Good morning, my fellow finance fanatics!
Did you have a good February? We’re already 16.7% through 2021 if you can believe it.
Now, let’s address the elephant in the room. I think I can guess what’s on your mind:
“Carter, where have you been?”
Or maybe you didn’t notice the newsletter lapse; if so, ignore the imaginary elephant.
Since my last newsletter, I decided to rethink my content approach for Bits. I want these emails to be informative and educational — but I don’t want to constantly spew something you could read in the news. I’ll still share my opinion on certain market news and economic happenings, but we’re shifting the primary focus: making personal finance more personal.
To me, that means more anecdotes about money matters — as well as other people’s sage advice, financial triumphs, and even poor decisions. I’m still tinkering with the format and frequency (so bear with me), but feel free to give feedback or share topics you want me to explore.
Without further adieu, here’s today’s anecdote:
Social pressure is expensive
Last weekend, I did something that’s somewhat controversial, depending on your social circle.
I abstained from drinking.
I had four opportunities to indulge in alcohol, and I held fast each time. I dodged happy hour cocktails on Friday. I passed on Saturday Bloody Marys. I even denied beers at the brewery that afternoon and margaritas at a Mexican restaurant later that evening.
A lot of social activities revolve around drinking, so turning down beverages is a test of one’s willpower.
There are indirect and direct social pressures in drinking situations. Some people can’t have a good time unless you’re drinking, making it their personal mission to change your mind. Fortunately, no one I was with last weekend fit that description. But there’s still an indirect pressure when everyone else is doing something and you’re not — there’s an innate need to conform.
I don’t mean to sound like a weekend warrior who regularly binge-drinks, nor do I want to come off as reproachful of those who drink. The purpose of my allegory is actually financial: I didn’t spend money on alcohol last weekend, which saved me at least $50.
That’s not a massive dollar figure, but it’s something.
It’s hard to abstain from expensive pleasures and discretionary purchases — but I think the mental barrier is the idea that we have to permanently nix something to save money.
That’s not the case.
Take a weekend or two off from drinking. If you dine out four or five times a week, try cooking inexpensive meals for a week.
The idea is a brief hiatus — not a permanent lifestyle change.
In case you didn’t catch them, here’s the latest content from Bacon Bits:
As a reminder, you can check out previous editions of the Bits newsletter here.