I spent about 1.5 years of my life working my butt off and being financially frugal so I could pay off my $25,000 worth of student loan debt. I worked every extra shift, covered every spin class, never went to concerts, didn’t go on vacations or extra excursions, had my parents help me by buying food from Costco, I didn’t buy dunkin donuts or go out to eat often, I didn’t buy clothes unless it was a necessity. I was really extreme and I don’t apologize for it.
After I paid off my loans in August I went on a little splurge. I bought into a few kickstarter projects. I replaced my sports bras that would give me clothing burn after 3 miles running. I bought really nice sport tights made out of recycled plastic water bottles. I bought a trip to Europe. Then, in late August I also started my food study program.
The food study provided all my food for me for the next nine months of my life. So right when I allowed myself to go out to eat or even eat meals on the go, I started a program where I couldn’t do that.
That program ended three weeks ago. I now need to make my own food. I can sometimes (read: a lot of times) over pack my schedule. When all your food is made for you, this isn’t an issue. Last Monday was the first time I resorted to going to Panera in a pinch to buy dinner. I bought a $10 salad that was over rated. I felt guilty at the time. How could I spend that much on food? What about my other financial goals? Are they going down the drain? Seriously… could I be more dramatic?
My boyfriend pointed out to me that it was ok I bought the salad. It was sad that he had to even point that out to me in the first place. That’s what 1.5 years of frugality will leave imprinted on you.
Which leads me to the $2 avocado. For my lunches I buy ready made salad mixes and add either an avocado or grilled chicken strips from Trader Joe’s. I have this natural talent of timing avocado ripening just right. Not sure how it happened, but I do. On Wednesday we had a power outage at work and we were told it would take two hours to come back. I have always wanted to do a spur of the moment lunch with my boyfriend, so while he’s still only a half hour away I texted him and we decided to meet up for Indian. My salad with avocado was in the kitchen, ready for me to eat and be healthy with a perfectly ripened avocado.
After planning something that I’ve always thought would be a fun thing, the thought in my mind was “what if my avocado is too ripe by tomorrow and I’ve wasted it? Avocados are expensive”.
Avocados are two dollars. TWO DOLLARS.
Sometimes More often than I’d like to admit I have to remind myself that it’s ok to live life and not be perfect. To waste. To spend the $10 on a salad. As Ramit Sethi says, it’s not the $10 salad that’s going to be the deal breaker. It’s your financial systems and your income.