Budgeting

Appreciate the Small Things

Going back to work after a long time off always reminds me to appreciate my holidays. Unfortunately, this epiphany always arrives on the first day back at work (funny that, eh?!).

This morning, I got up early, (after four  weeks of sleep-ins I cannot stress how hard this simple task was). I had the nervous, spasmodic ‘tummy-butterflies’ as I chocked down my breakfast. When I donned my corporate suit, make-up and jewellery, I suddenly realized how comfortable my beach thongs, with the holes in the heel, actually were (even though I complained about them all summer).

Sitting on the train, I decided to take the plunge, and see how my holiday account how fared. I thought I had taken pretty good care of it, but I hadn’t actually checked the balance in a few weeks.

Sighing into the plastic train seat, and grasping my paper coffee cup just a little tighter in one hand, I viewed the account on my phone with the other…

The well was dry! There was not a drop left! 4 weeks ago that account was brimming with money; it was overflowing into four figures. Now it had barely enough to breach two. In fact, it was at $11.30!

I held the phone close to my face, trying to see if I had misread the amount. Fellow passengers were starting to stare. What had happened?

Gazing over the morning city skyline, I came to an agonizing conclusion. I viewed my ‘paid-leave’ as ‘free’ money. In contrast to this morning, where I was acutely aware of the lengths required to earn a wage (I hadn’t even got to work at this point, and already it was painful!), I didn’t put such a value on my holiday pay, so I spent it far more frivolously that I would my fortnightly pay check.

How could I avoid making this mistake again?

I pondered this as I pushed through the crowds of people to get off at my stop.

I enjoyed myself on holiday, but I didn’t ‘go nuts’ with the credit card. I spent very little on souvenirs and even less on clothes. Where did my money go?

As I waited for the elevator at my work, I glanced up momentarily. Everyone was in their suits, phone in one hand, and coffee in the other. Just like me.

Ah! My mind snapped with the answer, just as the up arrow on the lift lit up.

Coffee! Food! That is where my dough went! Into bread, cake, coffee, lunch, cocktails, more coffee, dinner dessert, snacks, room service and airport take-away!

How could I have been so stupid? I spent it all, and all I gained was 3 kilos.

Fellow Savers, take heed. Food is fun, it’s social, it’s comforting and yes, it’s necessary. But in moderation! There were times during my holiday that I shared a huge breakfast with a friend, only to have a restaurant lunch with my family the same day. I wasted that lunch money. I couldn’t fully enjoy my lunch, as I was still digesting the egg and bacon breakfast. My appreciation for the ‘once-in-a-while’ event was diluted as I splurged.

So, today, if you happen to treat yourself, make it last, and for goodness sake, appreciate it.

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