You ever catch yourself saying that whenever you’re about to splurge on something??
“JUST ONE TIME!”
And then that one time becomes two times, and then three, and then before you know it you now have yourself a regular line item in your budget? ;)
I don’t know if there’s a term for that (accidental lifestyle inflation?), but a commenter recently reminded me of it and how damn sneaky it can be, haha…
I was in a cafe once and eavesdropping on a blind date next to me.
The girl was telling her date about this economic theory she had heard on a Ted talk or something, and how when you start off buying expensive/luxury things, such as a Starbucks coffee for £3 rather than making an instant coffee in the office for free, you are not just spending that £3, but you are also setting up your habits for it to become the norm to spend £3 *every day* on Starbucks. Same as getting a £10 Uber home after a crappy day at work or a £30 manicure when you can’t be bothered doing your own. It’s not the one off cost that is the problem, but turning this into part of your regular spending.
She was really interesting, but all her date had to say was, “Ew! I hate Starbucks coffee. I only get mine at independent cafes.” Totally dismissing her and also missing the point. I suspect there was no second date.
But such a good line there – “It’s not the one off cost that is the problem, but turning this into part of your regular spending.” – YES!!! That’s the devil working on your money!!
And as soon as I read that, I immediately realized I had been doing a dance with him lately too…
Y’all already know that I buy out coffee every morning as part of my “get free office space at coffee shops” strategy, but the other week I forgot to eat breakfast one day and decided to pick up a muffin “just this once” because I was STARVING, and then the next day came and I decided to do it again because nothing really bad happened, right?, and then the next again, and the next, and the next, and before I knew it I was picking up something scrumptious with my coffee going on three full weeks!
And I didn’t even see it coming!! Haha…
You just get so used to it that you don’t even think to challenge it, and then the second you do you (usually) snap right out of it. If only there was an app or something that would ring the alarms anytime we’re about to do something stupid, haha… it would change everything!! ;)
But alas we’re on our own with this, so let ME be your alarm today and accept this challenge of reviewing your recent bank/credit card statements and seeing if any naughty habits have formed for you lately, as well…
If you find it has, challenge yourself to break it over the next 7 days, and then reward yourself with some (free) candy afterwards for a job well done! I hear people will literally be giving it away come the 31st! ;)
As for me, I’m proud to report I’ve been muffin-free going on two weeks now, and devil permitting it’ll stay that way well into the future…
Appreciate the fine reporting, Kate!! You caught a problem I didn’t even know I had!
Jay loves talking about money, collecting coins, blasting hip-hop, and hanging out with his three beautiful boys. You can check out all of his online projects at jmoney.biz. Thanks for reading the blog!