Breaking In Old Habits

Early last summer, as I walked down the hall to my office, I noticed some receipts on the ground with my boss’s writing on the back. He’d come in at night before to drop stuff off for me, so it wasn’t unheard of, but it was still odd. As I walked up to the office, something told me to test the door and see if it was locked. It wasn’t. I walked in and called my boss’s name. No answer. The storage room light was on. It’s never left on. But no one was there. As I walked out and looked at my desk, I noticed something was wrong but couldn’t put my finger on it.

Ding! My computer was gone, one of the windows had been kicked in, and the drawers of my filing cabinet had been gone through. Years of watching Law & Order and CSI taught me not to touch anything. I quickly called my boss from my cell phone to tell him what had happened and then waited outside for him and the police to arrive.

Besides my five-year-old computer and the odd power cord, not that much was taken, and insurance paid to replace it. I’m sure the police are still diligently looking for those responsible, and that it is high on their priority list.

A pair of open handcuffs

It has had lasting impacts for me. It’s been more than six months, yet I still think about it each day as I open the office. I’m just so grateful I didn’t walk in on them!

Some of the things that were on the computer that they took mean nothing to them but everything to me. The most important was the monthly tracking of every dollar I spent going back nearly four years. I was diligent about recording everything. Having done it for so long, intellectually I understand what a valuable tool it can be. It showed me when my “treats” started to become “needs”, when my savings were not at the levels I wanted to be, and more importantly, when my priorities and my spending weren’t in alignment. I know this. I lived this. Yet those idiots stole my desire to keep track. I’ve tried several times to start again, but it doesn’t last a week. I’ve lost my momentum and my will. Somehow the tracking and the break in got linked in my brain.

I say this because the universe has decided that I must have a money tree in my backyard – a number of expensive must do items hit me all at once. Knowing where my money was going would help me so much in cutting back and have it seem relatively painless.

Doing it because I know I should isn’t working for me. I started it because at the time I was looking to buy a condo and wanted to see if I could live on the amount of money I would have left each month after paying the mortgage and associated costs. Fortunately I was trying for a short-sale and the process takes forever, because after three months of tracking, I realized I couldn’t afford it! As I continued to look for less expensive units, I kept up the tracking because it was something concrete I could do to afford my own home.

That’s it! I need a purpose. Paying for a root canal or new tires isn’t going to do it, though. I need to figure out what future positive goal I can attach to the tracking until it becomes habit again! Now if I only knew what…. hmmmmm. Suggestions?


2 thoughts on “Breaking In Old Habits”

  1. Wow…walking in on the aftermath of a break-in would definitely have freaked me out. I can actually understand how you might feel that the two are linked. A bad enough experience can do things like that.

    One suggestion might be to buy an old-fashioned paper ledger book. It’d be a different way of doing the same thing, and if you could at least get back into the habit of doing it that way for a while, you might get so impatient with the “low-tech” alternative that you’d be more open to going back to the old, more efficient way. Just an idea.


    1. Thanks for stopping by, Patrick!

      I will use your paper ledger idea until I can figure out what will motivate me to go back to the computer. Strange that I wouldn’t have thought of this myself – I prefer paper and pen to keying things in in so many areas! Thanks!


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