Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Cost Conversation

I'm out driving around running errands. It's quickly approaching a meal time, usually lunch but sometimes breakfast if I ran out of the house in a hurry (what mother doesn't feel that way most mornings?)
It's at this time that I have the Cost Conversation with myself.
I've never been a person with a lot of money. I used to have more disposable income than I do right now but when I think about how I could have been saving all of that money it makes me kinda faint. Anyway...
The Dollar Menu, Extra Value Menu, Value Menu, etc....
When I am having the Cost Conversation it usually starts right there.  I mentally calculate how much  money I have in cash or in the bank.  Then I weigh that against how hungry I actually am.  Usually I'm starving so a couple of dollars for a burrito, some chips and a drink sounds like a fantastic deal.
Over the course of the last several years though I've started factoring calories, carbs and fat into the Cost Conversation.
Sure $2.29 is a good deal, financially speaking on an immediate level.
But what is that 410 calories from the burrito and the extra 200 calories from the chips doing to my body? How many carbs am I consuming at one time? How much fat? How many hours of skating or walking or dancing am I going to have to do to work this off?
It becomes a little scenario of the devil vs angel type thing going on at that point.  The devil is telling me I'm hungry, that it's only a couple of bucks, it's only THIS one time, etc. The angel is trying to convince me that it's only a couple of bucks now but how many doctor visits and prescriptions will I have to pay for, how much damage am I doing to my kidneys/pancrease/heart with each bite and so on.
I'm not going to lie---the devil wins out a lot.  Fast, cheap and easy.  That's what everyone likes right?
Well if you stop to think about it, it's about as appealing in food as it is in sexual partners.  You get immediate gratification but you're left with a bunch of crap you don't want to deal with.
Yes I know that there are healthier options out there but let's be honest, the fast food companies jack up of the prices of a lot of those things in order to compensate for the cheapness of the rest of the crap. 
And it takes planning--which I can't do if my stomach is growling and I'm driving a stick shift in stop and go traffic in a construction zone. 
I have to pat myself on the back for basically getting out of the breakfast habit. I'd say I've gone out for a fast food breakfast once in the last four months? Lunch is a little more of a struggle though.
What are some ideas of stuff I can carry that will fill me up, is easy to eat with one hand, and can store well in the car?
I'm counting on you to help  the angel win the Cost Conversation next time!


  1. I like to catch KIND bars on sale and keep them stashed in the car; knowing I have *something* decent to keep me from starving will usually hold me over until I can get some real food.

  2. I almost always have a piece of fruit in my purse. Also knowing what you can order at different places that's healthier takes the guesswork out. Mcdonalds oatmeal with no sugar, large black iced coffee. Taco bell? Steak tacos al fresco. Burger king? Get a veggie burger and apple slices. Ordering a kids meal is cheaper and better for you too. Smaller portions and comes with milk instead of soda.