This past weekend I made a decidedly extravagant purchase: a bottle of Anjou wine for about $14. I couldn’t resist, knowing that this was the type of wine Chapter 42 of The Three Musketeers is titled for.
“But Mr. Pilgrim, how does that help you achieve the resolution you just made in your previous post? Aren’t you trying to spend much less on alcohol in 2013?”
Well, astute reader, you are correct that I am trying to spend less on alcohol overall. But please do try to understand that I still enjoy a drink from time to time, and that I only know about this wine and its literary association because of a book (The Club Dumas) given to me on my birthday by my thoughtful girlfriend. In this case, the experience of sharing the wine with her will be worth the price tag, I think. Do not think I have forgotten my resolution; I will
curtail prohibit any further alcoholic beverage expenses for the rest of the month. Besides, it would have been rude to enjoy such a nice free wine tasting without giving our hosts some business in return.
From the wine tasting, we went to a friend’s place to dine and watch Gone with the Wind. I had never seen it before, and I enjoyed it thoroughly (having just finished reading the book). I found this experience preferable to hanging out in a bar, a default activity many others my age are wont to do on a Friday night. Total cost of my Friday night: $14!
This next bit can be hard to believe when you spend your entire life immersed in a consumer society, but having fun is cheap! Eating out can be fun, but so is hosting a dinner or potluck. Many enjoy a trip to the cinema, but invitation-only home screenings are fun too (and you can act like a peanut gallery without consequence). Why pay for cable? You almost definitely live near a free public library. I can’t stress this last point enough. All of the great books mentioned earlier in this post I either borrowed from the library, from a friend, or downloaded for free from a website like Project Gutenberg. And the discussions I have after finishing a book are generally more rewarding than recapping who did what on which TV show.
Your public library even lends out comic books (if that is more your style :)).
Go for a walk. Read a book. Smell the flowers. When you practice holding onto your money, you realize that saving doesn’t make you any less happy, and your long-term goals will be realized much more rapidly. And the occasional splurge (that would not even be considered as such by your previous standards) will provide even more joy than before.