How would you feel if you wasted $3? Guilty? Like a squanderer? Would you take measures to ensure it didn’t happen again? Or could you care less? Let us know in a comment. Meanwhile, here’s how I recently changed my mindset own thinking on this very issue:
Last weekend, my fiancé and I rented a DVD from one of those dollar-a-day kiosks.
It was a total guy movie that I didn’t really want to watch, but I had to compromise because I made him endure scenes from Dirty Dancing at least three times in the past month. (In my defense, a particular network plays it constantly).
Anyway, we rented it, got busy with errands, and never got around to watching it!
When the next day came and went and we didn’t make time to watch the movie yet again, I grew panicky. I actually started devising a rule list for when we should rent movies. That’s right, an “Are we really going to watch this?” mental checklist. It went something like this:
- We had to be sure we would have time to watch the movie that night.
- Our schedule had to be clear in order for us to rent a movie.
- All other errands/plans had to be complete before we rented the movie.
Sometimes, you have to let go…
Any sane person can see that creating a checklist of requirements for renting a one dollar DVD is taking the money-saving game a bit too far. Even I realized how silly it sounded. This was literally the first time we hadn’t gotten around to watching a rented movie and I was already feeling the guilt and entering full-on Emergency Budget Saving mode.
Maintaining your finances is serious business. But sometimes, when you really get into it, you start to obsess a bit. Trust me; it happens to the best of us.
A little obsessing is probably a good thing, it’s what keeps our savings accounts healthy. But there comes a point when it goes too far. The fun in life goes out the door when you start brooding over every dollar that you can’t control. As I’ve written before, it’s about balance.
I’m just happy I stopped myself before someone organized an intervention.
Expect bumps in the road
After you work so hard to create and stick to a budget, save for the future, and curb your unnecessary spending, a little bump in the road can be frustrating. But there are always going to be hiccups in our financial plans and sometimes we just have to go with the flow.
Little bumps for just a couple dollars here and there will not derail your entire financial plan (as much as it might seem like they could). The little bumps are a given; you’ll never be able to prevent every wasted dollar…no matter how hard you plan. If you’re sticking to a budget and planning ahead, you’re probably already avoiding most big money-wasters and budget-busters as it is.
Don’t drive yourself and others crazy
I’m pretty relieved that my DVD rental checklist never made it past the rough draft and into my fiancé’s hands before I realized how ridiculous it was. By now, he’s pretty used to my obsession with saving money, but I’m not quite sure that this latest idea would have been well received.
Worrying yourself (and your loved ones) about every little penny just isn’t healthy.
In the end, we were able to watch the movie – and return it – by the third rental day. I was only three bucks out, but I learned a valuable lesson about not obsessing in the process.
What’s your take? Do you obsess over pennies (or dollars) here and there? Either way, what’s your justification?