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I eat oatmeal pretty much every day at breakfast, at least at work.  It started a few years ago when my cholesterol tested above what it should have been.  I made some changes to my diet and have been exercising more, and have been in the normal range for quite some time, but I still stick with the oatmeal breakfast.

It's healthy.  With a few raisins, it's very tasty, and it keeps me from eating worse breakfasts.

It's also fairly cheap, which is always a nice bonus.

But, one thing I've noticed is that cleaning up after eating oatmeal can be a difficult task.  Or it can be an easy one.

How both?  Let me explain.

Inevitably, I eat my breakfast and I put the ceramic bowl that I use for my oatmeal aside.  After an hour or two, I'll get up for something and I notice that my bowl is sitting there, and the little uneaten chunks have now melded themselves to the bowl.

There are two ways of handling this.  The first is to take it to the kitchen, work and work and work, and hopefully get all the chunks off.  It takes a huge amount of effort and the results aren't even 100% as I'll usually find some uncleaned portions later on, and have to go back and re-clean the entire bowl.

The second option, though, is much better and works out a heck of a lot easier.  I simply fill the bowl with water and let it soak.  Ten minutes later, all the chunks have fallen off and now leave, and a simple wash gets me ready for the next day.

Now, you may be wondering, how is this relevant to a personal finance blog?  Well, I think the analogy works pretty well with financial decisions: It's simply sometimes best to let things soak.

I find that ‘letting things soak' is something that I do quite often when making a financial decision.  When we want to purchase something big (over $100), I will often look at it, and then ‘let it soak' for awhile. Whether that's a few hours, a few days, or whatever, I find that waiting often makes things turn out better.  Many times, we'll decide that the purchase isn't necessary, or if we do decide to make the purchase, we'll do our homework to make sure it's the best possible price and that it meets our goals, as well as fitting into our financial goals.

When we don't let things soak, we'll often find that we're plagued with similar problems to not letting my oatmeal bowl soak.  We'll find that we're rushing, that we're working harder, and that we may not have ‘finished' making the decision in the best possible way.

In short, letting things soak has proven to be a valuable strategy.  Both in cleaning out my oatmeal bowl and in making financial decisions, it works more often than it doesn't.

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