Good morning, my name is Lindy, and I’m not frugal.
I try to be, really I do. But when it comes down to it, I always seem to find a way to undermine my own frugal efforts.
Take last weekend, for example. The spring weather had arrived and we had a rare day off from commitments, so we decided to take a family trip to the zoo.
Now, if I were a good personal finance blogger, I would be writing my tips about how to save money on a family outing such as this.
Instead I’m giving you,
How to spend as much money as possible on one trip to the zoo.
1. Forget all about the half-off admission coupon you had, and instead pay full price.
2. Think about packing a lunch, and then stop thinking about it and instead pay zoo lunch prices for all four people.
3. Allow your husband and your 6-year-old to go solo to the snack shack so that they come back with two $6 bags of cinnamon almonds instead of one to share.
4. Go later in the day and get so worn out and thirsty that you just have to stop at Starbucks on your way home.
In reality, we did have a lot of fun. And even though 2-year-old Baby Rock’s favorite part of the zoo was playing in the sand at the playground, he did get to pet a goat and see some monkeys swinging on trees, so it was a success in my book.
But I couldn’t help feeling guilty about all of the money passing through our fingertips that day (money guilt, why must you surface so often?). Because it was money we could have avoided if we’d planned ahead a little better.
Good morning, my name is Lindy, and I am not a planner.
A-Rob and I are more the types to just hop in the car and go. Because of this, we often end up spending more money on things like food and supplies for our lack of planning.
As we were driving to the zoo that day, I was thinking about this very trait of ours. My first inclination was to feel guilty about it. Followed quickly by my second inclination to say “screw guilt, life’s too short, I refuse to feel guilty over a few extra dollars.”
This has been a common pattern in my financial life:
Step 1. Feel guilty.
Step 2. Brazenly embrace my flaws and throw guilt out the door.
But while I was sitting in the car that day, I realized there could be a third step.
Step 3. Try to change for next time.
What if my inability to plan is, like Molly on Money writes, one of those myths I allow myself to live by? I could have thrown a few PB&J’s together that day if I’d wanted to, I could have breathed for a few minutes and remembered that coupon. But instead, I subconsciously dismissed the notions, operating under the belief that I am not a frugal zoo goer who plans ahead. Heck, or even just the belief that I am not frugal.
Yes, I should still push all that guilt aside, it does me no good. But it would be nice if it didn’t have to surface in the first place. It would be nice if I could allow myself to make the extra efforts to avoid it altogether. Especially since it’s really not that hard.
Good morning, my name is Lindy, and I’m going to be a frugal zoo goer next time.