Friday, May 18, 2007

Why I Backslide & Spend Too Much

Confession: From time to time, I backslide and spend more than I should. And when I think hard about my budget-busting spending, I've discovered a few of my un-thrifty triggers. Here's my list:

1. Hidden anxiety. Last week my youngest son had a small cyst removed from his neck. We're still waiting for lab results, but the doctors are pretty sure that all is well. Thank G-d.

We had -- I thought -- a very relaxed, no-big-deal attitude. Very upbeat. No problemo. But suddenly, I realized that I was spending more than usual: Extra restaurant meals, expensive vitamins and additional movie rentals.

The underlying cause: Despite my all-is-well calm about the surgery, I was secretly very worried. My son --by the way-- is fine. He was jumping on a trampoline just a day after the procedure. With big smiles, we told him to get off the trampoline. His stitches survived his high jump antics.

2. Overwork: In the last few weeks, I've taken on a few long-term projects and new assignments. GREAT! It's all good, but the additional work has prompted me to spend more money on creature comforts and step-saving solutions, which typically cost more.

Bottom line: An inbalance in family-work commitments, faulty time management and unrealistic expectations about what I can accomplish in single day have prompted me to spend more.

3. Lack of advance planning: In a packed schedule, I ran out of the house for a mile walk. In my rush, I did not bring a water bottle or any beverage. When thirst hit, I spent money at CVS to buy trendy Vitamin Water. It wasn't a big expense, but it was a nickle-and-dime money leak that I could have avoided with advanced planning.

Fortunately, I realize that there is a cure for emotional spending. I should slow down. By moving slower, I'll spend less energy, time and money. As I write this, I think about the advice my friend Leah once received from her 93-year-old grandmother Meme. I've written about Meme before and her money-saving advice. Meme also had sage advice about time management.

For instance, when Leah or other family members would bustle about in a high-wind of energy, Meme would say: "Speak slower; I'm in a hurry." And that's great advice. I spend less when I slow down. And you know, every now and then, it's okay to backslide and spend more as long as I recognize, why and how my money flies. It also helps to remember to breathe.


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