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29 Mar 2013

Are You a Mood Spender?

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by Jesse Mecham

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.

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.

Your Next Step

Remember, budgeting is not restrictive. You won’t be spending less, you’ll be spending right. You can do this! Today. Right now. What do you have to lose? Except all that debt and stress. (Ok, so kind of a lot.)


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