Friday, July 29, 2011

A Challenge within a Challenge

When I left off in my last blog, I mentioned that I was going to do a little challenge for myself, not to spend any money for a week. Well I'm very proud to say that I almost did it. Yes ladies and gentlemen, I effed it up. There was nothing I wanted more than to write you another success story about how I had achieved greatness and like every god awful family movie, have yet another happy ending to share with you. But life isn't some sappy movie where everything just goes smoothly. If you want a movie to be great, you need some failure, some passion, and for fox snakes, some drama! So here I am again, sitting in the airport waiting for my flight which is now 2 hours and 45 minutes delayed (3 hours is their golden number for free $hit) writing you my blog entry on what worked in my anti-spending spree and what completely effed me over. 

The week started off just like any other. I woke up on Monday morning, bright and early and hit the snooze button on my iPhone 2 times (seriously, even my alarm clock has been rendered obsolete thanks to iPhone). I got myself all showered up and ready to start my week, but I did two fundamentally different things on this particular morning. The first thing was to pack a big tupperware full of carrots and celery sticks. It took me all of 5 minutes to peel and cut up all those yummy veggies and I was out the door. But wait, what about the second ever-so-important thing did you do John? I think it's the smartest thing I did all week; I left my wallet at home! I'm talking debit, credit, and even ID. You would be surprised how easy it is to still get money without your debit and credit cards. As long you have ID, that money is still readily accessible which is why I couldn't risk it. I saw someone pull this trick on Gail's show and letmetellya, Gail was NOT impressed. 

Out in the real world, it was a lot easier to avoid spending when I literally had nothing to spend. Of course I would have been able to simply go home and grab my wallet at anytime, but I didn't because I'm pretty bad-a$$. I showed more restraint than a comedian at a Star Wars convention. My Monday seemed to be rather effortless. I went home for lunch and ate some leftovers, certainly a success and since I had brought snacks and coffee is free at my office, I was able to keep myself happy and not hungry. 

Tuesday was a whole mess of the same old crap, with the exception that I wasn't able to go home for lunch. Leftovers can look good and smell good, but many times they end up tasting like some half too hot, half too cold pile of horse feces. This was the case for my first attempt in a long time to bring a lunch to work. I did the reheated pasta thing which can work pretty well but today, not so much. You know when the pasta gets all rubbery and dried out? Yeah. Anyway, I still ate that garbage and went to my lunchtime class de français. Il c'était bien. 

Then there was Wednesday. Again, I brought a lunch and met up with my friend Derek for a little gossip/bit€h session. Again with the pasta, but this time I jazzed it up with some zucchini which adds some moisture and made it not taste like a$$. I left the wallet at home again and had some more veggies to snack on, but when I hit hour 11 of my work/after work French class day, I knew that the following couple of days were going to suck the big one. I was freaking tired and hungry. Normally I would have left at the break to grab a coffee and a chocolate pecan square (it's like flavors are having sex in my mouth), but since I didn't have any money, I was rendered powerless. This just goes to show that I know myself too well and that I did the right thing by leaving the money at home. 

Wednesday, oh Wednesday. This day, I kind of effed up, but I'll let you be the judge. So far the people I talked to about this day have all agreed that I didn't screw up, but boy let me tell you, I was positive this would have been my downfall. After my 11 hour day, I got home and made 3 dishes, my supper, my lunch for the next day, and my snacks (leftovers, pasta, and hard boiled eggs respectively). I was feeling good about myself and how well I had done with the challenge thus far, but then I remembered that I still needed to pick up my book club book for my flight home. I had gotten $50 worth of gift cards for Chapters (the Wal-Mart of book stores) so I figured it's not spending money since I'm using a gift to pay for it. Now, you know you're doing good at avoiding spending when you walk into a store and it's completely different from the last time you've been in it. That was a moment where I just got a stupid grin on my face because I really did feel good about not going shopping for so long. But at the same time, I had lots of money in gift cards with me (you should note I also had another $25 I found that I had kept for years with me as well) so I was really tempted to buy much more than what I came into the store to buy. I picked up all sorts of things and managed to say no to them all, including a brand new Settlers of Catan game and even another book by Gail!! I don't know what Gail would say about that one... At the end of the ordeal with the store, I managed to get the book I came in for, A Tale of Two Cities AND I got it for only $5.50! Stupid Oprah's book club version was $25!! It's the same freaking book! Even though I did spend $5.50 I still feel like I did a tremendous job by not buying. 

When I got to Thursday, I was a total spoiled brat. My partner cheated for me (not on me) by making me a meal fit for a king. There was shrimp curry and red AND white wine, and chocolate for dessert. That was such an awesome treat and I certainly felt good to be spoiled. I guess it goes to show that good things will come to you when you do good things for yourself. I really am a lucky duck. 

Which now takes me to today/Friday. The day where I spent. There is only one way to explain why I effed up today - poor planning. Truth be told, I knew this was coming on Monday when I was thinking about my flight. I forgot to factor in that I needed to get to the airport! The one expense that I never budget for decided to show up and $hit on my parade (it's the saying you love, but made new for 2011). That's right ladies and gentlemen, I spent $5.20 on bus tickets and I have lost my challenge. The funny part, I probably could have just got a ride to the airport because my flight is so delayed and wouldn't have spent a thing. 

Now I face my extra challenge for the week, sitting in an airport for 4 hours without anything to eat but a roll of Mentos (I suck on them on the plane to release the pressure on my ears). I am so hungry and ready to hit up the Tim Horton's (I know, I'm THAT hungry) and getting an ice Capp and some kind of sandwich. I guess technically I would have been on the flight anyway with food in my belly, and I do have a couple of plums to eat, but I don't think it's wise to go another 6 hours without food. So, it looks like I'm going to go all out and get me a beer, start my book, eat some rapingly high priced airport food, and let my challenge have its way with me. 

This challenge had certainly been worth every moment though. I needed to remind myself that I am capable of living on less and I lived for 5 days on spending $40 total, and that's pretty spectacular. I learned that you can always rely on loved ones to encourage and support you. Wish me luck in Saskatoon. I spend like a mofo when I'm on vacay so I hope come back with more wonderful budgeting tales of yore to share. 

Love always, 


P.S. I also bought two 5-cent candies when I got my bus tickets. I'm such a liar!! 

P.P.S. they just announced yet another delay so I got a meal voucher worth $10! Things are looking up! 

1 comment:

  1. Lol, oh John, congratulations, I think this is your best blog post ever (it's MY favorite, anyways!)

    I'm just now sitting at Heathrow Terminal 3. It cost 17 POUNDS just to get here, on the TUBE, which is a total rip! It only took 30 minutes to check in, which is a full 3 hours, 30 minutes faster than they advertise, and I'm sitting in front of Pret a Manger (pronounced phonetically in England, none of that frenchie crap here). Pret is a 'homemade' sandwich shop that is SO great, but I'm going to try and hold off these three hours in honour of you.

    I'm staring at a roast turkey, stuffing, cranberry, tomato, lettuce mayo whole grain sandwitch and a can of homemade ginger beer....

    Nevermind, I'm going to just go ahead and eat it.