Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

I’m up to my eye­balls in paper­work for the house, inspec­tions on the house, mak­ing calls about the house, and doing 12 hour work days this week. Mrs. Picky Pinch­er has gra­cious­ly agreed to do a guest post to help me out! She is the blog­ger and res­i­dent klutz at www.pickypinchers.com. She writes about her jour­ney pay­ing off $225,000 of debt while liv­ing like a queen. Read her great post and then click on over to see all the great fru­gal liv­ing, debt pay­ing, super sav­ing infor­ma­tion on her site.

Take it away, Mrs. Picky Pinch­er! (PS Can you ever have too much Poke­mon para­pher­na­lia?)

There I was, nib­bling on a fried chick­en strip, feel­ing smug.

What Mrs. Picky Pinch­er looked like. Minus the stache.

Our home­made din­ner of peanut but­ter Rotel chick­en didn’t work out (what a sur­prise), so Mr. Picky Pinch­er and I grabbed fried chick­en as a last resort. As I bit into the crispy, greasy good­ness, I couldn’t help but judge the peo­ple around me in the fast food restau­rant.

Ha!” I thought, “Look at these suckas! They don’t real­ize their mon­ey is going down the drain eat­ing here. Hell, I bet they eat out every night. Ugh. Non-fru­gal peo­ple real­ly grind my gears.”

Know­ing noth­ing about these peo­ple, I hyp­o­crit­i­cal­ly nib­bled more on my ten­der vict­uals.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m a big pro­po­nent of home­made meals. They’re the rea­son I was able to slash our $1,000/mo gro­cery bill to under $500/mo. Nat­u­ral­ly home­made meals didn’t always work out, though, espe­cial­ly when we first got mar­ried. And that meant quite a few “emer­gency” restau­rant stops.

So why was I judg­ing peo­ple for eat­ing at the same damn place where I was eat­ing?

Because I wasn’t tak­ing my own advice.

How to take your own advice

I’m a very proud per­son, which means every now and then I need to be knocked down a peg. It’s so, so easy to judge oth­er peo­ple while putting your­self on a pedestal. “Oh, I only grabbed Dairy Queen out of neces­si­ty! But sure­ly these peo­ple eat here every night. Ugh!”

Yeah, right.

I blog about per­son­al finance, but there I was, wast­ing my mon­ey along with every­one else. I just made up stu­pid excus­es to give myself a Get Out Of Jail Free Card. I wasn’t spe­cial, dif­fer­ent, or bet­ter than any­one else.

Here’s how I’m learn­ing to take my own advice.

Practice mindfulness

Dis­claimer: not Mrs. Picky Pinch­er

I’m guilty of chug­ging cof­fee and mind­less­ly pow­er­ing through my day, my only end goal being sleep and sweat­pants. When I go through the motions I don’t like to dwell on things like “think­ing” or “reflec­tion.” These are the days when I’m bound to judge some­one for buy­ing a cof­fee at Star­bucks, wear­ing new $200 shoes, or eat­ing out for lunch.

It’s so, so hard, but I’m learn­ing to prac­tice mind­ful­ness. I’m a Type-A per­son with anx­i­ety, so stay­ing calm and mind­ing my own busi­ness is a tall order, but I’m mak­ing it work. I med­i­tate, exer­cise, and try to live in the present. I focus inward­ly on myself, and not on oth­ers.

It’s a calmer, more flu­id approach to life. Mind­ful­ness makes it eas­i­er for me to take my own advice instead of forc­ing my advice on oth­er unwit­ting peo­ple.

Evaluate your weaknesses

It’s hard not to feel good about myself when I’m in the mid­dle of a juicy Son­ic cheese­burg­er or try­ing on a new pair of jeans. But that’s the prime moment to reflect on what I can do to improve my spend­ing habits.

If I focus on my weak­ness­es in a pos­i­tive, con­struc­tive way, I’m final­ly tak­ing my own advice. I know it’s bad to buy more Poke­mon para­pher­na­lia when I have rooms burst­ing full of it—and that means it’s time to stop spend­ing, purge a lit­tle, sell a few things, and apply the sur­plus to debt.

By focus­ing on my weak­ness­es (oh hey there, choco­late bars), I’m less like­ly to judge the weak­ness­es of oth­ers. I’ve got my own shiz to wor­ry about, after all.

Practice what you preach

If only it were that easy, right?

Just do what you think is right for your bud­get, and do it all the time. So easy!

Except it’s not that easy. I know eat­ing out is bad for my bud­get, I know new shoes are bad for my bud­get, and I know a fan­cy Brazil­ian steak­house is bad for my bud­get. I still do all of these things any­way, all while preach­ing about smart mon­ey moves.

Ugh!

I need to put my mon­ey where my bud­get is. It’s eas­i­er to tell peo­ple what they should do instead of lead­ing by exam­ple. I’ve been able to improve a lot over the last two years, but admit­ted­ly I still have my spendy days. With a com­bi­na­tion of prac­tic­ing mind­ful­ness and eval­u­at­ing my weak­ness­es, I’m get­ting bet­ter at liv­ing my prin­ci­ples.

The Bottom Line

It’s a breeze to tell oth­er peo­ple how to spend their mon­ey. But why not tell your­self how to spend your mon­ey? I’m learn­ing to take my own advice and run my own race—without wor­ry­ing about oth­er peo­ples’ choic­es.

We want to know: Do you ever fall off the fru­gal wag­on? Do you judge strangers?

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9 thoughts on “Put Your Money Where Your Mouth Is

  1. Hmm, I think I give strangers more of a pass on spend­ing than I do for close friends or fam­i­ly. With strangers, I think it’s pret­ty easy to think of reasons/excuses for why they’re doing some­thing I think is stu­pid (although I guess that does include some inher­ent judge­ment). But with fam­i­ly, I know all about their back­ground and cir­cum­stances, so to see some­one squan­der­ing an oppor­tu­ni­ty that I know they have is real­ly dis­heart­en­ing!

    It’s way, way hard­er for me to give a friend a pass on mak­ing bad deci­sions!
    Ellie @ The Ched­da recent­ly post­ed…Our Expens­es – Jan­u­ary 2017My Profile

    • I’m sur­prised I still have a whole tongue after bit­ing it so hard and so often while watch­ing my friends make bad finan­cial deci­sions. One word: cars.

    • This! I always feel like I don’t know enough about a stranger’s sit­u­a­tion or habits to make assump­tions about what I see. But when I see a lot of someone’s habits.… :-/

      And to answer the most impor­tant ques­tion in the post, though: no, you can nev­er have too much Poké­mon para­pher­na­lia! — Sin­cere­ly, Some­one With a Bazil­lion Gen­gars in Her Home

  2. Well, you know what the good book says about the mote and the beam. Focussing on oth­er people’s motes is so much eas­i­er and more fun than work­ing on extract­ing the giant beam in your own eye. I indulge in good old fash­ioned judg­ing every now and again. I try to be aware of the fact that I’m doing it, and quit before I hit my obnox­ious behav­iour quo­ta for the month.
    Mrs. BITA recent­ly post­ed…A Lazy Person’s Guide to Earn­ing and Using Ulti­mate Rewards PointsMy Profile

  3. I feel that strug­gle with judg­ing too, more often than I care to admit. But I’m so quick to jus­ti­fy my own actions, of course. I have to con­stant­ly remind myself that I don’t know the whole sto­ry! Oth­er people’s finances and oth­er aspects of their lives aren’t my busi­ness. I hope to share smart changes that are work­ing for me, but not con­de­scend or act supe­ri­or to oth­ers. It’s a learn­ing process every day!

  4. I find it hard to bite my tongue when my work col­leagues buy lunch every­day instead of bring­ing it from home. I was gen­uine­ly shocked at how much the cof­fee they all buy was! Espe­cial­ly as we have a hot drinks machine where all of the drinks are free.…

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