Feeling down? Don’t let it tempt you to overspend (or overeat)

by Karen on October 16, 2008

It’s just been one of those weeks. Everything is just … blah. Nothing in particular, really. Maybe it’s because it’s my first full week back after a short vacation. Maybe it’s because I’m feeling deprived of fall in the 85-degree heat. Most likely I’m just more than a little homesick for the beautiful Midwestern fall weather and for my friends and family back home.

At any rate, I’ve been feeling down in the dumps.

Usually when I’m down, the first thing I reach for is something extremely bad for me to eat. Chocolate. French fries. Pizza. Whatever. But I’m watching what I eat now, so that’s not really an option.

Instead, I was craving seared tuna. A downtown restaurant makes a delicious seared tuna that I found myself thinking about as the afternoon wore on. It seemed like the perfect comfort food. I was so tempted to call my husband after work and tell him to forget about the meal we’d planned (roasted chicken breasts) and take me out to dinner.

But we’re already cutting it close with our grocery budget for the month. And honestly, overspending or overeating never really make me feel better when I’m down. Sure, it’s great temporarily, but when the meal is over and the bill arrives, I feel sick — not just because I’ve probably eaten too much and wrecked a week of dieting, but also because it’s extra money we shouldn’t have spent.

It never fails. I feel worse than I did before the meal.

Instead, I called my husband and asked him to start thinking about how we might recreate the seared tuna recipe. On my way home, he gave me a very short grocery list. Basically tuna and rice. We had the rest of the ingredients on hand.

For about $10, we made our own seared tuna at home. It was absolutely delicious and completely satisfied the craving. The chicken breast that we defrosted in the refrigerator last night will be just as good for another meal early next week.

The money we spent will fit easily in our entertainment budget for which we allow about $12.50 a week. No big deal this weekend since we’re going to a work-related picnic Saturday that won’t cost us a dime.

After a healthful, delicious meal I’m feeling better, and I didn’t have to break my diet or my budget.

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