It’s been a long time since I shared a good self-deprecating story about my own financial foolishness. Let me remedy that today.
For the past month or so, I’ve been buried deep in writing my book. (I have bookhead, I tell Kris — my mind is wholly absorbed by this project.) I now spend most of every day (seven days a week) holed up in my office up the hill from the house. I walk up in the morning, work through the afternoon, and then walk home in the early evening.
Before I started writing the book, I’d take breaks to walk around the neighborhood or to walk home for lunch. I don’t do that anymore. Instead, I sit in this chair all day, staring at the screen. And I’ve developed the habit of breaking quickly to walk a few steps to the mini-mart next door.
I grab a candy bar, a bag of chips (or, more commonly, pork rinds), and a diet soda. I’m eating like crap and I’m frittering away my nickels and dimes. This stuff isn’t expensive, but it does cost me $3-$4 a day — more if I eat it for two meals.
As a result of this silly habit, my weight has ballooned and I have less money to spend on things that really matter — like comic books or steamed clams at my favorite Italian place.
“You’re being dumb,” Kris told me over the weekend. “You know better than this. You should be walking home to eat.”
“I know,” I said. “But when I have bookhead, all I want is to grab some quick snacks and get back at it.”
“Well, why don’t you take some good food to the office instead?” she asked. Good question.
This morning I drove the quarter mile to the office instead of walking. Actually, I drove to the grocery store first, stocked up on raisins and nuts and Clif bars and canned fish and fruit. I also bought a case of bottled water. (In another time and place, I’d groan about shelling out $3.49 for 24 bottles of stuff I could have for free, but it occurred to me that I’m spending that much on two bottles of soda alone. The bottled water is an instance of doing what works for me.)
How will this new set-up work? Time will tell. I’m a stubborn old cuss sometimes, and when I get set in my ways, they can difficult to change. For now, though, I’ve created a sort of barrier in front of my office door: a stack of food that’s good for me and cost much less than the junk at the mini-mart next door. In fact, I’m eating an apple and a bag of almonds even as I type this.
I don’t want to make it sound like I’m beating myself up over this. Yes, I’ve been lazy and stupid, but it’s not like I’ve ruined my life or anything. But I do find it interesting how easy it was for me to slip into bad habits: I’ve probably spent $100-$150 on junk food over the past month. It’s a reminder to keep a closer watch on my spending habits!
I’ll bet you find yourself doing silly stuff like this, too, sometimes. Right? Right? (Please tell me it’s not just me.)