We're doing well with the lowered heat, as long as everyone wears sweaters and doesn't walk around in their underwear (yes, that happens).
Today I was thinking about the role of cravings and the difficulty they create in maintaining a budget. Life is easier when there is no choice, sometimes. But we have the illusory situation of seemingly unlimited choices. The keys to making them easier to resist, for me, are habit, substitution and reorientation.
For example…today I was really craving an afternoon cookie around 3 PM. However, it has been a loooong time since I went out and spent money on a snack while I was at work. Occasionally I will go buy groceries and dip in to them, but only things that are intended to bring home and share. Going out to purchase a cookie for $1 (or more) is simply not an option, when I know I can make equally good ones at home for pennies on the dollar. I have a coworker who often buys snacks, lunch, and hot drinks from nearby cafes…and will say "it's just a couple of dollars". A couple of dollars here and there quickly add up to $10 or $20 a week or more, when it's a daily occurrence. This same coworker recently was overheard saying that she couldn't afford snow tires or chains, and was unable to get to work during the bad weather.
Whether or not snow tires are a necessary purchase in our neck of the woods, how we spend our money is all about building from the small choices. I'm not proud of this, but I ended up raiding another co-worker's chocolate stash (she had been gifted with milk chocolate, and only eats dark). Habit would not allow me to purchase a snack (I look forward to the day when it doesn't allow me to eat mid-afternoon sweets….), and thus I substituted for something else (thank you, my coworker!). It also helped to reorient--remembering how I intensely I feel the desire for financial freedom, and how much I want to avoid the anxiety of being obliged to spend 50 or so hours per week on my work life for the next 20+ years (and, I really like my job!)
Money spent today: Hopefully $5, if UFFDad remembers to buy milk on his way home. We're out!