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My financial fad diet

August 4th, 2008 at 08:38 pm

Last year my friend and I tried the unhealthiest diet on the planet: the Master Cleanse. It lasted about 2 1/2 days. I donít think I need to tell you that drinking nothing but cayenne pepper, maple syrup, lemon juice, and salt water was not the spiritually enlightening experience it was touted to be. The hour after I gave up on it I consumed enough fast food to support a small franchise.

Now that I have entered into a pretty healthy relationship with food, Iíve realized that my affair with yo-yo dieting isnít over yet. My spending habits follow a very familiar pattern. Budget/count pennies/work/work/sleep/budget/rinse and repeat/SPEND SPEND SPEND SPEND/remorse/budget/count pennies.

The spending spree usually starts with the notion that I need to reward myself for 3 weeks of being a thrifty recluse (ďIíll get depressed if I donít do this!Ē). Itís not meant to be a spree at all. Itís just a trip to the grocery store to get a few necessities, a very focused trip to H&M for one scarf, and a low-key night out. As my diet-friend once said: good intention, poor execution. I come home with 15 pounds of organic out-of-season berries, and that quiet dinner with a friend turns into movie, which turns into drinks after, which all together turns into bank account depletion. Or even better, my latest feat: run off to San Francisco for 2 nights of clubbing and the Hilton (in retrospect this one was totally worth it).

Then itís always back to the drawing board. How can I account for my weekend and pay my rent the following week? Re-budget. ďI just wonít spend a extra cent for 3 weeks.Ē And- I donít. But by the end of week three, Iím restless, antsy, and ready to make up for lost time/dollars. I have a work-related trip to Boston coming up, but I am meeting up with friends there. Then all of my other friends come back the following week to LA. For a dieter this is the equivalent of a looming Thanksgiving dinner. I need to break the cycle before I go into financial cardiac arrest.

6 Responses to “My financial fad diet”

  1. pjmama Says:

    Sounds like you need to change the way you think of money and budgeting. This was a problem of mine for a while. I think, "oh, I deserve to have this because I've been successfully depriving myself for x days." Now, I dont give myself that excuse, because I choose to spend money on whatever I want. But when I go to make a purchase, I ask myself 2 questions: Will I regret this later on? and Would this money be better spent paying down my debt or toward my trip to Africa?

    Puts things in perspective... Good luck!

  2. PauletteGoddard Says:

    Interesting. The master cleanse helped me to dump my caffeine addiction -- I took it when I was suffering from some bronchitis or pneumonia that just wouldn't go away. The cayenne was good for my circulation and the lemon juice cut the excess mucus, and the maple syrup didn't spike up my insulin production the way sugar does. Without the caffeine I'm less jittery and my legs don't cramp up so much.

  3. ktmarvels Says:

    I also think you need to make sure that you are budgeting some "fun money." That way you won't feel like you are depriving your self, and when you do splurge, you have already planned some money for it.

  4. greengirl Says:

    I have about $55 each week I can spend on whatever I want. Unfortunately it usually ends up being around $100, but the thought is there...?
    I think the notion that you have to be restrained is the one thing that makes you want to break the rules sometimes. I agree with pjmama, asking yourself questions about the money you're about to spend might help to not make purchases you will regret.

  5. greengirl Says:

    ps: i like your blog and your writing style, i'll be a regular reader from now on Big Grin

  6. TryingHard Says:

    You took the works right out of my mouth! I'm dealing with the same struggles of spending and saving.

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