As I’m often keen to point out, the average American’s net savings is negative and at it’s lowest point since the great depression. I have to admit, I’m a bit of an investment nut. When I had a great programming job in the states, I was driving a beat up Toyota pick-up truck that I’d bought used, and paid in cash. My roommates who had pretty much equivalent jobs were driving sports edition cars, Jeeps, etc… nothing under $20k$15k. Later, I put myself through school with that money and felt mighty proud of myself for doing so. While I was working at Joy, during my first year in Taiwan, I spent under $5USD per day on food. Last year, when I was at Modawei, I spent about $10USD per day on food, while my co-workers were all spending at least double and upwards to five times that on food, power drinks, and so forth. I seemed to exercise perfect discipline over my finances.

However, the sad truth is that in spite of my desire to be frugal, I’m something of a fraud. I occasionally make absurd purchases. I usually convince myself they’re “investments” of one sort or another, but it doesn’t change the facts. Today was one of those days. I’m not quite sure how it happened, but I bought a lifetime membership at California Fitness. I used to go pretty often, but since there aren’t any gyms in Guishan, I hardly ever go there anymore. Somehow, I convinced myself it was an important investment in my health. I’ve really been wanting to work out more and get back in shape, but buying a membership I can’t use doesn’t do anything. It’s just a gesture, and an expensive one at that.

When I went back into the city to pick up some clothes at the tailor’s I had no plan whatsoever of buying anything else. I’ve seen that Friends episode. I know gym membership salespeople are dangerous. And yet, somehow, here I am $1500USD poorer, with a lifetime membership to a gym that doesn’t have a branch in the city where I live. I guess even “investing” can be impulsive and costly.