Packing food to avoid huger-spending.
DD3 = Dear Third Daughter
DH = Dear Husband
“odd happy buzz”
DD3 fainted during her high school band practice two and a half weeks ago, and in the fall, she suffered a concussion. No band for a while, no sports. I thought that would do it. But her symptoms were a bit worse a week later. The doctor at our clinic recommended a trip to the Children’s Hospital for a proper assessment, and she advised us to go through Emergency since it would otherwise take too long to get an appointment.
There’s no telling how long a wait is going to be in a hospital emergency room, and as I was getting ready to go the next morning, I caught an odd buzz of happy anticipation in my head. Fainting. Concussion. Symptoms worse. Long wait at hospital. What was there to be happy about? I focused in on that vague buzz, and this is what it said: You’ll probably have to wait so long that you’ll have to buy lunch for you and DD3. Maybe even a snack after that.
New wake-up moment
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about “waking up” to my bad habit of spending discretionary money on take-out food. Often, as I noted, it’s connected with an admirable burst of generosity – wanting to treat a friend or family member for one reason or another. In this case too, there was an element of “admirable”. Poor DD3. What a drag for her! She’ll like a little lunch and snack as a treat. Really? Was I only thinking about DD3?
A new wake-up moment. I generally can’t justify spending on take-out food for myself. I’m trying to be frugal after all. So a sneaky little strategy has developed in my subconscious to allow me to satisfy my addiction: I treat others to little meals or snacks (notice it’s always “little” – because that makes it OK), and since I’m there, I order for myself too. I’m trying to be frugal, but I don’t want to stifle all of my noble generous impulses, right? Ha! Busted.
The makings of an uber-frugalite
So I decided that DD3 and I would have a very big breakfast before driving to the hospital. Fruit, eggs, toast, beans, meat . . . That would fill us up. But who was I kidding? We would get hungry within a few hours again, and this was likely going to be a whole-day event. I packed nuts and cheese and fruit and veggies and crackers and energy bars. “I can make chicken wraps,” DD3 suggested. There! Even my daughter was catching on to this frugal approach. I love good ripple effects!
Feeling mighty clever, I furthermore planned not to use the hospital parking lot. Instead I would find free parking in the residential streets nearby. “We’re going to walk a bit, so dress warmly,” I advised DD3. It’s been incredibly cold around here lately, and that day, we were at -24 C (-11 F) with a slight wind chill to boot. Food in hand, parking plan in place, decked out in full winter gear, I decided that I had officially become an uber-frugalite.
Love and money vs. Love and time
The day actually passed quite pleasantly. There were line-ups and waiting rooms, but DD3 and I don’t often have long periods of relaxed time together, and we enjoyed each other’s company. We also enjoyed the food in our bag, eating it all up as the hours ticked by. “Any exercise will make her feel worse,” the doctor told us when we finally got to see her. “Keep her home from school for the rest of the month, and she shouldn’t walk to school when she does go back.” Yikes! Perhaps we should have used the hospital parking lot after all. I confessed my frugal parking and subsequent long walk with DD3. “No harm done,” the doctor said. She provided us with a note for the school and contact information for a follow-up appointment, and we were free to leave.
We walked back to the car extra slowly, and had just enough time to make it to DD3’s school before it closed for the day. Her schedule was revamped – no more band, no more music class, extra help slotted in for math – and her forthcoming time away from classes was accommodated with e-mails to teachers and plans to do limited school work from home. As we closed off the day with our drive home, I wanted to take DD3 to Tim Hortons. But I caught the impulse just in time.
That evening, after eating supper, DH, DD3, and I played a few rounds of Uno – not too taxing a game of cards for someone in her concussed state. There was a relief in knowing how to move forward with her healing, and both DH and I were inclined to spoil her just then. And we did. With time instead of money. That’s not always easy to do, and it’s no wonder that so many of us end up gushing our love on friends and family with purchased treats of one kind or another. But on that day, we managed well. I was awake to my bad habits and my subconscious mind games, so I was able to steer clear of the love = spending trap at a time of powerful baiting.
DD3 is doing very well now, and she’s actually looking forward to going back to school next week.
Have you ever “woken up” to bad habits or your own subconscious mind games? Do you ever fall into the “love = spending” trap? Your comments are welcome.
Thank you to Tonya at Budget and the Beach for giving me the opportunity to write for her site in a guest post this week.