Why We Can Never Get Ahead Financially

How does the universe know when we have a little extra money?


So last month I was all “woooo, I did pretty well this month freelancing, time to book my flights and hotels for this trip to see Hamilton and visit my sister and her family, I guess that is going to cost me eleven hundred dollars even though I am not even staying at a full-sized hotel, I am staying at a POD HOTEL.”

(Don’t get me wrong, I love the Pod Hotel. But it shouldn’t cost $627.20 for two nights. When I stayed at the same hotel in 2015, it cost $337.33 for three nights. And no, it’s not like booking a different hotel will save me any money. Everything’s more expensive this year.)

But that was all going to be okay, because this month I was going to earn the same amount of money and have no eleven-hundred-dollar expenses!


After I took a minute to breathe, I figured out that “you need to replace your 2013 MacBook Air battery soon” doesn’t necessarily mean “in the next week,” but it might mean “before the end of the year.” (Apple has two levels of battery warning, and I’m at “replace soon,” not “replace now.”)

My AppleCare Protection Plan doesn’t expire until October 12, so I got in touch with Apple Support to ask whether they would replace the battery for free, or whether I should just go ahead and buy a new MacBook Air because I was planning to do that in 2017 anyway, I’ve had enough laptops to know when they’re dying. (I mean, I didn’t ask that last part, but I thought it.)

Apple Support—after an initial 15-minute wait during which all of the agents were busy and I gave up and decided to play Stardew Valley instead, and a second, later 10-minute wait where I just sat on my butt and swore I would stay there until someone talked to me—told me that my AppleCare Protection Plan “should be able to cover” a battery replacement, but I’d need to get my laptop inspected at an Apple store (or Apple Authorized Service Provider) before I’d know for sure.

Which, overall, seems like it might be okay. I can go get my laptop inspected and see if they’ll throw in a new battery. But I’m curious if this will just be postponing the inevitable. After all, my three-year AppleCare Protection Plan will expire in a month, which might be the universe—and Apple—suggesting that it’s time to shell out for an upgrade.

At least the universe waited until I was earning a little extra.

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