GLOSS Issue 20 FEB 2015 - Page 38

Financial Detox Mel Browne Most people who know me are aware that I have a fairly serious chocolate addiction. I’m very thankful that it’s not a drug (although some would argue that it is a legal one) because I eat it every day. I’m not talking a whole block at a time but a nibble here and there – particularly in the afternoon – is my own version of happy. I know that the concept of a week without chocolate would give my willpower a serious workout. Of course, from time to time I decide to give my body a break from my daily chocolate hit and eliminate all sugar for a month. Initially my body hates me. By the time I get to day five I am a walking, cranky headache and I’m sure my husband is working longer hours to avoid me. However by the end of the month, if I’m honest, I would have to say that I really don’t miss my daily fix. Of course, what happens is that at the end of the month I reward myself with a piece of chocolate and the spiral takes around another six months before I feel the need to cleanse again. It can be the same with my finances. While I budget for the big purchases, I find it is the whole stack of smaller purchases made over time that hurts my bank account or credit card. So my solution to break the habit of almost unconscious spe nding is the same as it is for chocolate. About twice a year, I simply decide to go for a month without buying anything new. Now this might seem revolutionary but it is enlightening how much we base our social and leisure time around buying stuff we really don’t need. It might be a coffee with girlfriends and a window shop, a Wednesday night bored on the couch with a bottle of wine and the laptop doing a bit of online shopping or grabbing items you really don’t need at the supermarket. It all just adds to the amount of stuff we accumulate and can over time put a sizeable dent in our bank account. As well as adding a delay to any long term financial goals we might have. So my solution to break this habit of spending is the same as my chocolate addiction. I cleanse my spending by choosing for one month not to purchase anything new. Of course, groceries and other essential items aren’t included in the financial cleanse but everything else is off the table. So no new clothes, shoes (the toughest one),