A few years ago I was weighed down with the heavy and uncomfortable burden of debt. As a single mum with a rubbish job and an increasingly tenacious dependency on the old vino, my monthly income was rarely adequate for my perceived needs. My penchant for selecting the more expensive varieties of wine from the supermarket shelves (denial is all the easier to maintain when one only drinks Barolo or Chablis) only aggravated the situation further. Oh yes, and the fact that, when pissed, I would often log onto my laptop and embark on wild spending sprees which resulted in random mini-breaks in foreign countries and a wardrobe filled with ill-fitting clothes that looked horrible on me.
The majority of my available expenditure pre-2011 was reserved for evening activities; alcohol (obviously), fags, taxis, the pool table, pizzas, more alcohol and the aforementioned drunken internet purchases. Rarely did I consider parting with any money for things that did not, in some way, harm me. I estimate that all this splashing of the cash totalled in the region of between £300 and £800 per month (dependent on whether there was a mini-break or not).
Fast forward to today and I’m still revelling in my recent conversion to a properly healthful lifestyle. The fridge is bursting with coconut water, cherries, dates, salad, fish and a variety of lovely vegetables, the Body Attack class at the gym is booked for tomorrow morning, and my legs are satisfyingly aching as a result of my hour-long run in glorious sunshine yesterday. A lack of drunkenness means I no longer indulge in any major retail therapy that I can ill afford, and there’s been a natural shift towards most of my daily outgoings focusing on daytime activities – visiting places with my family, and my gym membership, for example.
This morning, I received the first of a new treat I have recently decided to indulge in – my JoggBox selection of goodies. This is not something I would ever have considered buying into in days gone by, when the sum total of £15 a month would have bought me two reasonable bottles of wine, or a bottle of wine and twenty Marlboro Lights. However, as things have turned out, I now like to think that spending my money on things that will help me rather than harm me is a positive step forwards.
JoggBox is a fun-filled box containing a surprise selection of new running products and accessories. Once you sign up, you receive a box each month filled with the best nutrition running products on the market. Also included are new running accessories. The value of the goods inside the box is always bigger than the price you are paying for it (£15). In my green shoebox this month, I found electrolyte enhanced drink tabs, cooling facial towels, cream to soothe aching feet, energy bars, a variety of energy gels, a hair and nails beauty bar, an organic energy drink, and a handy clip for carting a pair of trainers about whilst on the move.
As I unpacked my box, I thought about how much emphasis I once placed on commodities that damaged me, and of how much better it is to spend money on the good stuff instead. This little box of running treats has boosted my motivation and made me even more determined to push myself to run longer and faster. It’s made me feel excited about improving my fitness – and unwrapping everything inside the box reminded me a bit of Christmas. And it’s not making me feel guilty for treating myself!
My life is better in every way, now that I don’t throw my money away on booze and fags; it’s as simple as that.