Breaking the Bank with Breakfast

Life is crazy busy at times.

This is one of those times.

We’re right in the middle of busy season at work right now. This is the first season that I’m salary so there’s really no limit to how much I work. There was a streak when I worked 17 days straight.

I’m certainly not proud of that. It’s just the nature of the beast which is the event rental industry. I knew what I was getting myself into.

Needless to say, time and sleep comes at a premium this time of the year. There isn’t much time for excess. You learn how to become more efficient and you learn to plan ahead better.

But this is also where things can get tricky.

It’s all about convenience. And that convenience comes at a price.

The one convenience that we’ve neglected a lot lately is breakfast.

The conversation wasn’t “what should we have for breakfast?”

It went a little more like this:

“Are you more hungry or more tired?”

Which translated to:

“Do you want a bigger meal or do you want coffee?”

Which really meant:

“Chick fil A or Starbucks?”

After a while, the food and coffee started to lose it’s taste. There was no more enjoyment. There was no more pleasure.

It started to become an annoyance. What was once a convenience became an inconvenience.

Sure, we could sleep a little longer but our mornings become more and more stressful as time went on.

We needed to make sure we left the house at a certain time every morning. We tried to squeeze as many morning responsibilities in a smaller and smaller time frame that we could get by with with each passing day.

We got a little too efficient and we were able to calculate the absolute latest moment that we could leave the house to get food and get to work with not a minute to spare.

Rush.

Rush.

Rush.

That’s no way to start the day. That’s no way to live.

Not to mention how this new habit of ours affected our bank account.

It’s embarrassing to really see how much we’ve spent on fast food lately.

So I’m not going to. I’ll let my imagination do that for me. I can get a pretty good idea without having to dig too deep.

As of right now, we know that eating out so much for breakfast is bad. Bad for our health. Bad for our stress. Bad for our bank account.

Realizing that there’s a problem is good but it doesn’t mean shit if you don’t change it.

So how do you change it?

It’s actually quite simple.

You analyze the behaviors that make you do the thing that you no longer want to do.

So why did we eat out so much for breakfast?

We’re stressed and short of time because of our jobs. Barring taking drastic action and quitting and finding another job, there’s not much that we can do to change this.

I guess we’re screwed, right?

Not quite. It just means that we have to do some further analysis.

The root cause of our problem was that we got up too late in the morning and felt too rushed in the morning to spend our precious time making breakfast and eating it. But the cause of that problem was that we were too tired which probably meant that we’ve been going to bed too late.

That’s been the hypothesis:

If we go to bed earlier the night before, we’ll want to wake up earlier the next day, which will in turn give us more time to make breakfast, which will make us not eat fast food for breakfast.

Sounds simple, right? Sounds like something worth testing out to see how it goes.

So we did.

And to appeal to the Personal Finance blogger in me, my wife and I also came up with a deal:

For every day that both of us don’t eat out for breakfast, we’ll transfer $10 to our savings account and for every day that one of us doesn’t eat out for breakfast, we’ll transfer $5.

This is a little less than what we’d normally spend on breakfast but screw it, it makes things easier and they’re nice round numbers.

Yeah, it’s just into a savings account for now, but I’m hoping this change in our behavior will result in bigger and better changes for us; mainly starting to invest in Vanguard funds and maybe even setting up an IRA for both of us.

It might not seem like much but it’s a change in the right direction.

And that’s all that matters.

Have you recently tried to change some of your bad money habits? How has that gone for you?

* * *

I sell old books using BookScouter. I sell stuff on Etsy and eBay. I used Shopify to run my old online business. I make some money by taking pictures of my grocery receipts with Ibotta. I’m Marc the Shark , this is the Self Employed Movement, and yes, these are affiliate links.

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