Mr. Money Mustache had a very good post the other day about habits and how they a form sort of an autopilot for people. To summarize the post, it basically talks about how once a habit is formed (good or bad), the activity begins and ends without a lot of thought or focus put into it. I’ve discovered this to be true for me in a lot of cases. I can drive to work and not remember a thing about the trip or even the route I took to get there. Reading the article that is linked above is best for explaining how it works. What I want to write about is how do I use this information to develop new good habits and break bad habits. Specifically in this post, trying to form a new good habit to save money.
Starting on tomorrow, I’m going to leave all cash and my debit card at home each day Monday through Thursday. I’m going to try this for the next two weeks. Making this decision is driving a lot of behavior changes for Daddy Pig. All this weekend I’ve been trying to plan out what is going to happen all week and put effort into covering everything I need in advance. I find this is mostly impacting my meals more than anything else.
Mommy Pig and I have planned and bought groceries to cook every night this week. In addition, I had to buy breakfast foods and plot out how I’m going to have lunch. Eating a hot meal at work is always my achilles heal. I can take leftovers, but when I smell that warm food in the cafe, I’ll often times park the lunch bag and pay for a fresh hot meal. Not this week.
Without the means to buy that food I’ll be forced to eat what I brought. So a lot more thought went into what I’m bringing. I’ll be cooking breakfast before leaving each morning which means I have to plan to get up a little earlier instead of picking up a burrito or grabbing some eggs and bacon (again at the cafe).
If you notice that all I’ve talked about is food, that’s because that’s about the only thing I spend money on during the course of the week. After all, I am Daddy Pig! Adding all of the normal spending up could result in between $40 – $80 saved. Buying lunch at work everyday costs between $5-$11. Picking up breakfast at work instead of taking something from home might happen once to twice a week for another $5 – $10. The family may also go out to eat during a week night which could cost up to $20 – $50. That money adds up fast.
I’m more than sure there will be some times where I’m “dying” for a snack or something to drink out of a vending machine. I’ll have to post again later this week to report how I did or if I broke down and reached into the drawer for cash. The inconvenience of coming home for money and going back out should dampen any cravings.
I could also experience another little side effect of this experiment too. I might lose a few pounds! Wish me luck.