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.
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!”
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.
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.
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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