I had an epiphany today that smacked me across the face harder than the time my best friend hit me in line at the movie theater. We were messing around, but he actually hit me kinda hard and I instinctively tried to retaliate, causing my other friends to hold me back and creating a huge scene. He likes to joke about it now, and I like to pretend it’s funny. But really I’m just adding to years and years of pent up rage, waiting for my revenge. Keep one eye open while you sleep Nicholas.

Anyway, back to my epiphany. I was walking to my car on the way to Spanish class and I started thinking about what I was going to do after class. Specifically, I was trying to decide if I was going to treat myself to some frozen yogurt.

Here was my thought process:

Frozen Yogurt… I shouldn’t. I don’t need to spend the money and I definitely don’t need the extra calories… Well, yesterday was my birthday, so I think I’ll treat myself.

this is what rationalization will get you

I rationalized the crap out of this

And just like that I decided I was having frozen yogurt for dessert. And it may not have been the right decision, but it was muy delicioso. (I learned that in Spanish class)

If you’ve followed my blog for a while, you know that I am a firm believer in spending money on things that make you happy. Working hard to make a ton of money doesn’t make much sense if you’re never going to spend it. I also believe, however, in being smart about making decisions in your life. I don’t think this was a very smart decision.

I haven’t worked out much this week, so I really didn’t physically deserve the treat. I’m also trying to spend less money on eating out this month, which is another good reason to avoid the froyo. I shouldn’t have treated myself, but at the end of the day, I rationalized my decision with my birthday.

What a crappy rationalization! I had multiple legitimate reasons not to go.

  • It’s expensive
  • I’ll get fat
  • I’ll waste gas driving there
  • I’ll be the loser who goes to get froyo by himself

All great reasons! But in the end, I decided that because today was the day after the anniversary of my birth, I deserve raspberry/strawberry/watermelon froyo with gummy worms and fruity pebbles.

Rationalizing vs. Reasoning

When I thought about how I came to this decision, I realized that sometime in the past 10 years I changed from REASONING myself out of purchases to RATIONALIZING myself into purchases.

When I was 16, I wanted everything. I also knew that my part time job wasn’t going to pay for everything, so when an idea popped in my head it went something like this:

Frozen Yogurt… I worked my butt off at swim practice today and would love a delicious treat… But froyo will cost me about four bucks, and I gotta save if I want to take that hot babe to the Homecoming dance. I’ll just get a Slurpee for 99 cents or eat a free Popsicle at home.

Boom. I saved money on dessert and spent it on gas money to drive 40 minutes to pick up the hottest girl in St. Louis for Homecoming. Let me tell you… it was worth it.

The difference between 16-year-old Kevin and 26-year-old Kevin is that I wasn’t rationalizing anything at 16. I logically analyzed the options and made a reasonable decision. Looks like I was kind of a smart kid. I could learn a lot from my past self.

Maybe it’s time for us all to start doing a little more reasoning and a little less rationalizing with our financial decisions.