Author Topic: Help with framing my values on poor purchases  (Read 3701 times)

vagon

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Help with framing my values on poor purchases
« on: July 23, 2015, 06:18:08 PM »
I would like to think I'm doing pretty well now in my second year of mustachianism. One thing I still havent achieved is the mindset around devalueing food and drink that's essentially expensive and bad for me. In other words I am still viewing things like meals out, a beer at the end of the day or an energy dirnk (my version of cofffee) as a "reward" and so I feel a twinge of deprivation when I am resisting the cravings.

Any tips or hints on changing the mindset? Is it just a matter of more applied time/willpower?

MDM

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Re: Help with framing my values on poor purchases
« Reply #1 on: July 23, 2015, 07:01:15 PM »
What fraction of your total expenses are these?  If <1%, enjoy!  If >10%, you have a legitimate issue.  In between is up to you....

lbmustache

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Re: Help with framing my values on poor purchases
« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2015, 07:06:22 PM »
I agree, if it's a large portion of your income then maybe time to cut back, but there are ways to be cheaper. For example, I had a bad habit of having a meal out almost every day. Even just cutting it down to 3-4x a month rather than 3-4x a week has a huge effect and I don't feel deprived - in fact I feel healthier and so does my bank account! ;)

If you have to have the energy drinks, getting them in bulk from Costco etc. can also trim down your expenses.

Like others have said, MMM isn't about depriving yourself of everything. But, if you have $10k debt, earn $4k a month and spend $500 on eating out, then there might be a problem...

Rufus.T.Firefly

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Re: Help with framing my values on poor purchases
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2015, 07:10:36 PM »
I'll echo what other posters have said: it's not about depriving yourself. It is about optimizing the expenses of happiness. So if a beer at the end of the day makes you happy, then optimize that expense. Beer can be $9/drink or a lot lot less. How much less? That's up to you to figure out, that's the game.

wordnerd

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Re: Help with framing my values on poor purchases
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2015, 07:13:30 PM »
Have you read the Power of Habit? It has good insight on what drives to want a cookie (or coffee or beer), how to recognize the trigger, and then change the habit loop. It may be that there is something else you're seeking from your energy drink habit (eg, getting away from your desk) that you could get without going to get an energy drink.

My preferred mode of change is very gradually cutting out the desired thing until I don't really crave it anymore. Life is made up of thousands of tiny decisions a day. If you just make one or two better choices a day, it eventually becomes natural. I've had good success with this in both cutting expenses and achieving significant weight loss (kept it off for almost a decade now), but everyone is different. If you need to see quick results to stay motivated, it probably isn't the best approach.

vagon

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Re: Help with framing my values on poor purchases
« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2015, 07:40:21 PM »
Thanks guys. To be clear I dont deprive myself, but its more a question of not wanting it in the first place.

Booze we (2 people) spend per month about $100 from liquor stores and around $200 on drinks at bars depending on the occasions occurring that month. I think this is the biggest area of concern as its normally instigated by friends that are not in the same frame of mind. These are good friends who have been around for more than a decade so I wont be dropping them any time soon, but I have been choosing my interactions more carefully to lower bar/pub spending.
Eating out, including energy drinks and my wife's coffees end up at somewhere near $100 a month
Variation (both up and down) on these expenses is about 30%

We earn around $10,800 a month post-tax so I guess these habits represent  3.7% all up on average but in a range of 2.5 to 5% in general.

Have you read the Power of Habit? It has good insight on what drives to want a cookie (or coffee or beer), how to recognize the trigger, and then change the habit loop. It may be that there is something else you're seeking from your energy drink habit (eg, getting away from your desk) that you could get without going to get an energy drink.

My preferred mode of change is very gradually cutting out the desired thing until I don't really crave it anymore. Life is made up of thousands of tiny decisions a day. If you just make one or two better choices a day, it eventually becomes natural. I've had good success with this in both cutting expenses and achieving significant weight loss (kept it off for almost a decade now), but everyone is different. If you need to see quick results to stay motivated, it probably isn't the best approach.

I have read it! I had also kind of forgotten about it as I compulsively read. Great idea to re-focus on triggers and you are right a lot of the time I catch myself thinking time to go grab X when its really more like "time to procrastinate". I'll have to think about a suitable replacement habit.

EDIT to add earnings and variation from month to month.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2015, 07:48:44 PM by vagon »

vagon

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Re: Help with framing my values on poor purchases
« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2015, 07:52:58 PM »
I'll echo what other posters have said: it's not about depriving yourself. It is about optimizing the expenses of happiness. So if a beer at the end of the day makes you happy, then optimize that expense. Beer can be $9/drink or a lot lot less. How much less? That's up to you to figure out, that's the game.

I guess my concern here is "should I be deriving happiness from a beer?"

I've been drinking to celebrate and/or relax for more than half my life and I question why I do it when its clearly not the healthiest thing to be doing.
For example its not great that I go to the fridge to grab a beer when I am about to sit down and play a video game to relax. Its not like I do it every time I game, but regardless of the frequency isnt the video game enough?

forummm

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Re: Help with framing my values on poor purchases
« Reply #7 on: July 23, 2015, 07:57:49 PM »
I'll echo what other posters have said: it's not about depriving yourself. It is about optimizing the expenses of happiness. So if a beer at the end of the day makes you happy, then optimize that expense. Beer can be $9/drink or a lot lot less. How much less? That's up to you to figure out, that's the game.

I guess my concern here is "should I be deriving happiness from a beer?"

I've been drinking to celebrate and/or relax for more than half my life and I question why I do it when its clearly not the healthiest thing to be doing.
For example its not great that I go to the fridge to grab a beer when I am about to sit down and play a video game to relax. Its not like I do it every time I game, but regardless of the frequency isnt the video game enough?

It feels like you're overthinking it. It's OK to enjoy beer. It's OK to enjoy video games. It's OK to enjoy them together. If you're doing it too much, so that it's hurting other parts of your life or something, then you can adjust how often you're doing it. If you're playing say 30 minutes, 3 times per week, that sounds like a good way to relax.

PurpleEi

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Re: Help with framing my values on poor purchases
« Reply #8 on: July 23, 2015, 08:00:18 PM »
I have a question I tend to ask myself in this situation:

"Will NOT buying this, significantly DECREASE my standard of living?"

If the answer is NO - I don't buy it. I don't need it and I don't even really want it.


bsmith

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Re: Help with framing my values on poor purchases
« Reply #9 on: July 23, 2015, 08:01:39 PM »
Quote
drinks at bars

How about drinks at your place instead? Everyone's invited! BYOB. You provide a few mustachian snacks.

vagon

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Re: Help with framing my values on poor purchases
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2015, 08:10:09 PM »
Quote
drinks at bars

How about drinks at your place instead? Everyone's invited! BYOB. You provide a few mustachian snacks.

Yep we definitely do this and I recommend cheaper bars etc, but I do respect its other people's choices when its their b'day for example.

I have a question I tend to ask myself in this situation:

"Will NOT buying this, significantly DECREASE my standard of living?"

If the answer is NO - I don't buy it. I don't need it and I don't even really want it.

I might be reading this the wrong way, say I dont buy a case of beer how could that decrease my standard of living?

It feels like you're overthinking it. It's OK to enjoy beer. It's OK to enjoy video games. It's OK to enjoy them together. If you're doing it too much, so that it's hurting other parts of your life or something, then you can adjust how often you're doing it. If you're playing say 30 minutes, 3 times per week, that sounds like a good way to relax.

Thanks forumm you could be right, but a lot of people on this forum set a pretty high bar so its hard to tell sometimes! Feels good to just have the discussion and talk it out.

bsmith

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Re: Help with framing my values on poor purchases
« Reply #11 on: July 23, 2015, 08:26:15 PM »
Quote
Quote from: bsmith on Today at 08:01:39 PM

    Quote

        drinks at bars


    How about drinks at your place instead? Everyone's invited! BYOB. You provide a few mustachian snacks.


Yep we definitely do this and I recommend cheaper bars etc, but I do respect its other people's choices when its their b'day for example.

"Yeah, I'd love to do that, but I worry a lot about DWIs these days. Did you see that article the other day about (recent horrific DWI wreck)? So yeah, we'll go since it's yer bday, but I've been thinking more about that stuff these days."

We said this a few times, and then friends started saying it, and now we go to all go to bars a lot less. Could be because we're older, but we're not hitting the wineries as much either.

The_path_less_taken

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Re: Help with framing my values on poor purchases
« Reply #12 on: July 23, 2015, 08:59:12 PM »
.
[/quote]

Thanks forumm you could be right, but a lot of people on this forum set a pretty high bar so its hard to tell sometimes! Feels good to just have the discussion and talk it out.
[/quote]




Whoa! Nobody sets rules for your life, but you. Ever. Some people on here do things that make me laugh out loud: again, their money/life so their choice.


Here's the thing: in your 20's a lot of your friends 'only' want to party in clubs. That's their choice.

But yours could be as suggested above: "Hey, what if we went to a concert instead? Hiking? To the beach?Or a museum (many are free first Wed of the month)? Or a play?" Or whatever floats your boat. I recall tipping a studly bartender 4 bucks for a $5 drink because...I could tell he wasn't wearing boxers or briefs? (I wish I could say only once....but it was a hot nightclub and I was dancing...so maybe 5x...arrrgh)

If I had a TARDIS  here right now I would go bitchlslap myself silly: "you gave him how much money because he had a cute ass?"  ;-0

So....a beer here and there won't kill you. You can MAKE energy drinks at home, btw. Recipes all over the net...and they wouldn't have half the crap in them that commercial ones do.

I think what works for me the most is time: "I could blow two hours in a smoky bar with loud drunk people now, or take in the new Terminator movie and have change left over." Same amount of time and probably fun, but less money spent.

I personally only feel deprived when I "can't" do something. As in: no money/time. When it's my choice...it usually feels sorta badass.