When I did spend, I didn't feel as guilty about it
While I didn't spend recklessly in the Big Easy, I certainly enjoyed myself and had my fair share of gumbo and $8 cocktails. Over the four days, I spent $237 — not including plane tickets, which I bought in October, or lodging, since I stayed with a friend.
Sure, that averages out to $60 a day, which was my entire weekly budget on the cash diet, but it included at least two meals and a couple drinks a day, traveling to and from the airport, and a hostess gift. The damage could have been much worse.
And whenever I swiped my credit card, I didn't feel as guilty about it, for a couple of reasons:
- I had saved a ton of money over the past two months: More than $1,000.
- After two months of saying "no" to brunches, concerts, dinners, and happy hours with my friends and coworkers, I realized that having a good time with friends and building relationships is what makes life worth living. While it's important to be aware of the social pressure to spend money, it's just as important to me to spend on experiences that will make me happy.