Many of us are guilty of spending absent-mindedly. A typical day in Los Angeles for me usually involves a few Uber rides, working at a café, followed by a great lunch spot – none of which, I usually track my spending on. On a few occasions, I’ve looked at my online bank account with near certainty that my debit card had been compromised. I’ll even admit that I’ve gone as far as calling my bank to resolve it only to have that ‘aha moment’ during the call that it was, in fact a purchase I had made. Oooops!
Since I’m no ridiculously wealthy Angelino, I thought I would try a different approach when it comes to my spending habits. Today, every purchase I made would be followed by a ‘mindful moment’. I was ready to embrace all of the convoluted emotions that would come with this new found awareness. Though ultimately, the goal is to take away a new found sense of financial power.
After opening my fridge to an underwhelming amount of breakfast options, I decided to take an Uber to my favorite delicatessen. I should also note that I’m considered an alien by many for not owning a car here in Los Angeles. I’ve done the careful calculations, though – if I owned a car here, I would pay roughly $250 more a month between the car payment, insurance, gas, and occasional parking ticket. Most importantly, I’m avoiding terrible road rage and countless headaches. I’d say that’s priceless!
The first Uber ride of the day was $6.32… “not so bad”, I thought. Upon arriving, I ordered my favorite – the kale and squash quinoa bowl with a small coffee. I decided early on in the day that so long as the food portion of my spending served as a contribution to my overall health, I’d be in good shape. $12.76 for a big bowl of grains and greens – oh and the coffee too. If you ask some people, they’ll argue that coffee is not the healthiest of beverage choices. Being that I’m Italian and Greek, it should come as no surprise that I strongly disagree. Most of my family members would even say it’s essential!
After breakfast, I took an Uber to Griffith Park to go on a hike. The total was a whopping $4.50! I realized before starting the hike, not having water would assuredly result in an unfavorable outcome. So, I purchased an Evian for $2.50 at a nearby stand. Fortunately, I at least had the smarts to remember to bring a $3.00 ‘perfect bar’ that I had purchased the day before.
It was an ideal day for a hike with a temperature of 80 degrees and minimal smog in sight. The view of the skyline was shockingly clear! Upon finishing three hours later, I thought it would be best to Uber home and fix myself a protein shake. A $13.78 dollar Uber ride – “the priciest one of the day”, I thought.
While drinking my spirulina protein smoothie, I knew the time had come to sit down and assess the damage. To my surprise, the day’s total came out to $42.86. I thought this was remarkably low considering all of the things I did that required spending. I then had an unforeseen realization “what if my lower than anticipated total was a direct result of my mindfulness?!” I found this reflection intriguing and wanted to further examine this idea. To do so, I knew that I’d have to continue to spend mindfully. This concept is undoubtedly a win-win for me. I either find that my subconscious does in fact play a huge role when spending mindfully or… it doesn’t – but I start to collect information on my spending habits and can then adjust accordingly!