To some degree I have always tried to live intentionally and purposefully. I try not do things without understanding that everything I do is a decision and a choice. When I decide to do one thing I am always choosing not to do something else. Our lives are finite and opportunity cost is always inevitable.
At certain times of the year intention and purpose may waver. May be it is a last ditch attempt to stave off decision fatigue. May be it’s the expectations of the masses that make the switch to auto pilot the inevitable outcome. Whatever it is, Christmas is one of those times when even I find it hard not to end up following the crowed, feeling like I don’t have a choice. We spending money “just in case”.
“It’s Christmas, the supermarket might shut for more that 24hrs.”
“We can’t run out of milk, bread, cheese, alcohol.”
I find myself asking myself questions like: –
“How much pate will we need?”
“Do we have enough vodka?”
“Will a small turkey really be big enough?”
Typing those questions out now the answers seem so obvious and completely trivial but at the time they seem overwhelmingly important. I did actually stand in the chiller isle of my supermarket deliberating on what and how much pate to purchase. Should I go for the multi buy option? Should I get the cheaper product or the special Christmas range? I checked best before dates and ingredient lists. I compared this pate to that pate, did it come in plastic or glass. In the end what I went for was too much pate and a bit extra just in case. The amazing thing is that I was surrounded by shoppers doing very similar things. In fact the supermarket was filled with shoppers purchasing too much, while outside sun would not be rising for at least another hour.
In the end it is far easier just to buy too much the because come January we can just discard any food that is no longer in date and put the dregs of alcohol on the shelf with the dusty bottles still left over from the previous year.
We made some decisions prior to December that allowed us, to some degree to side step some of the holiday consumerism traps. We didn’t buy any spirits. We have a selection of left over drinks on our drinks shelf that in some cases we have had for over a year. Some have been gifted to us and some we have bought on holiday. As some people may do at Christmas, we tend to drink more than we usually do, but guess what? We didn’t run out of anything. There are still unopened bottles on the shelf and we wont be pouring half a bottle of advocaat down the sink in six months time.
We did overspend and we did buy too much food but now we can make the decisions about what to do about it.
If we over-spend on food in December is it possible to under-spend in January? We have set ourselves the challenge to only spend £10 per week on our food shop. We have so much food left over from Christmas we only need to top this up with a few fresh items and we should be able to eat like kings for at least a few weeks. We will probably have less variety in our food choice, we need to be more vigilant with use by dates and I need to take stock of what is actually in the freezer.
So far we have managed to stick to our budget. We have thrown very little food away, we have save ourselves time and money and we are still eating a nutritious, tasty food, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Hopefully we can keep this up for at least another couple of weeks or until our Christmas reserves are truly depleted.