Facing It


Sometimes, it takes me a while to get myself fully motivated behind an idea, but this time, I was pretty excited.  It’s nearly two weeks into the year, and I’ve had a real shift in my attitude about convenience spending.  I was right about the boredom part, but not in the way I had thought of it before.  My experiment with saving money on lunch had me digging a bit deeper than I’d expected.

See, I didn’t work for most of the first week of the year, and so my Ladies Who Lunch group wasn’t fully formed yet.  I didn’t have a back up plan, and I was traveling.  Airports, car rides, rest stops, family trips to tourist attractions – What a time to be trying to cut down on convenience/restaurant foods!  Isn’t that always how it is, though?  You set your mind on something, and all of a sudden, you’re faced with ten great reasons why, “Now’s not the best time to try to make this change,” seems reasonable.  But, I’m documenting my experiment, so I had an extra incentive to stick it out for the two weeks.

December 30th, we were at an airport (maybe it was Detroit?) waiting for a connecting flight, and hungry.  We went to the restaurant across from our gate.  Since I have this on my mind, I was more scrupulous, and felt that we should have gotten much better food and service for the price we paid.  It strengthened my resolve that this kind of spending is NOT a habit I want to continue.  From then on, every time I was faced with a decision to buy for convenience instead of quality, it gave me pause.  I thought about each option longer and found myself enjoying NOT spending more than I enjoyed spending, even if it meant I had to wait longer to eat, or make it myself, or go without a cute whatever -it-was that caught my eye for a moment.  I was surprised at how often I had the impulse to buy something.  By examining my reasons, I started to see more clearly how I’ve been coping with boredom.

I thought I was bored by routine – predictable food and having to plan ahead to make my lunch and bring it to work, not to mention that the food isn’t fresh by the time you eat it…that’s what I THOUGHT was the problem, but ho, ho! NO!  I’ve seen that for me, convenience spending has not been about food AT ALL. I haven’t been eating out because making my lunch bores me.  I’ve done it because I just get bored with work in the middle of the day, and I’ve wanted something different to do. Did you know that going shopping can be a great cure for boredom?  You can engross your mind in the thrill of the hunt for a while and forget all about the deadlines and busywork and the other less-inspiring aspects of having a job.

I think I’ve turned a real corner, and my momentum is good, but I can tell I’m not out of the woods yet.  It would still be easy to ease into my old habits again.  I still need my ladies who lunch!  I will check back in soon…

How are your plans going?  Have you had any moments of insight connected with your spending habits yet? Any struggles or victories you want to pass on?  Leave a comment!

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