Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Practice What You Preach

I had an interesting moment this morning.  I had gotten the email that the book I had requested at the Manchaca library was ready for me to pick up and came to the realization I also needed to do a mid-paycheck grocery shop. In my attempt to try and get all my errands done in one swoop and minimize the number of trips I decided to order my day as such:
1) Take Gavin to pre-school at 9AM
2) Hang out in library parking lot until it opens at 10 AM
3) Get library hold
4) Go shopping.

OK you say... what's the big deal... is this even blog worthy?  Well, that's where the oddness (is that a word?) comes in. 

I knew I was going to be hanging out for 45 minutes in the parking lot and decided a better use of my time would be reading one of the many books on the subject of my new profession Personal Finance instead of playing one of the silly little time wasters on my iPhone.  Don't get me wrong, there's a time and place for silly little time wasters but today didn't seem the day.  I brought my book I had recently purchased at Half Price Books called Affluenza.  It's based on a PBS TV series that had been done 15 years ago and has been updated as recently as 2005 (I'd be curious to see if there was a 3rd revision).  As the book title suggests, it is about the tendency of America to overbuy in an attempt to fill the hole in their lives, keep up with the Jones, etc.  So far it's been good.  Sitting in the car, another thought popped into my head.  I should write a post about the books I've read lately that have really been a help to understanding how we as a people have gotten into a financial mess on the personal level.  However, as my favorite TV chef would always say when a tangent popped up.... "But that's another show... or rather blog post".

So now you know what I've been reading, the kicker is the place I was going shopping... Costco.  Say hello to the store dedicated to the vogue of volume.  If there isn't a place more dedicated to the American spirit of Affluenza, it's a Warehouse Club.   Don't read me wrong, I LOVE Costco.  I have done my homework and know what is cheaper at which store (HEB or Costco) and which items fit our family's eating habits better.  I don't buy the 10 lbs of bananas at Costco even though on a per pound basis it's cheaper.  We just can't eat 10 lbs of bananas at once, because that's pretty much how you have to eat bananas.  You wait and wait and wait until they are ripe and then BAMMO! you've got a ton of fruit to chow down on before the fruit flies invade.  My kids love fruit but they do have their limits. There are other things that we do consume in such quantities (bread, milk, bacon, cereal, peanut butter) and have sufficient shelf life that it makes sense to buy them at Costco.

But, as usual I realize that I am the exception and not the norm.  Gone are the days of when I saw something at Costco I liked, I would get it regardless of real need or perceived need.  I stood in front of the men's dress socks display for 5 min pondering whether or not to buy them for Colin.  I did end up getting them only because I think the last time he bought dress socks was college, so... Happy Birthday Dear!  I bought you socks.

I just found it rather ironic that today in an effort to save the gas of running back to the house to wait for the library to open up, I brought a book about our over-consumption as a culture and then promptly went to Costco. 

Everyday I have to remind myself of our family's financial goals and why we are doing/not doing certain things.  I guess a day like this is a nice way for me to keep street cred with my coaching clients.  I have to follow through in my own life with the same things I am telling them.  I think the Hair Club for Men president says it best...

"I'm not just the owner... I'm also a client."

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