Fuzzy math

About a week ago, I finally accepted that it was just gone.

As the days since the move passed and my trusty Garmin failed to emerge from a packed box, a little voice in the back of my head grew louder and more persistent: “You should just buy another one.”

“Ha!  No, I can’t do that,” I told the voice.  “That’s ridiculous.  I bring in zero income at the moment.  I can’t spend another $200 to replace a $200 gadget that I lost.”

So the little voice began to rationalize.  And there is nothing more dangerous than rationalization when it comes to convincing yourself to make an irresponsible purchase.

Ridiculous Rationalization Technique #1: The Comparison

Hey, why can’t I spend $200 on a new Garmin?  I spend money on stupid crap every day.  Way stupider crap than a Garmin.  $100 on a dinner out?  $50 on wine at Trader Joe’s?  If I can justify those frivolous expenses, why not this much more important one?

This is one of the most laughable logic fails ever, really, but I do it all of the time.  Wasting money on crap =/= an excuse to waste additional money on additional crap.

Rationalization FAIL.

But what if I stopped buying some of that wasteful crap?  Well then, that brings us to…

Ridiculous Rationalization Technique #2: The Add-Up

“Hey, look at you!  You found cat food on sale!  Now go buy yourself that Garmin!”  So says that little voice.  For weeks, every time I found myself being even slightly fiscally responsible, I’d mentally bank the savings.

Does this actually work?  Let’s add it up.

– Was going to get a haircut but decided to wait a while.  Banked: $75.

– Wanted to buy fresh flowers for the apartment but didn’t.  Banked: $10.

– Abstained from buying iced coffees allll week.  (It has been a long week.)  Banked: $10.

– Clipped and painted my own toesies instead of going for a pedi.  Banked: $35.

– Found cat food on sale.  Banked: $5.

– Ate crappy cold leftovers for lunch instead of getting the Chik Fil A that I really wanted.  Banked: $5.

That’s $140 of basically free money, right?  Right??

I presented a detailed breakdown of these tremendous efforts at frugality to the hubs when I explained that I was planning on draining $200 from our joint bank account for a replacement Garmin that was really only costing $60.

He was not impressed.

Because, really?  Those are things I should be doing anyway.  And I know that.  But that little voice in my head just won’t shut up, driving me to more desperate measures.  Such as…

Ridiculous Rationalization Technique #3: The Barter

At this point I knew I was going to be buying a new Garmin and just needed to find a way to make an appropriate excuse for myself.  So I made a deal with the devil.  Or rather, with Santa Claus.

“You’re getting me a Garmin for Christmas this year,” I informed the hubs.  “I’m going to buy it this afternoon.”

Merry Christmas to me:

Let this post serve as a reminder of my little deal come December 25. 🙂

Does it reflect a sad dependence on technology that I feel a whole lot better going into this weekend’s marathon knowing that I’ll have real-time info on my pace?  If so, then oh well.  Because I do feel a whole lot better.

To my old Garmin, wherever you are: I’m sorry our time together was so short.  I still hope that you’ll turn up one of these days.

Today’s EAT: This post is actually coming to you a day late.  I was brutally attacked by a Migraine Monster last night and spent the dinner hour napping fitfully and whining to anyone who would listen (which was no one, unfortunately).  It was a bummer, because I had a neat dinner planned.  Oh well…I’ll make it tonight!

Today’s DRINK: Just lots and lots of Vitamin Water in an attempt to rehydrate myself.  (Migraines make me sick to my stomach as well.  It’s fun little party, really.  Thankfully I don’t get them very often.)

Today’s RUN: I did get out for a glorious run in the morning! Yes – glorious in the morning! If you follow me on Twitter, you may have thought I was taking crazy pills yesterday:

Because normally I hate mornings.

Anyway, I didn’t really intend to run that fast; it just happened!  (See, this is why I needed a Garmin!)  I felt fantastic, but will be keeping the pace much more mellow for the rest of this taper week.

Today’s QUESTION: Do you play little games when yourself when attempting to rationalize a purchase? I definitely do.  But I really don’t buy stuff for myself all that often (I’ve been carrying the same purse for five years!) so I don’t feel too badly about it.

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13 responses to “Fuzzy math

  1. Oh dude, I don’t blame you at all. Marathons being 99% mental after a certain point anyway, not having that one comfort might have put you over the edge.

    And don’t you love getting to that point in your relationship where you can tell your spouse what he just bought you for Christmas? That’s love.

  2. hahah merry christmas to you! i totally rationalize. the biggest one for me is the one you mention: that i don’ t buy stuff for myself, like, ever so it’s okay when i do want it

  3. I’m generally cheap, and I do have hard time just buying things unless I’ve agonized over them, rationalized, and made a mental note not to buy much in the future. I about a 2 week span this summer, I bought a water belt, new shoes, cold gear running tights (why in August? who knows) and compression sleeves. It almost made me physically sick, so I haven’t purchased anything running related since August. Glad you’ve got a new Garmin for your marathon; you’re definitely worth it:-)

  4. I want a Garmin too. I’m trying to rationalize getting one. But it’s hard! I already have a Polar HRM that is just fine. The only thing it doesn’t do is calculate mileage.

  5. oh nooooo.. this IS a necessity! once you’ve run with a garmin, it becomes neccessity, not want! 🙂 i would have bought it after rationalizaton #1.

  6. i think this was a wise purchase. yay Garmin!

    Also, if you run sub 3:30 (or even just PR!), i think the hubs should have to buy you another christmas present 🙂

  7. I LOVED this.

    I’m not a big spender in general, but when it comes to running, apparently no expense is too great. Shoes, races, travel, appropriate foods to fuel myself (=dropping mad dollaz on expensive health foods), blah blah blah.

    I’ve been rationalizing with myself all month over whether to travel to/run Boston, and it sounds hilariously like this post. (“I’m paying a lot less in rent this year! This justifies spending a ****-ton of money on a marathon!”)

    And migraine monster? Oh man. I’m sorry. Glad to hear you recovered for a spritely morning jaunt, however.

  8. I can give you a haircut this weekend!

  9. hehe, I do stuff like that all the time! Usually, the voice inside my head that says “Oh go ahead, you deserve it! DO IT!” wins. I think you made a good decision with the Garmin though – when I got mine I kept thinking of much less productive things I’ve spent $200 or more on. It was so worth it! 🙂

  10. Um, YES. When you’re a full-time student with a quasi-expensive habit and a love of pricey cheese, you do cost-benefit analysis on everything. It’s kind of annoying. I refuse to spend money on small things, go out of my way to get the cheapest gasoline, shop at WAL-MART for God’s sake (causing my Commie grandma to roll in her grave)…and then drop $100 on running shoes without a second glance. Because that makes sense.

    • The other day I drove to Costco (15 minutes away) to buy gas. Then realized I probably burned more gas dollars getting there and back than I saved. (Not to mention the 8-pound tub of hummus that came out of the ordeal.)

  11. Pingback: Pass the allen wrench | eat, drink, run

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