What to do when you’ve eaten the entire box of doughnuts…

This time last year I signed up for a blogathon for the month of May. Every day for a solid month I blogged. This exercise proved the pre-cursor to Counting Zeros since I devoted the blogathon to a single subject … Money.

Recently I’ve been reminded of one of my May 2011 blogs where I mention Eileen Gallo’s money model; I said that my money issues were strongest in the money management and the money acquisition domains … and that the 3rd category of money issues (spending it), was, by comparison, the least problematic form of my financial fuckwittery.

Almost half-a-year into the Counting Zeros experiment I’m starting to think I was wrong about that. I reckon I managed to delude myself about this because my spending issues pale in comparison to the shopaholic tendencies all around me. But that’s like thinking you don’t have a drink problem because the people you sit next to at the bar every night always seem drunker than you.

Of all the assignments that have cropped up this year, the ones that have attempted to curtail spending (such as the 30% reduction in spend over Lent), turned out to be the least successful. Even my glorious spend tracker … while raising my consciousness, hasn’t done much to help me achieve any spend-less goals.

Partially this can be explained by the fact that I am allergic to frugality — a topic I’ll no doubt need to return to in more depth.

I mention all this today because when I was in Ireland last week taking a break from Counting Zeros the blog, I went shopping. What a coincidence!

I’ve come home with a new bag, wallet, ring, painting and collection of pottery. Technically none of this is against the rules (only new clothes are a complete no-no and impulse purchases during my everyday life when I’m not travelling … though given the amount of travelling coming up, the time has arrived for me to work out what the impulse-spend-while-travelling policy should be… since no- holds-barred seems unwise and unsatisfactory).

More blatant than the mini-splurges I indulged over the course of my five days away is that I went off-piste with the spend tracker. I didn’t use it for days and this broke what had been up till then an unbroken discipline. It’s this particular reality that has led me to ponder the doughnut story, a tale I was once told that goes like this:

Dieter A. gets up in the middle of the night, goes to the frig, opens a box of doughnuts and then eats one. Dieter A. is annoyed with themselves for this breakdown in willpower but promises to try harder, has a glass water and goes back to bed. Dieter A. eventually stops being fat.

Dieter B. surrenders to the same impulse and likewise engages in the illicit activity except Dieter B. doesn’t then accept the defeat as temporary and retreat off to bed …. No, Dieter B. gorges the entire box. Dieter B. says to themselves, “I am such a failure! I can’t believe I’ve just eaten a doughnut, I will never stick at this diet, look at me, I’m a beast! OMG, I’m a doughnut-eating monster!” and then proceeds to prove this by eating one doughnut after another. Dieter B. shames themselves into proving they are weak and hopeless thereby making a return to the commitment of “no doughnuts” even harder because now they have damaged their self-belief and made the doughnut policy seem harsh an undoable when we all know that it is not. Sadly Dieter B. eventually quits diets and becomes known to all his friends as the guy with the doughnut problem. Naturally, he stays fat. And remains sad with himself.

So does forgetting about my spend tracker during my stay in Ireland represent the midnight doughnut or it indicative of an entire box of bad behaviour?

Obviously it must represent the single crime, the solitary doughnut. Because  if I look at my transgression through the eyes of Dieter B. I’m onto a major losing streak.

And so for my sins I’ve had to forfeit a portion of the glorious day that has descended upon London to work backwards through last week’s purchases to resuscitate the spend tracker and get back on the wagon.

Back tomorrow for this week’s double card pick up.

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