Personal Finance Is Like Dieting
Has it occurred to you that personal finance and dieting are very similar? It did to me as I was walking to the library to write an article the other day.
Following the basic concepts of personal finance management has not been difficult for me. However, staying at a weight where I am most comfortable seems to be quite hard.
This article will explore a few similarities between personal finance and dieting.
Wanting to Stay at a Specific Weight
Anyone who meets me or has seen pictures would not say I am heavy. Nor would they say I am skinny. They would say I am organized, a good friend, honest, and love to travel.
My personal struggle is not attempting to lose 15 or 20 pounds. It’s about 8 or 9 pounds. This is not a large amount of weight loss. Many clients have a similar challenge when it comes to personal finance. Their overspending is not a large gap between their income and their expenses.
There are clients that need to make huge changes in their spending, but many are struggling to get it a little under control. They may fall short $100 – $200 a month. Which leads to my question – is there a parallel between personal finance and dieting?
One successful way I have lost a few pounds in past is to set clear limits. It’s about having rules that cannot be broken. Something like, eliminating all potato or any other chips.
Another example is not to eat past 7:30 pm. It does not matter whether you have eaten dinner or not. No consumption of calories past 7:30 pm. Only allow plain water or unsweetened tea.
This can be applied in personal finance. Here is one example. Make a rule that any purchase exceeding $100 cannot be made until you wait 24 hours. Another example can be only eat out once a week or twice a month.
Keeping Tabs on Totals for the Day
Calories* matter and it’s a set number that we need to consume in order to be at a certain weight. Consuming more on a regular basis and aging causes us to gain weight. Consuming less along with proper exercise will result in losing weight.
I have in the past, estimated my calorie in-take towards late afternoon. It’s to help me decide on how much I have remaining for dinner and a snack. It’s a check to find out if I am on-target for the day. Over eating one day won’t matter as long as there is another day of under eating to balance it out.
Similar to calories, the maximum amount of money we can spend is your take-home pay. Here’s how you might approach this type of limit on your spending. From your take-home pay put aside money for saving, paying your bills, and the remaining amount is for variable and discretionary spending. This remaining amount can be divided by 30 or 31 for the number of days in a month to come up with your daily amount.
One day of overspending may not make matter, but there needs to be balance by under-spending on another day. Continually consuming more calories or money, will not yield results that we want.
Healthy Spending and Dieting
Healthy choices can naturally help you lose weight. Stop drinking calories is one such choice. This means, drinking plain water, seltzer, and unsweetened coffee or tea. Only add your own lemon, lime, ginger, or other natural non-caloric flavors. Avoid or reduce alcoholic drinks.
Foods that are do not have additives and are closer to natural or nature are also recommended. This means you are making positive choices when it comes to eating and drinking.
This is very similar to making financial decisions. Healthy choices such as not purchasing fast food when you are running around to your next appointment or heading home from work. Being prepared by having proper snacks you bring from home can reduce eating out expenses dramatically.
Personal finance and dieting have a lot in common. We explored a few parallels between the two to help you consider changes you may want to implement.
This first was setting limits. This can be applied towards when you can and cannot eat, and when you can and cannot spend. Next, was comparing how keeping an estimate on many calories are you consuming to how much money you are spending. Both need to have balance of overage and underage days. Finally, we explored how healthy snacks can save on eating out expenses.
*I am not medically trained, and therefore, I will get into specific discussions about calories. Only to comment that a calorie is a unit of measurement. This unit measures energy.