I Paid 25 Cents For The Toilet And I Liked it.

funny toilets - girls taking pictures
(As sung by Katie Perry.  The Remix.)

Haha… seriously though, I paid 25 cents to use the bathroom in Santa Monica last week!  How crazy is that?  I thought the only times you had to worry about getting jacked at restrooms were at trucker stops? ;)  And also Europe. (Oh! And Korea too – I once paid $1.00 worth in Won when I least expected it… and from what I remember that was only for the toilet paper?  (ewwwwwwww))

The worst is when it hits you when you least expect it though (having to pay to use the bathroom – not having to go to the bathroom when you least expect it, though that also sucks).  I get that the money helps to maintain the bathrooms, and provides a good service to the general public and all that, but the question that inevitably comes up is – “What if you don’t have a quarter on you? Or any cash? Or even two dimes and a nickle, which of course won’t work either?” It really can be catastrophic. And yet ANOTHER reason to always have cash on you! (You know who you are, cash haters…)

Of course, if you get lucky and there happens to be a lot of people milling about, anyone with a soul would gladly lend you some coin w/out any worries of having to pay it back ;)  Or luckier yet, they might hold the door an extra – but MUCH appreciated – 5 seconds or so until you can slip in w/out waking up the Bathroom Police. Disregarding any these courtesies would just be inhuman.  And you could repay them back tenfold if you *really* wanted to! (Ewwwww again!!)

But the real reason I bring up all this potty talk, is that sometimes these convenience fees are just plain worth it.  I don’t know anyone who’d rather soil themselves than cough up the extra George Washingtons, do you?  The same goes for other tariffs we accept too.  Personally, I pay them all the time to avoid extra stress.  It may not be very smart of me at times, but I still happily do it.

The one example that always comes to mind are my uncanny desires for bananas at the worst possible times. (No, not at orangutan exhibits or the zoo – haha… THAT would be bad).  I always seem to have a craving for them at airports.  When they suddenly go from $0.12 to $1.12.  But honestly, I’m okay with that.  I know that I’m overpaying like a mother, but for me – at that given moment in time – it’s completely worth it! I don’t know why I could care less at the grocery stores?  The same goes for milk when I’m in a rush too.  Or eggs, bread, or really anything else your spouse asks you to pick up when you’re in the middle of something super important (like TV shows?).  Why drive an extra 5 miles, and spend 10 extra minutes, at Safeway when you can be gone and back within 3 mins after hitting 7-Eleven?  Is the 75 cents you save really worth it in this case?

I can go on and on here, but I won’t.  Mainly not to scare you with how un-frugal I can actually be, but also not to bore you to death ;)  I’m pretty sure we’ve talked about this at some point over the years anyways, yes?

What we HAVEN’T talked about though, is what some of YOUR dirty little habits may be? What are some of the costs YOU take in due to lack of motivation or convenience?  Can you think of one big thing that you’re totally cool paying a little extra for?  Maybe cuz it saves you a world of stress, or even better – a butt ton of time?

I’m not advocating that everyone gets all loosey goosey with their money or anything, but I do think it’s okay to give in to shortcuts every now and again if you feel like it’s necessary.  If you try to be Mr/Mrs perfect all the time, you’re likely to just explode one day and go off into the deep end!  And by that point, you’ll be crap outta luck.  Kinda like I would have been if I didn’t have a quarter on me last week ;)

PS: That’s nasty.  I never go #2 in public, I get stage fright.  #1 all the way!
PPS: I promise never to talk about bowel movements again. (What is wrong with me??)

(Photo by MyLifeStory)

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  1. Gina September 9, 2011 at 6:55 AM

    Trucker stops??? Seriously? Isn’t it just a truck stop? Or are you making it sound fancier? :P

  2. Melissa September 9, 2011 at 8:13 AM

    My coffee maker broke like, over a month ago, and I’ve been buying coffee on my way to work two or three times a week ever since. I’ve probably spent in coffee the equivalent of just buying two or three new coffee makers. But man…I like it when my coffee it made for me, and the place where I’m planning to go for a new coffee maker is so out of the way….

  3. Matt September 9, 2011 at 8:24 AM

    Safeways…7-elevens…I need to get back to the east coast!

    I spend extra for the exit row plane tickets, my EZ Tag for toll roads is a must and I don’t care if it is 110 degrees outside and the whole state is on fire, my house is going to be 72 and I’ll deal with the $200 electric bill. *Note I live in Texas

  4. Stephen September 9, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    i didn’t mind spending money over in Europe for the bathrooms.
    I’d pay a $1 to have a perfectly clean rest stop bathroom then deal with the nasty places we have here in America. When a mcdonald’s is cleaner than the federally funded bathrooms…

  5. Brian September 9, 2011 at 9:05 AM

    We were in Germany for Oktoberfest last year and constantly had to pay to use the restroom on the autobahn (lots of them had a coupon for the cost to use at the store to encourage you to pay even more). I learned quickly why German men are constantly using random trees as toilets.

    Personally I don’t mind paying extra for is a fountain soda. I love the taste of a fountain soda and will pay for one (even when 2 litres are cheaper).

  6. Emily September 9, 2011 at 10:24 AM

    This was probably one of the funniest posts I’ve read… oh J…

    Anyways, I’m a sucker for coffee shops. Which probably isn’t a secret and you already knew this. But I am. I have my own coffee beans, grinder, and other fun extras for coffee at home. I could make it every morning if I wanted to and save A TON of money. Or I know that I can get coffee for FREE at work. (Which I have been taking up more since I started my car payment.) But for some reason I can’t resist heading over to Starbucks or some other little coffee shop at least a couple of times a week for a fancy drink that costs roughly $5. I’ve been working on saving that for when I decide to sit at said coffee shop for an hour or so because then I’m at least getting something accomplished and I’m getting free internet. Yet I can’t resist running by there before work to get a pumpkin spice latte (or today, a salted caramel mocha – AMAZEBALLS). Besides… I’m there so often the baristas and I are on a first name basis and they worry when I don’t show up for awhile. Don’t want that to happen! ;)

  7. Kevin @ Thousandaire.com September 9, 2011 at 10:52 AM

    I would prefer convenience fees for bathrooms. That way I could use them for $0.25.

    If I stop at a gas station or restaurant to use their bathroom, I always feel like it is only for customers, so I guilt myself into purchasing something that is inevitably more expensive than $0.25

  8. Investing Newbie September 9, 2011 at 11:34 AM

    Sadly, its Taxis. There is nothing more awesome than NOT showing up a like a hot mess when you’re going somewhere. Or, if it is super late at night, and you don’t want to wait around for the train: Just hopping in a taxi and going home. It’s super convenient, but I’m paying a pretty penny for it. I’m still not decided whether its worth it or not, but I definitely feel a lot safer taking a Taxi home at 2 AM, then riding the train with Skeeve McJeeves in the corner.

  9. Kymm Richmond September 9, 2011 at 12:26 PM

    I pay extra to drive to the nice laundromat. They have a bathroom, two attendants,( who chase out any loiterers as well) all the machines always work or have a sign on them that says they are out of order so you never waste money plus they run on a swipe card system, rather than rolls of quarters.
    The laundromat close to my house, NONE of the above; no bathroom, no attendants, over half the machines are broken with no sign of a note, full of several homeless who are not dangerous but who are unpleasant & a crackhead every now & then. But to wash is 1.75 per load & drying is about 0.75-1.25 depending on how broken the dryers are.
    However, I think not being bothered, having a bathroom when I need one, watching tv while I fold my laundry & feeling safe are all totally worth 3.00 per load instead of 1.75.

  10. Kimberly September 9, 2011 at 12:42 PM

    Funny.. I just paid .25 for my son to use the restroom yesterday. Generally I may stress over the quarter but considering we were out of gas, had no cash (besides the quarter and a few pennies) , traffic was backed up for miles, and all the power in San Diego was out…. it really didn’t seem like a big deal :)

  11. kody @ financial money tips September 9, 2011 at 1:22 PM

    haha paying to use the bathroom? I have never came across that. But to tell ya the truth i think paying 25c for the bathroom would be totally worth it. I hate walking into a dirty bathroom :)

    Even though i shouldn’t be, I am totally cool with the fact that i like buying bottled water. I usually head over to target because Walmart is too crowded for me and buy a 24 pack of bottled water :) The weird part is that i have a couple of reusable water bottles at home but i still choose to buy water. Don’t ask me why :)

  12. Angie September 9, 2011 at 1:44 PM

    I paid 1.50 Euro to use the restroom in Europe this summer. That equals $2.25 US dollars. My bladder thought the expense was worth it :)

  13. Bryan at Pinch that Penny! September 9, 2011 at 2:25 PM

    For what it’s worth, there is a hilarious musical called “Urinetown” whose main premise is that people shouldn’t have to pay to use the bathroom. Seriously. One of the songs is called, “It’s a Privilege to Pee.” The musical is also noteworthy (right now) due to the fact that it was the first Broadway show to re-open following the September 11 attacks.

  14. Donna Freedman September 9, 2011 at 3:08 PM

    Regional food! I’m in South Jersey right now and am eating frozen custard, cheesesteaks, hoagies, Herrs Potato Chips and Tastykakes although it would be so much cheaper to buy sandwich makings, buy on-sale chips, buy a cake mix, etc. etc.
    I don’t get this food the rest of the year. (Nor should I. My health insurance isn’t THAT good. No one’s is.) So when I have a shot at Butterscotch Krimpets, I’m going to take it.
    And J: You *did* listen to your mother about always wearing good underwear when you leave the house, right?

  15. Azra Panjwani September 9, 2011 at 5:34 PM

    Love this post..where did you find that hilarious pic? Everyone has their vices…sometimes I can’t help that morning starbucks when the office coffee tastes a little burnt etc.

    I think the key is to a) not beat ones-self over these..we ARE human afer all and b) to not let these exceptions creep up into regular habits. I think making a ‘guilty pleasures’ allowance in the budget to account for it really helps do this.

    Anyway, thanks for the post, got a much needed laugh in the afternoon!


  16. Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager September 9, 2011 at 6:01 PM

    Milk. We have a mini mart down the street from our apartment. I’m happy to walk in my PJs there to buy milk that is 20 cents more than actually get dressed and walk to a “real” grocery store in the morning.

  17. Debra F September 9, 2011 at 11:01 PM

    I have never seen a place where I have to pay to use the loo.

    On the subject of bananas, here in Australia they have been over $10 a kilo since the flooding in Queensland at the beginning of the year. When we do get one each for all of us (about twice in 6 months) the kids are told to eat it slowly and savour every bite.

  18. K September 9, 2011 at 11:08 PM

    I remember as a kid they used to charge a dime to use the restroom at K-Mart and my mom having me crawl under the door…GROSS! To me it would have been worth the dime and I was thankful when they finally stopped charging. I think stores and places of business shouldn’t ever charge as it should be provided as a courtesy to their patrons, but I wouldn’t have a problem having to pay a 25-50 cents to use a restroom at a rest stop on the highway to pay to have someone keep it clean, stocked with toilet paper and everything in good working order.

    I have to admit I am guilty of choosing convenience and being willing to pay a little more for it, especially if it saves time in the long run. The gas station closes to where I live run about 5 cents more a gallon, but it was more convenient as it used to be on the way home from work.

  19. Ralph September 10, 2011 at 5:30 AM

    Hmmm….I’ve never included “bladder expenses” when I budget for my vacations. I’m visiting Europe soon…Maybe I should factor that in/

  20. Paul September 10, 2011 at 1:42 PM

    BEER!,, of course its way cheaper to buy a 12 back and sit at home…. but going to a crowed bar/restaurant/club for the eye candy is worth every extra dollar!

  21. J. Money September 10, 2011 at 6:29 PM

    @Gina – Oops. I guess they are “truck stops” huh? haha…
    @Melissa – AGREED! I mean, I make coffee when I’m at home and all that, but if I’m out and about – or ESP going to a meeting/event – I’m allllll about that Starbucks coffee. Or any place, really, that can whip it up for me good and has a nice atmosphere.
    @Matt – Haha, I hear that. I was just out in your Texas (San Antonio) and everyone said we were lucky that the heat wave subsided a bit. It was “only” 90 out, haha…
    @Stephen – Good point ;)
    @Brian – I want to go to Oktoberfest sooooo bad! That’s awesome you got to go there man, good for you.
    @Emily – Woohoo! I get the “funniest post” award! :) Totally get the coffee addiction, you’re not alone my friend!
    @Kevin @ Thousandaire.com – Now THAT may be the smartest thing you’ve ever said, good sir. I always feel bad too!! And then end up buying something like a chocolate bar or something… haha, actually, more like a lottery ticket ;)
    @Investing Newbie – I can see that. Esp when it’s hot and sticky out, bleh. And most DEF at 2 am!! Even me, a guy – people are nutso out there.
    @Kymm Richmond – Agreed 100% – ya gotta feel safe! :)
    @Kimberly – Hah! Your son probably appreciated it too ;)
    @kody @ financial money tips – cuz it tastes wayyyy better! and you can throw them away (recycle, actually) super easily. believe me, I’m the same way. not sure if you saw this post or not of mine, but just be careful of the haters! :)
    @Angie – Sometimes it most definitely is ;)
    @Bryan at Pinch that Penny! – Oh wow, that sounds hilarious! Privilege to Pee? Haha…
    @Donna Freedman – Always! Big fan of nice (and clean) underwear just in case… never know what the day could bring ;)
    @Azra Panjwani – So glad you liked it! I found the pic on Flickr (Creative Commons 2.0 where you can use them as long as you attribute them properly :))
    @Jenna, Adaptu Community Manager/b> – No doubt.
    Debra F – You’re in Australia?? Awesome! One of the top 3 places in the world I really want to see :) I wonder if your bananas taste different than our bananas?
    @K – Haha, really? KMart?? Oh man – haven’t been in one of those in yearssssss. Used to be the hottest place though for sure. Bathrooms, aside ;)
    @Ralph – Yes! Or at least have a pocket full of change just in case ;)
    @Paul – AGREED!!! It’s all about the atmosphere, my man. No doubt about it – good one.

  22. Jen @ Master the Art of Saving September 11, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    I guess I’m gonna have to add that into our budget for our trip to Italy next year, I totally forgot about it.

    I’m a chick who like nice hotel rooms, I can’t help it. The suites w/ jacuzzi tubs are my weakness and big comfy beds. ;-) Hopefully I can find something nice but not too expensive next year—we’re hoping to spend 2 weeks in Europe. That would be super-expensive if we stayed in posh suites every night.

  23. Marcus September 12, 2011 at 2:19 AM

    J. Money nice post you’re right. Every now again you have to splurge for the simple pleasures. When I had to pay to use a bathroom the first time in Europe I was mad! And then don’t get me started on paying for each ketchup packet!

  24. Nicole September 12, 2011 at 9:34 AM

    Have you ever seen the musical “Urinetown”…it’s all about paying to pee! Actually, it’s alot about corruption and the haves and have nots…but on the surface, you gotta pay to pee! Good political satire for sure

  25. J. Money September 12, 2011 at 2:09 PM

    @Jen @ Master the Art of Saving – Hah! Yeah it would… but I’m starting to get that way too actually. Having traveled at LEAST twice every single month this year so far, and staying everywhere from couches to fancy hotel rooms, I’m starting to really appreciate the nicer ones more and more ;) On our trip out to LA two weeks ago, Nate made us stay at a place where the reviews had said there were scabies!! ewwww!!! Even though our room seemed fine, i could def. see where that’s possible… I’m sure all hotels deal with their own problems here and there, but at least the nicer ones FEEL better sleeping in, haha… worth the money to more more now than back in the poorer days ;)
    @Marcus – What?? Ketchup??? no way!!!! haha… *that* is crazy!
    @Nicole – Haha, no – I have not seen or heard of Urinetown ;) Seems like something I’d watch though!

  26. Jen @ Master the Art of Saving September 13, 2011 at 8:22 PM

    Scabies!? Wow, that’s really creepy. I would have probably just slept in the car. ;-)

  27. J. Money September 13, 2011 at 9:33 PM

    I was willing to take the risk over that ;)