Lately I’ve been thinking about how saving money is a lot like losing weight. Losing weight requires constant effort to move more. You have to think several times a day about making smart food choices instead of what tastes good. And it’s not a short term prospect: it’s a lifestyle change. Saving money requires me to do more work in my life: cook more, drive less, etc. Every day I have to think about what’s the cheaper, most cost effective choice, instead of what’s easy or fun. And it’s not like my financial situation is going to change in a month or two: I’ve got a few more years of this salary, and cost of living is only going to go up.
And sometimes with weight loss you hit a plateau. I’ve worked hard this month, but I still had to dip into my savings to tide over the last few days. Poor planning, a few poor choices, and that was it. I can tell myself that if I hadn’t made other changes, I would’ve had to hit my savings more, but that doesn’t make me feel better. The good side is I will get that money back (I had to pay upfront for a conference, and the school will reimburse me in 4-6 weeks.) I’m taking this to mean that I have to work harder, pay attention to the smaller things and plan better: I knew that conference was coming, I just didn’t budget for it.
Grr. Here’s to a better February.