A lot of my posts focus on setting up systems and habits that are frugal, while still leading to a fulfilling life. As readers of this and many other great personal finance blogs, you are all better than most at making financial choices based on your priorities, finding ways to trim the fat, spending less than you earn, and figuring out ways to earn even more. You have systems in place to review your spending, and every time you find a new way to save, you celebrate because you know you are building your frugality muscle. That’s why big expenses are great to focus on first, but little expenses that help form habits are also important to keep tabs on.
I am right there with you. I feel good about the way I handle finances in NYC. I also take advantage of the city by grabbing cheap eats, visiting interesting parts of the city, and going to fun events. But I can do better at “living well in NYC”. Sometimes I make mistakes. There are times when I spend more than I want to in a given weekend. There are times when I make dumb choices with my money, when I easily could have had MORE fun doing something cheap than spending money going out on a given weekend. No, this isn’t a post about ways to keep from slipping up. It’s about moving on.
Like I said, I have my systems and habits in place and they work for me. Life happens. I screw up. I need to do a better job of having amnesia and forgetting about those mistakes because every moment I am down on myself for screwing up, I am not enjoying this amazing NYC experience. Of course, if you haven’t set up these good habits and you find yourself forgiving excess expenses multiple times every week, then this attitude is a problem. You need to buckle down and develop those systems that can help you. But, if you make these mistakes infrequently, and month after month, you are still on track to reach your financial goals, try not to dwell too much on your mistakes.
So, take a moment to forgive yourself for some purchase you made recently. Yes, learn from your mistake and try to avoid that same pitfall in the future, but only for a moment, and then move on. Think about what you are doing right now and try to enjoy it. Think about a future plan, vacation, or goal that is exciting. This advice is framed for financial mistakes, but really can be utilized in all areas of life. Forgive and move on from a screw up in the office or with a relationship. There is a fine line between learning from mistakes and dwelling on them. Do your best to stay on the right side of that line!
For me, I do think that I will be able to relieve some of the recent stress and worry in my life, just by switching my mindset. It may not be easy or immediate, but I think it’s important.
I’ll leave you with the post from Raptitude.com that inspired this post, all about simplifying life – an appealing concept for all you minimalists out there: Life is WAY simpler than you think.
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