We are creatures of habit. We like the way we do things, bad behavior or not. We love to celebrate special occasions in life: a birthday, an anniversary or a holiday. Heck, at my house we like to celebrate when Friday rolls around! Most celebrations demand a debit from our checkbook for some reason. In my recent Microeconomics class I learned that most people are happy when they are consuming some kind of good or service. I can probably agree with that. The problem is that most of the time we pay for these goods and services when we can’t afford to. Think about it from a diet perspective. I can’t count the number times have we’ve been going along at a good clip for a couple of weeks, we eat right, we exercise, we avoid cookies and cakes, and then BAM: a special occasion. “Oh I guess I can eat this 2500 calorie piece of cheese cake, it is Friday after all!” We do this with our money so many times, and it absolutely kills our momentum.
Because we love our little extras, it’s no surprise when we are heartbroken because we are broke and decide not to go eat an extravagant meal for a special occasion, buy a hundred-dollar gift for birthday or Christmas, or take a vacation for an anniversary. My wife and I recently experienced this feeling during our fifteenth wedding anniversary. We would have loved to have had a big time somewhere with no kids. The truth was, we couldn’t afford it, the only way we could have done this is to take from our emergency funds or from our 401k, and at the time, it just wasn’t worth it. We opted to do something later on, if the opportunity presented itself. As luck would have it, a month later we are able to afford a couples retreat with our church for $175 bucks. We are also taking a Fall drive just to see the Autumn colors Oklahoma has to offer soon…it might cost a tank of gas and an eat out meal.
The point is, if you can’t afford to spend extra, DON’T, no matter what the occasion! A special day doesn’t negate the universal laws of mathematics. If you have to check your account to go out to eat because you might overdraw if you spend too much, you should probably eat the bologna in your refrigerator.