The inverse relationship between fatigue and frugality

When you’re over-tired, you overspend. Period.

This has been a very tiring week. That kind of bone-weary, drag your butt to the core heaviness that speaks of hours of missed sleep and too much time spent working, helping, feeding and supporting other people, other agendas.

A punchy drunkenness can sometimes take over, and I have made enough bad decisions when I am intoxicated with fatigue to recognize it. It is a kind of insidious exhaustion that can creep up that impairs my judgment and affects my decision making.

And I am too tired to see it.

I got home after work a few nights ago and sat in my chair. My body was buzzing. Not from caffeine, but from a high pitched alertness that had carried me through the week. When my energy tank is drained of reserves, a kind of buzzing alarm internally sounds. It was a high-pitched whine by that evening. I sat for 5 minutes, but then I couldn’t sit still.

Do you recognize this feeling?

I had to do something. It didn’t matter that I hadn’t sat down in a week, that I was in a cloud of befuddled exhaustion. I needed to move. So I did.

I remembered that my designer friend had a belt I needed to collect. We were having trouble connecting that week so I got the fabulous idea to drive over to her place and simply get the job done.

I have made a few errors in my life just trying to get the job done.

I should have recognized the signs. Instead, up I jump. I pull off the directions and grab my purse and I am in my car headed out of town (about a 40 minute drive) to get my belt. Twenty minutes later as am stuck in traffic jam and inching my way along the highway I had a glimpse of my own behaviour. I actually heard myself say out loud in the car, “what the hell am I doing out here?”

It is now dark, traffic is not moving, and I am headed to get a belt? I don’t even need that belt! I am infused with uncertainty. Am I insane? No, this is the right thing to do to get the job done. Why am I doing this when I could have stayed home and rested? The dialogue went on, increasing in intensity and self-scrutiny. Eventually I made it to her house to get my belt. I see a tunic I like as well (she designs clothes). I like that tunic!

So I whip off my shirt, try it on and decide to take the tunic too. We hug and make happy sounds. I get into my car and begin the long dark drive home. A week later, I decide the belt doesn’t work and I have to return the tunic. It doesn’t fit correctly and is not a great colour for me. Interestingly, I am in a quandary about this.

To admit my mistake in purchasing is to call my own rationality into question. But I must. I was too tired that night to make proper decisions, including how to spend my time.

Sadly, I need the best decision making skills at the very times that I am rendered least capable of making them. Ironic but true. Unfortunately, there are financial repercussions to my purchasing issue. Now I have to spend more time, money and energy on this problem.

Do I take them both back? Just one? How do I make sure this doesn’t happen again?

When my kids were little I was drowning in a pool of inefficiencies. And these were evident in how our financial life unfolded. I still remember passing the grocery store on the way home from work one night and barely making my way through the aisles purchasing food for the supper I would make. I can feel how heavy my bones felt that day. After I finally carted my tired fanny into my house carrying that night’s groceries, I began to put them away in the fridge only to find a duplicate set of groceries. I had already purchased the food needed the day before.

If you’re overtired, you overspend. It can be money, time, resources or strength…

The sheer enormity of our relentless responsibilities and the stream of tasks we take on serves to not just exhaust us, but can lull us to sleep. Somnambulance becomes our daily norm. And waking up is so hard to do. But to wrestle control of one’s money, its flow and direction, requires a fully awake mind.

Eyes wide open, take a deep breath. Let’s get started:

Recharge your finances and yourself: Consider attending my Money Mindfulness workshop this month at Hollyhock. Details here.