I am a textbook introvert. It’s one of the qualities I actually love most about myself. I’m perfectly happy alone. More times than not, being around lots of people I don’t know drains me mentally and physically. I need that quiet time alone to recharge, which is sometimes hard to come by in a society that tends to glorify chaos and a packed social calendar.
I’ve recently realized that sometimes, instead of taking care of my introverted needs and wants, I often strive to “fit” into a very extroverted world. I have visions of weekly brunch with friends and hosting girls’ night at my apartment — but as much as I love my friends, mention of those activities makes me cringe. Lately, I’ve caught myself a few times spending to try and fit into social scenarios, when I would rather remove myself from them entirely. There are definite times, as with all things, where compromise is necessary. I’m interested how often I’m compromising, and what effect that is having on my wallet.
It made me curious how much I spend each month trying to make myself comfortable in these situations. I can think of countless times I’ve bought myself caffeine to “perk up” in social situations, when what I really needed was a few minutes alone to re-energize. Or, times I’ve gotten a second drink when I’m out with friends, when I really just want to go home and read. In an effort to better care for myself and my budget, I tracked all the purchases I made of this nature for this month.
This is how much I spent trying to be less of an introvert.
I go through phases with coffee. Admittedly, I don’t always love the taste, and load it with milk. Coffee does help me wake up and be ~pleasant~ in our open office workplace, as well as on the phone. Especially given the fact that I am not a morning person. I’ve tried other forms of caffeine (including none at all), and nothing does the trick like coffee.
This month, I spent $15.09 on coffees I didn’t need in order to perfect my customer service smile.
I spent $60 on a punch card for eight yoga classes at the beginning of the year. They expired at the end of this month, and I still had six left. I really wanted to be one of those people that went to weekly classes, and I did for a solid two or three months last year. But I learned that I get just as much out of yoga when I do it alone in my living room.
Work Pot Luck
$10 on cookie mix. Did I have to go to the work pot luck? No. Did I choose to go because it’s what you do when there is an office party? Yes. Did I enjoy myself? Kind of. I sat with the people in my office that I see every day, and left as soon as I was done eating.
Solo Lunch Date
I was running errands on a Saturday, and decided to grab food at a sandwich shop. It turned out to be much less enjoyable than I thought, especially because I didn’t have a book with me that day. I ended up wasting $13.18 on food and sitting awkwardly in a restaurant alone, wishing I was at home.
I spent $5 on a weekend pass for a basketball tournament, which really isn’t that expensive as far as tournaments go. I only spent one of the two days at the tournament, though, and only watched two games.
I met friends for a drink on a casual Wednesday. After that one drink, I was planning on going home, but they ordered another drink. So I did, too. I did enjoy catching up with friends, but I could have skipped the second $7 beverage and opted for water, and gotten just as much out of the evening.
What I Spent
In total, I spent $110.27 this month trying to be less of an introvert. While that doesn’t seem like an exorbitant amount on a singular basis, when you take into account where that money could be going instead, it’s definitely wasteful. With a house and wedding on the horizon, I could definitely fit an extra $100 a month somewhere else in my budget.
What I Learned
Because I had this in mind all month, I was definitely conscious of what I was doing for myself, and what I was doing to be more outgoing.
For example, I went to a local winery with a friend on a night when they have $5 glasses of wine. Instead of having a couple glasses and spending $10, I got a tasting flight for $8 and got a free wine glass! The atmosphere was relaxed and we were able to catch up, and not have to yell over each other at a bar.
After a 5K that I did this month for work, I decided to pass on dinner with coworkers. I wasn’t that hungry, and I was tired. Dinner would have cost around $20. Not only was my wallet happy, but so was my body, because I ended up having a healthy dinner at home instead of all you can eat chips, salsa and tacos.
I realize that these expenses are personal choice. By nature, I am a giver, and I like to take care of people. Making others happy makes me happy in turn. But at what cost?
For those that don’t struggle with these things, this concept may be entirely foreign. That’s okay. In being honest and transparent about wanting to make better choices for myself, my hope is that someone else is reading this and having a light bulb moment. The closer I get to 30, the fewer inhibitions I have about doing whatever I damn well please. If only I could have honed in on this a few years ago, my bank account might look entirely different.
For next month, my goal is to not buy any beverages on my way to work. I have an absurdly diverse tea stash, as well as a coffee maker at home and a large collection of travel mugs. It’s absurd that I’m spending any money at all on these beverages instead of just making them at home and using what I already have.
Samantha works full time at a private college in Vermont and is a content writer on the side. When she’s not working, she’s drinking copious amounts of coffee, making lists, reorganizing her apartment, or rescuing animals. She has a rescue Chihuahua named Sammy, that shares both her name and her pizza crusts. Follow her on Twitter here.
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