As I am writing this post, I’m eating a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie that I baked for my husband. To be completely honest, I’m just helping him finish them off because he wants to go on a diet and “eat clean”. And I just came from the gym, so I can eat cookies guilt-free.
I love food. Food is amazing. If you want to be my best friend, bring me some dark chocolate or a bottle of red wine. If I go to a farmers market or a festival, you will normally find me somewhere near a food truck. During family dinners, DO NOT get between me and the food. Its dangerous. I will move you out of the way.
Food is an essential part of our lives. It keeps us alive and healthy. Its delicious. But food can also be a vice. Come on, we’ve all done it. At the end of a vacation or a rather indulgent month, we hop on the scale, see that number, and cringe. Our visions of bikini-ready, summer body suddenly squashed under the weight of all the burgers, fries, margaritas, tacos, more margaritas, etc that we stuffed our faces with. The fat-pants call to us from our dresser. We get mad at ourselves and wonder how did it go so wrong?
Food is easy to over-indulge in. We get enticed by all of the deliciousness and don’t watch what we are eating. We stopped paying attention. Or, even worse, we get used to eating burgers and fries and then suddenly a kale salad doesn’t seem so delicious anymore. Broccoli is no match for french fries, and why chose a glass of water over sangria? Our idea of what a meal should look like changed slowly over time.
In many ways, spending money is a lot like eating food. For the most part, you have to spend money to live. You need somewhere safe to sleep, clothes to wear, food to eat. You can’t get that stuff for free. Dollars are a lot like calories. Its easy to waste them on stuff that’s bad. Marketers spend millions or more to entice you to buy a product you don’t need. Stores and websites are designed to get you to spend more. Suddenly, trip to get new jeans suddenly became a shopping spree (I have totally done this. No judging). Maybe you got used to certain indulgences and then an occasional treat at Starbucks became a daily habit. You weren’t watching what you spent and at the end of the month, you look at your bank account and wonder where did all the money go.
So what do you do now? I ask myself this question every time it happens. I have to wake up and realize that that I am not Warren Buffett, and I need to stop spending like I am. I have to admit to myself that I screwed up and try to be more mindful of where my money goes. Its time to go on a spending diet and cut back on the stuff that I THINK I need.
I am very guilty of “letting myself go” financially and have always found it difficult to get back on track. I am not a frugal person by nature. I have a tendency to go shopping when I’m bored and buy crap that I don’t need. When I’m tired or getting home late, I grab take out. When I start to notice myself slip, I have to remind myself of my long term goals and try to make a point to be more mindful of where my money goes. Then I move on and try not to freak out about it.
What about you? Do you have a tendency to over indulge when it comes to spending? Or are you blessed with self restraint and natural frugal-ness?