IT Pilgrimage

A Journey From IT to Freedom

Being Frugal and The Path of Least Resistance

Posted by IT Pilgrim on June 10, 2008

I completely get the idea of being frugal. I hate working tons of hours, don’t we all? I understand that every dollar I spend is one more I have to earn, but I just want to know, why does it have to be so hard?

Its so much easier to pop by some fast food restaurant (if you want to call it that) and just get something handed to you. I know that the food is less healthful, and that I waste gas idling in the drive-thru line. I also know that getting myself a healthy, and cheaper meal is so much more work. To get that same hamburger and fires, I have to go to the grocery store, bring food home, unload the car, put it away, get it out again, cook it, and pack it for a lunch or whatever. We’re talking something like 2-3 hours, more if I had to shop on a weekend. I propose that this is the reason that Americans have a problem with our weight.

As Americans, we tend to prefer the path of least resistance, so you tell me, which is it? Perhaps your grocery shopping experience is different than mine, but here’s how mine goes; one hour or more trying to find my way around a gigantic store, constantly bumping into equally tired and confused people, someone’s screaming kids adding to my traffic headache, then standing in a line long enough that I should get paid to stand in it, so I can give my money to an equally stressed and crabby employee? Does this seem like the path of least resistance?

Contrast this trip to pleasantville with cruising up to a building, sitting in my car, listening to my music, and waiting to tell am electronic screen what I want. I then drive some more and pay an employee, whom I only have to see for 30 seconds or so which we both appreciate, I move forward some more, they hand me food in a bag and I drive away. Given this path, who in their right mind would choose the grocery store?

I appreciate that the fast food industry is banking on this, and that they have anything but our best interests in mind. I fully recognize and accept that the food is barely worth calling food and will probably kill us all much faster than anything else. That being said, I also see why we should cook for ourselves at home for many reasons, health, frugality, family bonding, etc. I just know that someone out there has figured this out, surely there must be an easier way to be good. Oh well, back to the drive-thru for me, at least until I get enough sleep to deal with shopping.

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2 Responses to “Being Frugal and The Path of Least Resistance”

  1. Presh said

    I like how you approached the discussion. Yes, we American are rational, though short-sighted in our attempts.

    I think the key problem is motivation. If your eating out of convenience, then fast food caters and beats cooking at home any day. The people I know that cook at home are motivated by long-term health. They don’t see it as an inconvenience–they see it as a necessary step to a good life. In fact, most of them would hate eating at fast food.

    On a similar note, I’m reading a health book about obesity and heart disease. The author suggests a low-fat, vegetarian diet (no meat, no dairy). This would not be the path of least resistance, as it would make eating at McDonald’s virtually impossible.

    But he gets patients to listen. His motivation? He tells them that their house is on fire. Bad foods they eat are dousing gasoline on the fire. What’s less resistance: following a good diet or getting cut open by a heart surgeon?

  2. IT Pilgrim said

    @Presh, good point. I will try to keep it in mind.

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