Recently I read a very inspirational book "The Compassionate Samurai" by Brian Klemmer. Brian Klemmer owns a business "Brian Klemmer and Associates" (very appropriately titled) that sends keynote speakers to different parts of North America to motivate people to create amazing results within their own lives. I am a complete sucker for this type of thing, (it is very hard to turn down the opportunity to interact with someone who claims to have all of life's answers) so as soon as I heard one of Brian Klemmer's associates was coming to Calgary for a 2.5 hour talk I signed myself and entire chiropractic office up for a fun night of personal growth and motivation!
We scheduled the last hour of our day so we were patient free and headed off to hear Mr. Klemmer's associate provide us with insight on how to improve our lives. When the talk first started it seemed like your standard motivational lecture, over fifty percent of the audience was over forty and female, the associate was a peppy, professional, Caucasian male in his late thirties or early forties (I need a prescription update on my contact lenses but I almost thought he may be a "Touch of Grey" consumer, gotta appear young yet credible) and the venue was similar to a hotel conference centre. The associate began by asking several general questions that he expected verbal replies to in an attempt to generate some excitement and audience participation. As I looked around I noticed most of the forty plus females faces were illuminated with hope and anticipation, I thought some of them were about to either have seizures or stokes, the associate's verbage seemed to touch them as if this were some sort of divine intervention and some of them started to scream and prance around like fifteen year old girls. You know when your up way too early on Sunday morning and there is some priesty looking fellow on TV pounding people on their skulls and healing them of chronic diseases as they pass out on the floor? Kinda like that!
This being said the associate had some great advice on how to set goals and follow through, he suggested that we make goals that are realistic and hold ourselves accountable by involving other people. He also suggested that we create a devastating reprimand (like cleaning a strangers house, SICK!!!) if we don't follow through and that we reward ourselves with something fun (like a 2'6 of premium vodka - or something that is meaningful to oneself) if we hit our target. I thought to myself for a second trying to think of a non pretentious goal and realized that maybe my fiances could use some work!? I was remembering the look on the face of a recent date as I gleefully recounted my last 5 shopping sprees and he casually sipped his whiskey on the rocks but paused to raise one skeptical eyebrow and demand I restate my source(s) of income. (I think he thought I was smuggling illegal substances across the American boarder or something - if I were with that attitude he sure wouldn't be getting any!!!!!!!)
I got home that evening and studied my bank account, I scribbled numbers on a sticky and continued to rework them until I had a manageable budget. My reward would be the mental stability incurred from not living paycheck to paycheck (I couldn't think of a non monetary reward, so I did what I do best and generalized), my reprimand would be in a month handing my debit and credit card over to my parents and living off of cash. If it came down to that I'm sure my father would be overjoyed every second time I see the man he utters something like "Melanie ...I wish........more restraint.......your life.....BLA BLA" (the "....." represents the parts I don't remember)
I started my budget last week, every Friday I will dedicate thirty minutes (including a trip to the bank) to get my allowance in order and ensure the money for my fixed expenses is where it should be. 1 week down and so far so good, but I will make note that the words pride and budget are not synonymous with each other.
First off I keep my "allowance" money in a small plastic bag in my purse (I have to segregate it from everything else to keep me mentally on track) I don't get my daily Starbucks anymore instead I visit Abdul (seriously his name is Abdul like on the Simpsons!!!!!!!) at the local Huskey for a nice filtered coffee. This week I ran into the Huskey and got a large coffee with one cream and two sugar and sleepily went up to pay, plastic money bag in tote. Abdoul greeted me with a chipper "Good morning sweet young lady that will be $2.50." I looked in my plastic bag and started wearily counting my nickles and dimes. (much to the disapproval of the six construction workers behind me) Abdul started to furrow his brow after two minutes as I have always paid debit in the past "Lose your debit card?" he questioned in a concerned tone. "Nope! Just working on being more of a Frugal Fred!" I responded handing him the change.
In addition to the embarrassing five minutes spent counting my pennies during every purchase I sometimes need to trick myself into not spending. I do this by hiding my plastic bag in various places around the condo and in my car (don't get any ideas the $4.57 isn't worth it) hoping that I'm too lazy to find it and spend my money. I used this tactic on Wednesday of this week but it worked too well - I cannot remember for the life of me where the hell I put my baggy!!!! I have been using dimes from my change dish to supplement until Friday when it's allowance day. I even contemplated joining the squeegee kids on the corner of 14th St. and 17th ave so I could have an extra buck or two but quickly thought of that South Park episode - you know the one with the bums that stumble around asking "Can ya schpare schome chaaaaaaaaaaaangggge." and decided that my pride did not need to hit a new rock bottom this week. AAHHH hopefully next week will be less embarrassing, I'll keep ya'll updated! :)