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Lead us not into Temptation

No, not another Sunday post, just a post about the perils of Temptation. No, not about Temptation Island either.

As I gaze upon the basket of candy a co-worker brought in (so she didn’t have candy at home to tempt her), I think the root of most problems with life is Temptation and an inability to say NO to the things we know we should say NO.

The candy basket is an excellent example of Temptation to me. It is full of sugary treats (luckily, no potato chips). They are so enjoyable for a brief period but then cause my brain to scramble due to a sugar rush, my mood to crash (after the sugar rush wears off) and the guilt that comes from the aftermath of eating this sugary Temptation. Can I eat the candy? Sure, I can, but SHOULD I eat the candy? The simple answers are:

  1. Yes, but only in moderation
  2. No, if you feel that one candy will simply lead to another

I guess this is just like Temptation Island.

Financial Temptations

Every day most of us are availed of many different financial temptations. They may be much like the candy. They may cause a short-term rush, but at the end of it, it leaves you with guilt and displeasure. Some examples might be:

  • Do I drive this month or do I buy a bus pass. I must admit I succumb to this temptation. Luckily the Ottawa transit system is so expensive I can rationalize this temptation by pointing out I am not saving that much money taking the bus.
  • Should I make my lunch or buy it at the cafeteria (or worse go out to a restaurant). The money you save by making your own lunch can be a significant chunk of change. Also, you are more likely to make a more healthy lunch at home, than you might find at your local fast food establishment.
  • How about a $7.50 Latte to start my day off. This one I easily avoid, because I can’t understand why anyone would pay that much for a “… lousy stinking cup of coffee …” (to quote Denis Leary). Coffee tastes like coffee to me, paying that much doesn’t make it taste that much better than the cheap stuff I get at work. This temptation I can put on a pious tone with.
  • The always present Lottery Ticket sales, should I try to win a million, or put that money on my debt ?
  • Shall we make dinner or simply pick something up at the fast food place? Some nights it is all anyone can do to even decide what is for dinner. The only way to fight this is to make sure you either have a well stocked freezer with stuff you have cooked previously (my mother’s tactic). The other option is to figure out how to motivate yourself to cook (what you have in the house). Any ideas here would be appreciated.
  • Let’s go out for a beer at the bar after some social gathering or sport event. No it is not a sin to go for a beer after your pick up hockey game. I have friends who have “beer pools” for their after game drinking, where someone brings a cooler to a ball diamond and cheap(er) beer is enjoyed that way (is this legal? depends on where you live I guess).

Temptation a Sin ?

All these temptations are not Mortal Sins against your finances. However, if you keep tripping upon them, they can add up to a fair amount of money that you should use to pay your debt down instead?

Temptation and how to deal with it are all a matter of self-control. Do you have that kind of self-control?

Feel Free to Comment

  1. I find the biggest financial temptation for me is to stick with the game plan… To not buy investments that are doing well (timing the market), to stay with dollar cost averaging, to not bail if something is temporarily not doing well or change allocations. As Bogle says to just stick with it, ignore the markets, and “tune out the noise”, I need constant reenforcement.

  2. Tell me about it. When I changed jobs I was horrified to find that my new office is only a few doors away from the pantry which stocks free soft drink and free snack food as well as the leftovers from in-house lunches (lots of pizza and Chinese food). Needless to say I am battling to avoid putting on weight 🙁

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