I don’t like to eat fast food (Taco Bell, McDonalds, Burger King) . I will only eat at local businesses such as: Smashburger, Lark Burger, Chipotle, or Noodles and Co. and I only go to those places no more than 10 times a year. I would say that in the past year I’ve eaten fast food fewer than 10 times. Why? For several reasons: taste, smell, cost, and vanity. I don’t really like the taste of fast food, I prefer to cook my own food and I find it very relaxing to cook and actually am very good at it. Also, why would I pay for subpar food-even if it’s considered an easy fix to what some people consider a chore?
Smell, I really think that unless it is french fries or an apple pie usually the food has a strange smell. I can’t put my finger on it. But, there is a smell and then people off-gas (I’m not talking farts…but, that happens too) after eating it. Eewww. Unless they drink a lot of water. Gross.
Cost-eventually purchasing the food all the time adds up and I want to save money.
Vanity-Hey, I’m being honest. I am trying to live a healthy life and consider my body my temple. Why would I fuel myself with sub-standard iffy food? By now I’ve probably pissed some people off and made some people think that I’m a snobby weirdo. They probably are right. But, I wanted to illustrate a point. I have a preference (and a prejudice) against fast food. I would rather cook every day and save that money for one really good kick a@@ meal out a month where I have an out of body eating experience. During the summer I go to special community dinners where there are 5 courses of food and each course is paired with a unique alcoholic beverage. And, because I’m not spending $40+ dollars a week on eating food outside of my home, I am able to budget one amazing food experience a month. And, I can go out to dinner with friends or my mom and the cost isn’t a big deal. At this point I go out to eat once or twice a month. Think about it this way:
Breakfast: $1.62 tall Starbucks Coffee+$3.25 Scone
Lunch $1.50 Drink+$7.50 Lunch
Equals=$13.87×3 times a week=$41.61×4=$166.44
Instead I go to one five course meal for $55 sit at a community table talk for hours and really have an experience. Umm, plus the Starbucks.
Obviously, when I travel I do what I have to do. And I’m not implying that eating fast food is the Devil’s food…well, maybe I am. But, what I am pointing out is that even though I have a prejudice and preference I’ve set things up in such a way that it doesn’t (at this point in my life) have a negative financial effect on my overall financial health.
I take the bus. I don’t own a car and I really like the fact that I don’t have to pay for the bus because my work provides me with an ECO Pass. So, I have access to free transportation. I am thinking about buying a car towards the end of the year. The bus is an interesting cross section of humanity and I have met some interesting people during my years riding the bus. I’ve saved tons of money and lost tons of time! But, it’s still working for me at this point in time. However, for a lot people there is no way that they are going to step foot on a bus. The thought of it fills them with: dread, concern about time (legit), or for some embarrassment. That’s all right. As long as you’re comfortable getting yourself from point A to point B in a way that doesn’t bankrupt you. Then, more power to you.
I don’t shop at Walmart. In fact, I am only aware of one location in Colorado. Of course there are others, I just don’t know where they are. Part of this is because I did a program called Up With People and all of my host families wanted to take me to Walmart. I had around 40 host families in the U.S. We went to a lot of Walmarts. So, I suffer from Walmart fatigue. It just doesn’t get me excited in the same way that Target does. I even buy Target stock (not an endorsement!) I have a clear prejudice against Walmart. But honestly, it would probably save me money to shop there because the prices are great.
I love shopping at Magical Goodwill. This is an amazing turn of events because when I was younger I was embarrassed to shop at thrift stores. My pride was a powerful driver in how I overspent on looking good. In fact, I think my first or second credit card was an Express card. There was even one momentous occasion when my friends and I went to the mall and spent at least $2000-$3000 amongst the four of us. We then proceeded to use a shopping cart to cart our stuff back to the dorm. Yes, that was ridiculous. And I find it really embarrassing to think about. I loved the feeling of buying and wearing new clothes. When I was younger my mom (the hardest working person I’ve ever met) got clothes for me from the thrift store. I was also one of the best dressed kids in school. But, peer pressure, youth, and pride got in my way. Thousands of wasted dollars later I am now back to where I started and pretty happy with this turn of events. Yes, I even buy used shoes and wear them after I disinfect them. I am sure that there are a lot of people who fell the same as I did about thrift stores. I don’t judge and totally understand. It can feel weird to wear someone else’s clothes. If you are able to clothe yourself in a way that makes you feel good without going broke then, feel good about what you’re doing for yourself and keep doing it.
I live in a garden level condo. It is in a great neighborhood and it has worked out be an accidental great purchase. But, most people I know would not want to live in a garden level unit. Pride and preference. I don’t think prejudice would drive that decision for most people. I just think most people would prefer to live in a place with a heck of a lot more natural light. There were other units in my neighborhood that were the same square footage but were double the price. I would have been approved for a loan to purchase one of those units I had the right income and it was 2007…but, I didn’t want to worry about the cost of my mortgage. I already had student loans to worry about. Also, I really wanted to live in the neighborhood that I live in. I won’t say where, let’s just say it’s a neighborhood in Dtown that people love to live in. I know my neighbors, they worry about me, my condo has appreciated and it’s given my life stability. But it is definitely not for everyone. I live in a three unit building, since I live below and in the middle of the other two units it can be a little noisy. I can hear the dogs from time to time, or if my neighbors have a fight, party, etc. But, for the most part it has been a cozy, comfortable, quiet place to live. I am now thinking about moving in the next two years and I will miss this place immensely. But, I am excited to check out life in another neighborhood.
The whole point of this post is to highlight what actually drives your spending or lifestyle choices and also to create an awareness of the cumulative cost of all of those choices. I think it’s perfectly find to have pride, prejudices, and preferences. But, when your choices drive you to make choices that are detrimental to you financially then it’s time to re-think your process.
What are your spending preferences? What are your spending prejudices? What spending choices have been affected by your pride? Have you changed your spending habits or changed a preference, prejudice or prideful feeling?
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