Monday, July 6, 2009

The Rule of Threes

Today I learned a lesson, well, I didn't so much learn a lesson as I did have one reaffirmed. Many indian tribes for hundreds of years have practiced a rule called "the rule of threes". This rule has existed for a very long time, most likely under different names, but in any event it is useful. The rule of threes states that you should have three sources for everything. You should have three sources of food, three sources of water, and so on. It's a very intelligent rule to follow.

How did this rule get reaffirmed in my mind today? On my way to work I realized that I had less than an eighth tank of gas. I stopped at the local gas station and went in to prepay. I don't use cash anymore as I prefer the safety (irony to follow) of a debit card. I've stopped carrying credit cards on me as I do not want to live outside of my means. When I swiped my card and entered my pin, it declined. This is strange as I frequently verify that I have adequate funds. I swiped the card again and tried to run it as credit, again, it declined.

I called my Credit Union to find out what was going on. I verified I had funds, then the representative on the phone informed me that my card had been locked, ironically enough, because of suspected fraud (of all things!). The good news is that I did not lose any money, but the bad news is that I had to have my poor wife drop everything she was doing to bring up our credit card. After the fiasco was over I was able to get on my merry way to work.

I have always preached to people about having an emergency $20.00 in their cars and to have an emergency credit card. I disadvantaged myself by only providing one possible source of cash. Had I followed the rule of threes and had some cash, and my credit card, this all could have been avoided. Lesson learned: follow the rule of threes.