Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Weight Watchers and Finances

Now THIS is an exercise I could get behind.
A few weeks ago, my wife and I started attending Weight Watchers meetings. I did this because, awesome though it may be, my long-term goals in life do not include washing myself with a rag on a stick.

To those of you who would suggest that I just eat less on my own and save the fees incurred to be a part of Weight Watchers, I would agree heartily, and then point you to how well that scenario has worked out for me in every diet I've been on since high school. This includes my own brief flirtation with the Paleo Diet a few months ago.

Also, to those of you who say that Weight Watchers is for women, I bring up the case of celebrity spokesman Sir Charles Barkley who recently lost a good deal of weight through the program. I take his involvement to mean that I will soon be pulled over for speeding and offer a ridiculous alibi. Oh wait, scratch that last bit; I forgot that he's not a role model.

And that's everything I know about Charles Barkley. Go USA 1992.

Anycrap, since its foundations in the 1960s (as seen this season on Mad Men), Weight Watchers has gone through various iterations, but the basic two ideas that it has always espoused are taking in a little bit less food than you need on a daily basis and going to regular meetings. The first pillar is pretty much standard on every diet, but the second apparently helps a lot of people to succeed (as I'm cheerfully told every meeting).

I thought about these two things, and I realized that both of them are also very helpful ways to help you succeed with money.

If you're reading this blog, you're probably not too worried about where your next meal will come from or how you're going to make rent this month. As such, you probably have an excess of money when you compare what all your monthly costs are to live and how much income you bring in. What you could do (and what a lot of people do do*) is to spend all of the money you bring in every month with no thoughts of saving money. Heck, you could take this a step further by not only spending all that you've made, but also putting extra purchases on credit.

This isn't meant to judge. Your humble narrator has ridden the credit card train to glory ruin more than once in his short life. Nevertheless, just as eating too many chicken-fried chalupas** will make your body unhealthy, spending more than you have on things that you don't need will make your financial life unhealthy. Conversely, saving on calories and saving money will make your body and wallet healthier, respectively.

On the topic of the meetings, the basic idea is to go to a public place with other people who face the same struggles that you do. From this, so the idea goes, you develop a camaraderie, and you start to hope that other people will succeed, and they start to hope that you succeed. When you combine that with the stickers they hand out for meeting your weight goals (I'm a sucker for arbitrary prizes), you find yourself positively re-affirmed when you make good choices with food.

How does this tie into your use of money? Well, in my case, this site is a public platform where I can discuss my thoughts on money, saving, and investing. While I'm not as transparent in my finances as some other bloggers (I'm uncomfortable putting that information online), just the fact that I have this website frequently makes me rethink what I want to spend my money on. For example, I've daydreamed about buying an 80-inch plasma flat screen at Costco, but, given how much money I have and the fact that I'm headed to grad school in the fall, there are so many other ways that I could better spend/save that money.

If I did make a big purchase like that, I'd probably want to share about it here. However, that purchase would be at odds with a lot of what I've written about on this site. As such, having this site keeps me accountable to person that I want to be when it comes to finances, just as Weight Watchers meetings keep me accountable to the slimmer person I hope to become.

What do you think? Has anybody else noticed the similarities between struggling with weight and struggling with money? Let me know in the comments.

*Hahaha...do do.
**I don't think this is a thing, but it sounds, alternately, awful and delicious. Awfully delicious? You be the judge.

Photo by Rennett Stowe.


Kelly said...

I think it's similar to anything you need to be "careful" about. Same things could apply to alcohol, sex, extreme sports. Really anything that you might find tempting to overdo.

Miss T @ Prairie Eco-Thrifter said...

Food is a vice just like spending can be a vice just like drinking and smoking. There are many things in our life that we can treat as crutches and use in extremes which isn't healthy. Everything needs to be used in balance. This is the only healthy approach for us both physically, mentally, and financially.

Kris @ BalancingMoneyandLife said...

Weight Watchers can be pricey, but being overweight can be very expensive too. I found great success on WW - I lost over 100 pounds, and have kept it off for over two years.

Good luck!