My job is a little strange. I'm one part consultant and one part application developer. You wouldn't know it from looking at this website (in particular the archive section), but I can hack my way through just about any language.
I've recently been put on a project where our particular deliverable is to build some complex analytics into an easy to use dashboard.
Since, I was familiar with the data and our chosen platform, I gave the team three weeks to deliver our product. That's aggressive, but I'm an aggressive lady, and our team had been moving like a herd of turtles, so I thought an aggressive deadline might help us out.
It turns out I was right... Until I was wrong
2 weeks and 3 days into development, and after I had logged out for the day I received a text message- with the above picture.
I logged back on, and confirmed that I was getting the same error as the teammate who was going to push some new features.
Oh, by the way, what version can I back this up from? One from three days ago. Apparently it's a known issue that when a version is saved to a "Network Drive" rather than a production server that it frequently becomes corrupt. You know, because of the way it is (BTW- this software auto generates "packages" which are mixture of SQL, C++, Java, HTML, and CSS that gets generated through a user interface, so you can't just save your code).
I didn't lose just one version of the project. Every single version of this made in the past week is corrupt. So I am sitting here, 2 weeks, 4 days into a three week deliverable and I am waiting for data to load into my new project that you better believe is going to get saved in version formatting to our production server...because that's not obnoxious at all.
Anyways, after a day like yesterday, I was sorely tempted to "treat myself" in order to assuage my distress. Thankfully, my husband (blessings on his head) talked me off the ledge, and he suggested that I go swing a kettlebell around. Which I did, and came back much better for it.
He then suggested that a write a post on how much money he just saved us. I can imagine that he saved us too much, but here it goes.
1. Cost to consume many adult beverages
After a hard day, it's pretty natural to want to consume many adult beverages. Whether it's hitting the bar or just the bottle, this has been a favored method of taking off the edge for many generations.
Since I was raised by Puritans, I didn't start drinking until college, and even since then, I've kept drinking to a minimum, so I get a pretty good buzz from about 2 drinks, and I'm passed out by 3.
Cost to treat myself: Cranberry Juice $2.50+Vodka $3.21 (Three $1 bottles)+ $2.50 for beer for husband (not healthy to drink alone)+ Gas $1= $9.21 plus a pounding headache in the morning
2. Cost to drink fountain Diet Coke
This seems to be a girl thing, but I know a lot of women who do this. When stressed, we go to a gas station and buy an enormous diet coke. And while we're there, we may pick up a large pack of Rolos and a Chick Flick too (from Redbox).
I have to assume that this is a coping mechanism from dealing with break ups, but having experience so few break ups relative to the number of these Diet Coke binges that I've done, I think it's become a habit instead of a coping mechanism at this point.
Cost to treat myself: Diet Coke $.75 + Rolos $2.48 + Mountain Dew for Husband $.75 + Redbox $1.29+ Gas $1= $5.27 plus no sleep
3. Cost to eat Fast Food
Whenever I have trouble at work, the last thing I want to deal with is being a responsible adult. The issue is compounded by the fact that I also have to be a responsible parent. The easiest method for absolving yourself of parental responsibilities is to take your kids to a fast food restaurant.
From my observation, social etiquette and the need to enforce social mores amongst the toddler set completely goes out the window at the fast food play places.
On top of that, fried chicken and waffle fries are a great way to eat my feelings (and let's be honest that DDP from a fountain is going to get refilled too).
Cost to treat myself: Chik-Fil-A $17.06 (for the fam)+ Gas $2= $19.06 + no sleep + stomach ache for days + no toddler sleep + no toddler bath
4. Cost to purge everything
One thing that I sometimes do when I'm angry is I "clean." Which basically involves me going on a rampage through the house and throwing everything into garbage bags that isn't currently in use.
What do you mean you were going to wear those shoes tomorrow? How should you know that I'll regret donating this tablet? These insurance documents haven't been scanned yet, well then no dying until the next set come.
Needless to say, the time to become a minimalist is not in a fit of rage.
Cost to treat myself: $0= $0 + digging through garbage bags for the next three weeks as I try to find the missing items.
5. Cost to make my meal plan in a drunken rage
Usually when I've had a drink too many (remember, raised by puritans), I become really giggly. Of course, when I'm already angry and start drinking, I spiral out of control. For some reason, meal planning always seems like a good idea at that time.
Needless to say, when I meal plan while drunk, bar food takes a top spot on the list. However, when I'm sober, I feel bad removing all the fried/meaty goodness from the list, since I probably shared the meal plan husband who loves bar food, especially when I make it. As a result, I spend extra money on groceries when I engage in this type of activity.
Cost to treat myself: Two beers previously purchased $1.90 + Extra Groceries $20 + Extra Gas $1 = $22.90 + at least one pen that I break in a fit of rage + the most unhealthy eating you can imagine for a week or the burden of guilt for weeks.
Systems saved the expense
From a financial perspective, treating myself is pretty inexpensive on per event basis (though frequency would obviously drive up costs). Total costs ranged $0 to purge to $22.90 for a ton of extra groceries. Of course, the non-financial costs were pretty high: ranging from the loss of sleep to extra weight to carrying the burden of guilt.
I know my husband wants to take the credit for saving us all this money (and other unfortunate consequences), but I think the real key is that I accidentally have an environment to succeed. Because I work from home, I don't pass a liquor store or a convenience store on the way home. There is no commute where I can drive through fast food drive-thrus, and I have no coworkers encouraging me to commiserate in a bar. It's automatically easy for me not to be stupid.
In fact, my preferred escapes are inconvenient. I keep very limited junk food in the house (and honestly very little prepared foods altogether), we rarely have alcohol in the house (though we happen to have some leftover from a party a while back) and I keep my workout shoes and clothes at the ready.
Everything on my list is actually something I enjoy every once in a while (meal planning rather than meal planning in a drunken rage), but making these things experiences rather than therapy is a critical component of enjoying in moderation.
I'm a wife, a mom, an employee, and a personal finance nerd who is devoted to spreadsheeting my way through life.