Posted by Dave on August 31, 2010
There are two main goals that I strive for – the first is a healthy body, the second is a healthy bank account. To me, both can be viewed as planning for a good future. From a health standpoint, I watch what I eat, I exercise regularly, get enough sleep, and anything else I can do to maintain an excellent level of fitness, as well as to look good with my shirt off (I’ll admit, I’m a little vain). From a financial standpoint, I watch what I spend, pay my bills, have savings and stick to my long-term plan that I have set out. It’s interesting though, when a situation arises when I go against both of the goals that I hold so important the vast majority of the time, which is what happened this weekend…
The problem arose because I love ribs, and the city I live in happens to have an annual Ribfest that involves copious amounts of food and beer from the main sponsor of the event. As I previously mentioned, I love ribs (a lot) – and I ate a lot of food at this event, including something called “butterfly” potatoes, which I had never tried before but would highly recommend (it is basically a mound of super thin-sliced potato that is freshly deep-fried) and other food items that I would put into the same nutritional family.
At the end of this festival, I found myself incredibly full, and significantly poorer. The ribs were $22 per rack, which I had several, beer was $5 each, which added to my bill, and I ate several other things, which I would not classify as “cheap”. All were fantastically tasty, but definitely not healthy.
For the weekend, I really didn’t do anything to get me closer to either of my goals. Did I feel bad though? Not really – I had a great time. There was good music, wicked good food, and really good beer :). At the end of the day, I guess it all comes down to knowing I’m not perfect.
I’d love to live on $6,000 per year like Jacob at Early Retirement Extreme, I would be able to retire significantly sooner than I am track for now. I would also love to effortlessly sport a 6-pack on the beach, but I also like beer and other “bad” food, which limits my ability to achieve this goal. I can recognize that spending around $150 in a weekend on beer or food is not getting me any closer to retirement, but at the same time this is an event that I look forward to all year – I don’t regularly spend that kind of money, or eat that much food, and I will be able to make up the losses over the next few weeks.
So, I didn’t really beat myself up over 2010 Ribfest, I’ll just save some money elsewhere in my spending and I’ll just walk an extra few kilometers over the next few days to burn off the extra calories (which probably number in the thousands) that I consumed over the weekend.
Do you have any similar situations where you knew something wasn’t really going to help achieve a goal, but did it anyway? From my experience these tend to be the most fun (and usually expensive) times.