Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Shifting priorities

Recently, I realized how silly it was that I have gotten stuck in some old habits, mostly regarding money, that don't seem to make as much sense any more.

For instance, I've long been in the habit of knowing what gas stations have the cheapest prices, and planning my trips around getting to them without going too far out of my way. I realized, if I spend a little time thinking about it, I can save 10-15 cents per gallon. Okay, we're talking about 10 gallons per week. So... I can make the extra effort to save myself $1.00 to $1.50 per week. Hmmm. Now, when I was poor, when I paid my rent on a credit card check, because I simply didn't have the cash, that made sense. Every buck was another can of tuna, or a couple boxes of mac n' cheese.

But I've realized that I'll go out and spend $60 or $70 on dinner for me and the wife sometimes. One glass of wine at a nice restaurant goes for $6 or $8. If I forego that once every month or so, it makes up for the difference in gas, and then some. Or... if I simply ride my bike instead of driving, it gives me exercise, and saves a lot more on gas (and pollutes less, to boot).

I've also realized that it's okay to spend money on clothes, which I do wear most days. My wife and I were out over the weekend, and spent our date buying shoes, then having dinner. It's silly and funny I know, that a thirty-something married couple buys shoes on a date. But we both needed them. We'd both had some shoes (which we wore quite often) that were older than our children (and #1 is going on four soon). They had been resoled, and repaired, but needed to be replaced. What we came to think about is that we have been stuck in our old thinking that (while we'd like to maintain our frugality) doesn't really reflect our current situation. We hate clutter, but we won't throw things out if they still have a quantum of use left. That sort of thing.

All this is to say, I've been thinking more and more about old habits, well established, that need to be modified, or rethought. What about you? What old habits do you have from your younger days that need rethinking?

1 comment:

Prof. Me said...

Hand up here for a shoe date! When T and I were in New Town this past weekend, we did some shopping and each bought a pair of... SLIPPERS! I think that officially counts as way lamer than shoes. T and I are also fairly frugal (T more than me) and so, like you and your wife, we have a lot of "things" around here that could probably use replacing but that still have a lot of use left in them. T wears the same winter coat he's had since 1997, for example (although he doesn't wear it most days now since a Columbia parka doesn't look great with a suit!) and I still have jeans I wore when we met. Just can't bear to part with things that have served us well, I guess.