Oh, hello! Come in. Have some tea. And I finally filled the candy dish again, so have at it.
I’m pretty sure that I have stated on here before that I SUCK at managing money. (I would go back and put a link to a previous post, but I’m too lazy. So, you can either look back, or just take my word for it. I suck.)
I have a few theories as to why it is that I suck at it so much, but I won’t go into those here. Suffice it to say, if I have cash in my wallet (or tossed in the bottom of the suitcase I call a purse), I will spend it. On what? It doesn’t matter. Anything. Everything. I wouldn’t even be able to tell you what 2 days later. It’s really pathetic.
About a year ago, I cut up my credit cards. It was traumatic and scary and hard and horrible and the best thing I have done for myself in a long time. (I still had balances, mind, but at least I could no longer ADD to those balances. Just go with it.) Honestly, if I had to do it again, I would. But I would keep one card. Because it is really hard to live in this world with no plastic.
What that little exercise in self-control has taught me is that if I don’t have the $ in my checking account, I can’t buy it. Whatever “it” is – food, entertainment, whatever. I am not always successful at sticking to that rule, and the amount of money I have actually given to my bank in the form of overdraft fees is staggering, but I am learning and getting better at it as I go.
So, why this story of woe on a Friday morning? Well, last week, I think it was Wednesday, I discovered that, yet again, I was overdrawn. And I had $1 in my wallet. Literally, one dollar. Oh. My. Goat. What was I going to do?? I couldn’t buy a coffee, or lunch, or stamps, or groceries. I had 10 days before I got paid again. Have I mentioned how much I suck at money? S.U.C.K.
With no choice, I had to eat whatever I had in the cupboard/fridge/freezer. I had to resort to the free coffee at work (with that powdered creamer crap) (which, BTW, GROSS) or nothing at all. There were no snacks, no nips to the cafe downstairs for a muffin or scone or salad. So much for my new goal of eating more healthful foods and cutting down on carbs and starches. I lived with a hunger headache and a rumbly tum. I dug deep into the bottom of my suitcase purse for spare change for an emergency Hershey bar yesterday.
But I made it. Today, I was able to walk into the grocery store across the street to get something for breakfast and know that I had the cash to pay for it. It was exciting. But, do you know what? I didn’t want most of it. I had a new perspective on the overwhelming number of options. I still have to go grocery shopping tonight, to stock up on food, and to replenish my larder, but I think my choices will be much more carefully made.
There were some good things to come out of this inadvertent experiment:
- I was finally able to clear out all the stuff in my freezer/cupboards that I had purchased, but didn’t feel like eating. You know the stuff. Pasta, rice, popcorn, whatever leftovers you may have frozen to “have later”. CLEAN START!
- I lost 9 pounds. That, right there, should tell you something. Clearly, I was eating too much.
- I learned that I really didn’t have to eat if I was bored/sad/depressed/stressed/happy. I could really only eat 3 meals a day. No snacking. And? I DIDN’T DIE. I didn’t (couldn’t) use food to mask those feelings. I ate when I was really hungry (read: dizzy and headachey), and that was it.
- I learned that I didn’t need to eat so much. I had to eat smaller portions in order to make the food last longer.
- I learned that powdered coffee creamer? Just as gross as I remembered.
- I learned that I don’t *have* to have dessert. But I just wanna.
- I learned that I really can live, and do it maybe not well, but sufficiently, without spending every last cent. It’s okay to NOT go to the drug store and buy magazines or whatever. Or to turn on the Kindle and download the 36 books that I have seen recommended lately that I now want to read. I can read the books I already have (that I haven’t read before) and discover “Oh, yeah! That’s why I bought that!”
- Oh, yeah, and I’m all set with carbs and starches for a while. Thanks.
So, I know this post started out about money and ended up about food. But, I found that the lack of one really impacts the other. This past 10 days has been hard and while I wouldn’t recommend anyone letting themselves get into the position I did, I would recommend trying to not spend money for a week on those little things that seem to so easily add up. And also, go through your stores of prepackaged foodstuffs and use that stuff up. Start over without all that stuff that really isn’t good for you. Maybe it would be better to just toss it, or to just NOT buy it in the first place, but you know what I mean.
And that cup of Chibani yogurt this morning? SO. FREAKING. GOOD!!!!! (If you haven’t tried this stuff? Holy crap. The best Greek yogurt out there, IMO. Seriously.) And it filled me up. I never thought I could be satisfied with just a yogurt, but I am. (If someone put a plate of bacon and eggs in front of my, I wouldn’t say no, mind. But I’m comfortable with just the yogurt for now.) This may be the start of something big for me. *fingers crossed*
Oh, and that dollar in my wallet? Yep. I still have it.