Wednesday, November 26

The miser vs the chocolate-lover

Last night, I sat around trying desperately to keep busy. In addition to watching TV, I was checking email/blog comments/playing with ads.

Anything to keep my mind off chocolate.

But the craving wouldn't go away. All night. And the annoying thing about my cravings is that it becomes a constant chant in the back of my head, ambient noise throughout the day: "Chocolate. Chocolate? Chocolate! You like chocolate. We should get some chocolate. I bet chocolate would taste good right now. Chocolate chocolate chocolate chocolate chocolatechocolatechocolatechocolate" -- Well, you get the idea.

The thing is, I gave this long lecture to Tim only a couple of weeks ago about our paring down on our grocery bills. One of the biggest items I focused on was our rather costly snacking. I told him: One treat a week. That's it.

Of course, I haven't actually gotten a treat yet this week. But tonight we go down to the in-laws' and will stay until Saturday or Sunday. And when we're down there, we spend more on food.

This is partially my fault: When I'm away from home, I strangely get even pickier about food. I think it's a comfort thing. But often whatever his parents have around won't suffice.

The other part is scarcity: There are no Popeye's Chicken joints in Seattle, nor are there any Dairy Queens. So when we're down there, we make sure to visit each one once. (Tim's into Popeye's; I'm into Mint Cookie Blizzards.)

We're going to bring down some cereal for me, this time. That should help keep us away from the breakfast we usually eat at IHOP.

But it's still inevitable. When Tim and I go down south, we snack. A lot. We get sucked into the Wal-Mart (the nearest one to us is in Lynnwood, about a 20-minute drive north). And suddenly all those cheap snacks add up to $15 or $20.

So it was with all this in mind that I pleaded with my inner chocolate-addict to just wait one friggin' day. We'd be eating plenty of junk food soon enough.

In the end, Tim helped out by giving me a granola bar, whose chocolate chips at least partially assuaged the chocolate jones. Even so, it was a grudging forebearance.

Really, it boiled down to one fact: I wasn't willing to spend $3 (if I was lucky!) on something I'd regret eating later. Not when we were trying to be frugal. Not when I'd made that long speech about buying carefully, and trying to get only things that would last.

As the chocolate chips kicked in and my cravings calmed down, I remarked ruefully to Tim that it was awfully pathetic: Arguing that less sugar made me a better person (less grumpy, less snippy due to fewer blood sugar lows), less tired and lessened my hands' shaking... None of that was enough to keep me away from my candy.

But make it about money? I'll stick to my guns 9 times out of 10.

I guess the important thing is having principles -- not necessarily the content thereof.


Blogger Sara said...

This summer I managed to break my milk chocolate addiction. I now eat a small amount of _good_ chocolate every day, which I'm sure ends up being cheaper in the long run. Perhaps that's an idea for you, so you don't feel deprived but also don't bust your budget?

November 26, 2008 at 3:57 PM

Blogger Cindy said...

FYI: There use to be a Popeye's Chicken in Federal Way. It was there two years ago when I moved from the area. Check the corner of Enchanted Parkway and Hwy 18, in the Costco parking lot if you're down that way.

November 26, 2008 at 6:43 PM

Blogger The J said...

Me, I'm an all-or-nothing type. Got sick and put on a strict diet? No problem. OK, all sorts of side effects, but I don't budge. Somehow everything else in the grocery store gets labelled "poison".

Cut back? So, so hard. I'm trying to make a food budget for the holidays. We don't do presents to each other, we don't decorate much, no problems there. But have *some* holiday food? I'm already craving gingerbread, and nothing but the fact it isn't even December is keeping me from pulling out the recipe. All or nothing, I'm telling you.

(as for chocolate cravings, besides the deprivation thing, I get those when I'm low on magnesium. Pop a mag pill, and a couple of hours later, no cravings.)

November 27, 2008 at 9:55 AM


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