Like everyone else, I have many bad habits. My hike will require mastering these bad habits in order to make sure they don’t get in the way of my goals. So I’ve created a goal of smashing one bad habit a month. The first one being my spending habits. I plan to instill the following five mantras in myself by the end of the may.
1 – When it comes to money, I come first
Exactly. Many financial books explain this in detail. Basically it goes like this: Every paycheck I receive, I pay myself; Every payment I receive, I pay myself; Every investment that matures, I pay myself. Putting yourself before your bills will ultimately help you save money, control spending, and become generally happy. Now, this doesn’t mean going out to dinner after each paycheck. It simply means taking that first chunk of money and investing it in yourself (Read: Chocolate, Stocks, and CDs).
2 – If it’s convenient, it probably isn’t a good idea
Vending machines, convenience stores, fast food, and low end restaurants in general have it in for me. Not just me, you’re on their list too. We all are. For this reason (and for my wallet) I’m going to avoid convenience food like the plague. Sadly, this means I must spend more money when I go out to eat. That’s true, but my more expensive outings are rare in comparison to the daily stops at convenience stores.
This doesn’t include food-that-happens-to-be-convenient. For instance, I have very healthy noodles and natural cheese that I tend to eat every morning. It’s very convenient. I simply boil the noodles, shred the cheese and I have breakfast! I’ve avoided all of the preservatives, pesticides, and gag-inducing artificial ingredients. More importantly, I save a lot of money at the same time.
3 – Watch out for costly addictions
Happily, I don’t smoke and I rarely drink. This doesn’t mean I have avoided having a laundry list of addictions. I love chocolate, coffee, and gadgets as well as the next Wes Andersen film. Thankfully the latter are few and far between. Anyway, because of these addictions, I tend to spend a lot of money. I buy chocolate, I go out to cafes, And I quote Bill Murray. It’s high time I stop spending money out of an emotional craving.
4 – Mottainai! (もったいないなぁ）
Wikipedia defines mottainai as “a sense of regret concerning waste when the intrinsic value of an object or resource is not properly utilized.” That’s a mouthful. Basically, if something isn’t used to it’s full extent, it’s a waste. Like throwing away blank paper, coffee grounds, or grandma. As lazy as you may be, grandma is still useful. With this in mind, I hope to cut down on my wasting of materials I could be using and reusing.
5 – I costly investment trumps any deteriorating shortcuts
It sounds counter-intuitive when you first read it, but I promise it’s not. Anything I purchase, I see as an investment. Whether it be stocks, food, or Japanese learning textbooks. Seeing things as an investment will change your perspective on everyday objects. If I have a few dollars to spend, I could use it on a new small textbook, McDonald fries, or a few songs on iTunes. It’s all relative to whatever my goals are.
Why am I telling you all of this? And what’s with that graph? Well, a month into planning, I just realized I still spend an obscene amount of cash at local convenience stores. Each purchase has been small. Maybe a 200 yen drink one day, and a 500 yen package of beef jerkey the following morning. This quickly destroys any budget I had. It’s true that sometimes it can’t be helped. (Read: I like to sleep in). However, my spending could easily be curtailed if I were to place accountability on myself.
By making my goals, mistakes, dreams, misfortunes, and winnings public, I plan to become the master of my shortcomings.
For that reason, I’ve decided to display a graph of daily goals publicly. Each day, I will enter in the positives and negatives within the field of each month’s goal. And instead of boring you with a detailed description of my daily habits, I’ve provided a cute graph (from Joe’s Goals) that’ll show my progress in any given month.
The first month: Spending.