Spending to stay sane

AJ:We’ve referred to this concept before, but based on a recent string of events it has crept back into our lives. Sometimes you just HAVE to make decisions that don’t take saving money into account as their primary goal. There are times in my life where my priorities get all out of whack. We’re working too much, we haven’t seen our friends in weeks, we’ve eaten out 4 days out of 5, etc, etc. On the surface I’m very self-aware, but there comes a point where I need to step back and admit failure – to the tune of no caffeine, no carbs and no dairy in this case.

Because sometimes sanity is more important than self control
AJ: It physically pains me to spend money unnecessarily, but a few weeks ago, after several weeks of on and off work travel, home cooked meals focused more on saving money than on saving calories and a looming annual health exam, I bit the bullet and went for the drastic. I dove head-first into my first cleanse, the 10-day Advocare Cleanse (AdvoCare).

Financially this made no sense. I had to purchase a product to reset my body after weeks of over eating and too little physical activity. BUT spending $30 on the cleanse and $25 on Spark (Advocare Spark Energy Drink), the caffeine replacement (if you do this and drink caffeine at all, GET THIS. You will hate yourself if you don’t, I promise), seemed like a small price to pay for the overall good of my mental stability – for full disclosure, I also purchased a $6 pint of dairy free soy ice cream on day 9 so that I didn’t lose it. Thankfully I loved the cleanse, survived without any major meltdowns and am happy with the results and perspective I gained, but I wasn’t at a place where I felt like I had the emotional strength to do it on my own. What we sacrificed financially was tiny in comparison to the mental break it gave me from having to make the right choices for myself in the midst of tons of other time consuming responsibilities.

Weigh the spend against the big picture
AJ: Kirby and I have serious saving goals. We are so fully dedicated to the long-term goals we have identified for ourselves that oftentimes they take precedence over general, practical logic (for me at least). I find myself standing in our kitchen outlining our meals and grocery lists six weeks in advance struggling to decide if we should eat healthy foods or save a few hundred dollars by eating on the cheap (which clearly wins out many months). For me, this is probably the one area where I need to overrule my practicality and do what’s right for me and my husband and spend the few hundred extra dollars on veggies over pastas and potatoes, so that I don’t have to spend $50+ cleansing and putting my body through this cycle.

KJ: Sometimes, as the adage says, “you have to spend a little money in order to make some money.” This can definitely be applied to your personal life too (within reason of course!) on finding the most impactful ways to spend your money wisely, so you can maintain (or improve) your health, give yourself a little “me” time, and stay on track with the rest of your life. Just like the philosophy of the Weight Watchers program, there should be a little wiggle room for each person to indulge now and again, so learn the balance of a proper amount of indulging versus continuously overindulging. Plus, there’s a certain amount of sense to spending a little today when the future is in no way certain!

Keep growing
AJ: When we decided to push harder for savings more than a year ago, I knew it would be more a struggle for me than it would be for Kirby. Generally, Kirby isn’t a spender. Generally, I was a huge spender. I do all of the meal planning, grocery shopping and errands, so the bulk of the money we spend passes through my filter, which can be a complete burden at times. At the end of the day what really matters is that I continue to focus on improving – reducing the expenses we do have within reason, monitoring the necessary spending that isn’t fully planned for and researching better options for things we spend on consistently. Every decision doesn’t have to support the overall goal so long as the focus is still there!

KJ: It’s not always about staying on track each and every second of the day. In fact, it’s more about the thought process and skills developed that goes along with being cognizant of your expenditures that makes all of the difference. You’ll be much better off long-term if you take this perspective and apply it throughout your life to find ways to do more with less, and you will see the compounding effect it can have on your life and the lives of your family.

    What do you fight yourself to balance?
    What do you sacrifice for the sake of savings?
    How often do you find yourself needing to re-set your priorities?

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