.

I still had $211.50 to work with, but wasted the $38.50 to fail the smog. I originally thought that I was able to get the $50 extension for two months.

The tire shop was slow. Usually it was busy there, but everyone was at work. The technician wanted to charge $260 for two tires. I only had $211.50. I decided that I could only afford one tire.

Since I was driving home, I really needed to replace the damaged tire. The other back tire would have to wait.

I remembered the last time when I bought two tires. The technician only charged $150.

The technician looked in the computer and noticed that I had a tire certificate. While I hoped for two tires, but was fine with one tire, the technician was able to work out a deal because of the tire warranty. I only had to pay $150 for two tires.

Luckily, I purchased the tire warranty. Now I was able to drive to my parent's home with four matching tires. Most importantly, the drive would be a safe one.

I had $61.50 left. My decision making was directed toward making sure that I took care of the legal issues before I fixed the safety ones. I used the remaining $61.50 to pay my utility bills and to fill up the gas tank.

Even though I was broke afterward, I now had a failed smog form and two new back tires that matched the front tires. In the past, I always shopped for price. Many times, I never had the same brand of tires. Now I had four matching tires.

At the beginning, I had $250 to spend. I made good use of the money. If I had to pay $50 for the registration extension, there would be no way I could afford the two back tires.

I needed new back tires more than anything, but I also wanted to take care of the smog issue, so the car could be legal.

Though we never get everything we want out of life, in this case, I was able to accomplish half of the goals I set out to resolve beforehand.

I wanted the smog issue to be resolved, but that decision was out of my hands due to the new California Smog policy changes.

Mission accomplished: the $250 was well spent using good decision making.

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