Downsizing

In the past month or so, I've made a few small lifestyle changes with a goal of either streamlining the mundane or improve my overall well-being. Sort of like a collection of new year's resolutions, but nowhere near January first, and therefore infinitely more likely to succeed.

My daily routine recently changed to the end that I could no longer drive home to make a sandwich (for under a buck apiece) for lunch. I could mobilize the sandwich creation operation center, but I believe it's better for all persons involved if I quarantine the resulting mess to my own kitchen. So I'm eating out for lunch every weekday.

It would be very easy for me to end up at a crappy burger joint every day and load up on fries and soda. Instead, I am limiting myself to various sandwich shops and ordering ice water as my refreshing beverage. Take that, high fructose corn syrup. Sandwiches don't drag me down like a heavy burger does, and I feel better throughout the rest of the day.

This change cast a light on the contents of my pockets.

Ever since I started receiving an allowance, I have been carrying cash in my wallet. And with cash comes change. Before, it was just pennies that I found upsetting. But when I stopped to think about how I interact with change, I realised how I really felt.

Before I was spending money every day, I would try to keep somewhere between $5 - $40 on me at all times. Sometimes I would go weeks before breaking a twenty dollar bill, and inevitably there would be a fistfull of nickels dimes and quarters left to jangle in my pocket until the next time I made a cash transaction. Unless the change I had wasn't enough to fill in the cents due at that time. Then I'd have even more metal jangling in my pocket.

The only place I could consistently unload all of my change was at the Wal-Mart Neighborhood Market self-checkout kiosk. After scanning all of my crap, I could feed the machine every last coin, then swipe my card and debit the balance of the purchase. Without confusing a cashier who doesn't understand my intention and slowing down the checkout line.

Fumbling with change was slowing me down and causing me unnecessary mental clock cycles. So cash is out. I'm only using debit and credit from now on.

Okay, so if I'm going cashless, why do I have this enormous wad of cowhide in my back pocket? I wonder what's in there...

Yeah, most of that's useless crap. And I really shouldn't be carrying around my social security card, either.

So I dumped all of that crap and downsized into a moneyclip. It's amazing how much lighter my pants are now.

I've also decided to go out for walks more. I found myself becoming more and more sedentary, and the best way I could think of to become more active without getting a gym membership we all know I wouldn't take advantage of is to go for a walk in the park. Turns out fresh air, in moderation, is a good thing after all. I wonder what else old people know and try to tell younger folks that falls on deaf ears will turn out to be true.

Finally, Wal-Mart.

I've been complaining about how evil they are for years, but continued to go there for items I need simply because there wasn't a better alternative within a reasonable distance from my home. Now that my daily drive encompasses pretty much the entire metro area, I can stop by any other grocer and avoid the unpleasantness that is the dump.

Seriously, the clientele at competing grocery chains are far less trashy. And that alone is worth paying a few cents more.

No, none of these changes are earth-shattering, but it's amazing how much better I feel with all of them in place. And all I had to do was take a closer look at the little things that nobody ever thinks about.

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