Regular readers might remember that I like to play a bit of poker. Nothing serious, just a low stakes game with friends. I usually break more or less even, but I do occasionally win up to (gasp!) $20.
While I consider my $10 buy-in to be part of my regular expenses, any winnings are "free money" and therefore special. The day after a big win, I might skip making lunch at home, and go out and buy myself something yummy instead. I might treat myself to something funky on iTunes. Or I might have an appie or a more expensive beer the next time I'm at the pub. I mentally offset this expense against my winnings.
The problem comes when I'm still doing the same thing a few days later. Sometimes I offset my $20 winnings against three or four different $15 expenditures. And somehow this seems perfectly reasonable and rational at the time. Free money, woo hoo!
Unfortunately, this bad behaviour spills over into my attempts to live sustainably. As I mentioned in my first APLS carnival contribution, I'm already doing some of the easier things, but struggling with the more difficult items. And my weird little brain tends to offset the former against the latter:
"I'd love a steak tonight. Oh, but red meat, methane... then again I do bike to work, so my contribution to climate change is pretty low, really, when you think about it. Medium rare, please".or
"Local apples, or imported bananas? I should really get the apples. But I haven't had a banana in ages and it would be yummy on this cereal. Hmmm, well, at least I'll compost the skin".or
"Can or bottle of Dr Pepper?* Plastic is bad, evil. But I don't want to drink all of it at once, and with the bottle I can put the cap back on and save the fizz. The plastic is recyclable. Oh, sod it, there are like two recycling bins on every floor at work."At least I'm aware of the problem, right? And I'm starting to try a few little mind games on myself. When I'm looking at a restaurant menu I try to imagine the clouds of methane rising, not just from that one cow, but from a whole herd, all of them there only because people like me like to eat steak. In supermarkets I try to visualise the journey of that bunch of bananas (and all of their friends) from plantation to shelf. And when I'm tempted to buy something plastic, I imagine not just my bottle, but all the bottles on the shelf, floating up on one of the pristine beaches I've enjoyed in the last few months.
The latter image has been especially effective - I believe I have bought my last ever bottle of shampoo, as the switch to locally made soap has been very successful. (Now to work on my conditioner addiction). And the cardboard cylinders of frozen concentrated juice are just as good (and much cheaper) than the big plastic bottles.
But I do need more help! Especially with those food cravings... That's why I chose this carnival topic. I'm hoping that some of you more experienced APLS have some better mind games that I can use on myself.
Oh, the power of the carnival host. Mwa ha ha ha!
*I drink pop like once every couple of months, just in case you're shocked and horrified!