Welcome to another entry in my Frugal Grit series. In case you are new, this series is full of tactics I personally used to optimize my income. No Speculation here. You will only find experiments and lessons learned from the ground level. Hope you enjoy.
Most people I know curate their social media page and profile pictures to be perfect. Most people on tv wear makeup to hide their imperfections. And most financial bloggers I follow, rarely speak of their current fiscal blunders.
As for my personal philosophy in the content creation world, I see a conflict of interest with the traditional photoshopped half-truth life just mentioned. In my opinion (and I am an expert in my opinion), being a good writer is showing everything no filter. And one of the joys of being a blogger is, we all can see growth over time if I am honest.
And that is what today’s post is about. I messed up. I am sharing this post as a warning because life comes at us fast and if we have the right parameters in place, we can be protected.
So let me set the scene, it’s the end of the month, meaning the “play” money I budgeted 30 days ago is just about used up. Suddenly, I receive a message in my inbox. It’s an invitation to a birthday party for my older brother. And, of course, it’s at a restaurant. I adore family events so canceling wasn’t an option. But I felt everything was good because, hey, I have self-control. I’ll just go there and spend the money I had left for the month, (which was $20) and call it a day. No sweat.
So, after the meal, I chipped in a few bucks for my brothers birthday and on come the surprises. The waitress brings me the bill for my portion and low and behold, I got charged for a percentage of the appetizer which we all took a bite out of. I never thought of this. But it gets worse, the draft beer that I assumed would be a few bucks turned out to be $6.
Needless to say, I went over my months budget.
Here’s the lesson
In the form of bullet points,
- Never order anything on the menu unless you know the price.
- I should have just left my debit card at home and only gone with the $20 cash from my envelope system.
- I should have used the appetizer I paid for as a gift for my brother and then gave any leftover cash towards the fund of paying for his meal.
- The root of this problem, I gave in to peer pressure. I could have just gone to the party and had a beer or just one single appetizer. But everyone was eating so I felt obliged to do the same. No one was really pressuring me to fit in, aside from myself. This mistake is another stark reminder that cultural norms can make you poor. We have better options!
“Sometimes You Win–Sometimes You Learn.” – John C. Maxwell