When I was in college, my dad gave me a check at the beginning of each semester, and it was my job to use it wisely. The check was meant to pay for my tuition, books, housing/rent, food and car. Well, after I got a car my junior year. Anything extra like clothing, concerts, football games, meals out with friends, etc… was paid for out of whatever was left. Which wasn’t much, so I used my savings and/or whatever I made from whatever job I had when I wasn’t in class or studying.
Let’s just say… I learned the art of budgeting pretty much in one semester.
My first semester, I had no clue how much everything cost and I said “yes” to almost every concert, every trip to the mall, every invitation to go to Taco Bell.
Only to find that about 3/4 of the way through the semester, I was sorely low on funds. I still had a minuscule balance on my meal card, but I realized that I couldn’t just use it to stop and get a milkshake after classes any more. Or donuts for every breakfast. If I ran out of my meal card funds, I’d have to replace it from what my dad had given me.
Or choose another way to eat.
So I did what every sane and thinking college student would do. I spent that money on the stuff that mattered:
T-shirts to show my new-found school pride. Music. Throw pillows so my room would be more “homey.” Trips to the rival in-state college where several of my friends were enrolled.
You know, important stuff.
I mean, who needs food, when you can feel full with a jar of peanut butter?!?
(Maturity really is a gift, people.)
I grew up with a choosy mother, so I had quite the affection for the peanut butter she chose off the grocery store shelves. Back then one couldn’t buy it in Costco-sized containers, but at roughly a buck-fifty a jar, I was able to get my protein fix at least once a day. Kind of like carb loading before a marathon or such, I saved my meal card balance for pre-exam salads. And that was back when every salad I ate was dripping with Ranch dressing.
Ah… the good old days…
Because while I still eat salads, I now choose healthy fats like avocados and nuts to go in them rather than smothering them in Ranch dressing.
But I also still have a (Costco-size) jar of that peanut butter that choosy mothers choose in my pantry too. I am a choosy mother, y’all.
I’m all for eating healthy. Trying to fill my diet with 30% non-red meat proteins and the like. Complex carbohydrates like cauliflower or asparugus rather than Twinkies or Chunky Monkey.
Sometimes though, you want comfort food. You want to sit around in your favorite sweats and watch the rain slide off the roof while you hide your “to-do” list in the junk drawer and simply savor a spoonful of peanut butter while watching The Goonies yet again.
A good solid 80 to 85% of the time, I tip the scales toward good and healthy choices in my life.
But… balance. It’s important. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy and all that…
We’ve always tried to teach our kids that the far side of the pendulum can be dangerous no matter which side it’s swinging toward.
Starbucks plain red cups/decorated holiday cups
Too much one-sided perspective and you lose the big picture. The big picture that God’s behind no matter what the view. I don’t want to miss an important piece of what God wants me to learn or know because I’m too myopic in my thinking, and unwilling to hear someone else’s story or experience.
So I say,,, balance.
Into everyone’s kale salad, spinach smoothie, meatless Mondays a little spoonful of peanut butter must fall.
Or maybe even a chocolate chip cookie now and then too…