July 10, 2010

Yes, dear...

Hello. My name is Jen, and I am a sunaholic.

What kind of –aholic are you? Do you routinely forget to floss? Do you go out to grab a sweet treat from Starbucks or Sonic a couple of times a week? We all have more than one of these sorts of vices, and they are hard to tame. Personally, I have a problem with habitually getting burned at the beach. I also have a problem with spending entirely too much money at Walgreen’s or CVS. I also have a problem with watching too much TV. This is just the beginning, like it surely is with most people. But what do these habits add up to long-term?

A friend of mine smokes. She also eats mints like they’re going out of style. She also gets too sleepy at night, sometimes, and doesn’t brush her teeth. That friend now owes $6,000 to her dentist, and is missing four back teeth. Her teeth literally starting falling out. We were at a party one night, and she came running up to me. “Jen, my tooth just crumbled in my mouth!”

“What?! Does it hurt? Are you ok?”

“No, it didn’t hurt. It just sort of fell apart. What do I do?!”

After countless trips to the dentist, 3 tooth extractions, 2 root canals, and 13 fillings, she now owes more to the dentist than she makes in 2 months salary. And this is not a made up horror story. It really did happen. This is the result of a bad habit: not taking care of your teeth.

Habits can truly make or break you. Good habits will stick with you for life, but so will bad ones. This is what I did one day: I stepped back and took a look at my life. I analyzed my day. What were things I did every day? I watch a lot of TV. And even if I’m not watching it, it’s on. I like having that noise in the background to keep me company when I’m doing housework or fiddling on the computer. Do you know how much energy a flat screen TV uses?

If you have your 50” plasma TV on for approximately 5.2 hours per day, it would cost around $60 a year in energy, according to CNet Reviews. That doesn’t sound like a lot. But, like most people, I will admit to having to TV on much more than five hours a day. I watch maybe 1-2 hours of TV, but it stays on throughout dinner, cleaning, workouts, and whatever else. It stays on for most of the time that I am home. It's on right now.

Look, this is not a lecture from your mother. This is a reality check. Be sensible. Be adult. Be strong and proactive. Most of you (I hope) are on your own at this point in your life. It is time to take responsibility for yourself as a human being. You may not be able to control the fact that you are 57% Irish, but you sure as hell can control how much sun your skin sees. You may not be able to manage your sugar intake, but you sure can manage your nightly teeth-cleaning habits.

I do not have an actual product to promote to you in order to save money. This post is all about self-awareness. You’ll be amazed to discover how effective you can be at saving money in the long run when you pay closer attention to your daily habits. You can be rich, or poor, and still make a noticeable difference in your daily intake in whatever your vice may be. Take notes on your every move on a daily basis. Break out your journal and document, preferably in numerical order, your actions of the day. Then, go back, after a week of documentation, and observe your daily money-spending habits, or the habits that will one day cost you too much money.

Now, break one.

Attributions: BeachGirl, TV, Checklist

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