Are You a Mood Spender?

We have five kids ages eight and under.  One of these days I’m going to record the sounds of The Arrival, when I open the door from the garage to the house.  It’s a mix of elation (“Daddy!)–this never gets old–and world war three.

My Awesome Wife makes awesome dinners, so the norm is for me to basically sit down to a home-cooked meal that’s healthy, and delicious.  Imagine going out to eat, but you don’t have to order, you just have to sit up at the table, and then imagine the food is more delicious than what you get at most any restaurant, and your imaginations will be a pretty accurate representation of my daily reality.

I’m telling you, this is awesome.

But Every Once in a While…

The shrapnel from the third (fourth? fifteenth?) world war of the day has done some serious damage.  I come home and I can tell that a tough battle has been fought, there are casualties, and I’m now a medic.

What I imagine myself wearing.

What I imagine myself wearing.

This happened Tuesday.

Julie lets me know that dinner isn’t ready, and we should maybe go grab some sandwiches at the new sandwich place.  My wife’s wounded here, under fire from my kids, and I take it upon myself to call for ground support.

Ground support is piling into the Honda Odyssey and seeking refuge far from the battlefield. (Side note: Enemy Kids, when told “We’re going out to eat,” are no longer the enemy. They’re quickly in the happiest of spirits–at least until they start discussing the van seating arrangement.)

Just a Bit of Spending Will Make It Go Away…

That’s what I’m thinking.  I’m thinking, “We’ll just eat out, even though there’s only $8 left in the restaurant category (plan would be to pull it from the furniture category), and with seven mouths to feed we’ll run a $30 tab without blinking, but then everything will be better.”

But I’m fooling myself.

The craziness of the day that ran clear into the evening will pass.  It’ll all pass.  The kids will be in bed in two hours (we’re sticklers for a 7:30 bed time), the house will be quiet, a calm will fall over the battlefield, and I might even get to watch an episode of Duck Dynasty, My Julie’s favorite show of all time.

But I’m not thinking of any of that. I’m compulsively trying to remedy the situation with a quick, overpriced, high-carb fix.

About a mile into the drive Julie tells me, “Turn the car around. I’ll make pancakes.”  Well, she lied, because she ended up making scones.  They were delicioso.  The kids calmed down as predicted, and we lived to fight another day.  Thank you Julie, for being awesome.

This Too Shall Pass

There are many instances in my life where I’ve tried to spend myself into a better mood. Have you ever experienced the same thing?  I think it started over at my friend Cody’s house in the fourth grade. We’d be sitting around bored, and decide that we should go to the gas station (it was about a 30-minute walk) and buy an Icee.  (The best flavor is Cherry : Coke at about a 30 : 70 ratio.) Man, did that change the collective mood!

The thing that has you down right now, that has you thinking about making a quick Amazon purchase so you can get your shopping fix… that thing will pass.  See if you can’t figure out an alternative mood-altering activity and save yourself a few bucks, and some buyer’s remorse to boot.

This entry was posted in Frugality, Psychology by jesse. Bookmark the permalink.

About jesse

Jesse is the founder of When he’s not speaking on, writing about, fine-tuning software for, or doing his own budgeting, he enjoys playing the piano, working in the garden, CrossFit, marksmanship, and honing his golf swing. Jesse graduated from Brigham Young University with a Masters of Accountancy degree. Immediately after he obtained his CPA license, he let it lapse so he could work on "You Need A Budget" full-time. Jesse lives in Utah, is married to Julie, and has five children. You can conect with Jesse on Google+ here.

7 thoughts on “Are You a Mood Spender?

  1. Oh, this post could have been written in this house, minus the last minute rescue… This year we added a dairy allergy to the mix. When I have been overwhelmed by enemy forces, the last thing I have the wherewithal to manage is a 100% dairy free meal (for at least one of us) – which is ironic because the dairy free requirement for ONE of the 6 of us has doubled our grocery budget. And apparently quadrupled our restaurant budget… :/

    • Oh man! I hear that. We don’t have any required eating rules, but we have really tried hard to eat “clean” and that is just one more thing that taxes you’re ability to withstand the attack.

  2. We’re sharing a brain today. I have 5 that are 12 and under and we home school (OK, so mostly my wife, but I help with math, science and programming). I’ve come home to many of those days. Personally, I like to cook, so my first answer is that I will put something together. Where I often get bit though, is we literally don’t have anything in the refrigerator.

    OK, so my reply was so long that I posted it to your Facebook page. Not sure if that is appropriate, but I thought the info was more important than burying in a blog comment.

  3. This is perfectly timed. We were just talking today about finding an emergency meal for nights like this. We haven’t come up with anything yet, so suggestions are always appreciated. We came to this after we realized that we had spent $70 in march on emergency dining out. Now we are working on a solution.

  4. Our emergency meal is scrambled eggs or pancakes =) Whenever we haven’t been to the store, those are my go-to meals. Nothing fancy but it’s better than spending too much money out to eat!!! =)

  5. Pingback: How A Door-to-Door Salesman Caused Me to Bite | Debt RoundUp

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