When my credit card balance increased by $1,000 in just one month, I was officially addicted to Uber.
I own a car with no car payments and have adequate parking in my New York City neighborhood. I couldn’t think of a better experience than being in my own vehicle, with my preferred music, snacks, and out loud conversations with myself about what to do next in my life.
Getting Addicted To Uber Happened Fast
Then, Uber came. Â It started with one or two trips when I moved back home from Abu Dhabi. At first, I didn’t feel comfortable with the notion of a “stranger picking me upâ€ in an unmarked car. But I did it anyway. A few trips turned into weekly trips. It was summer in NYC. The last thing I wanted was to stand shoulder to shoulder with sweaty, exasperated passengers on a hot train.
During that summer, I got a job, and started taking Uber to the train in the morning, and sometimes evenings. Uber became a part of my daily habit like journaling in the mornings or taking vitamins. It made me feel good. I racked up about $300 in charges my first month. Â I started to find reasons to use Uber–check out a new museum, go to a club. It made me more active.
It changed my life.
I Came Up With A Plan
It made me establish a budget, too. Not to use Uber more, but how to use Uber better. Â Here’s what I figured out:
- It’s for experiences. Not short, minimum fare rides. Going to a wedding and want no hassles getting a car? I choose an Uber.
- It is part of my household budget. I no longer randomly choose it “whenever.â€ Â My addiction has become part of my lifestyle. If there’s an extra $50 around, I add it to the Uber budget. I nail down exactly when and why I need it. Then, binge without the guilt.
- It’s for introverts. Face it. As an introvert, I move hell or high water for time alone since most of my time is spent in extroverted roles. My Uber drives are all about getting my energy back, jotting down notes for my next book, or shamelessly judging others diligently hailing those yellow cabs. Uber provides privacy and an island of my own, especially after a rare night out with extroverted friends. I quietly order, and I quietly leave.
The Bottom Line
I can’t imagine what my life was like before Uber. Now, it’s a part of my self-care. It gives me control on how I show up in the world. Surge, or no surge, I’m hooked.
Maryann Reid is the Digital Managing Editor of www.blackenterprise.com. Â Follow her on Twitter @realalphanista.