As you sneak candy from your kid’s Halloween stash or play the one-for-me-and-one-for-you game when the little ghosts and goblins ring your doorbell, consider this. Overeating Halloween candy has similar results to overspending. Both will have you feeling annoyed at yourself and weighed down with unwanted extra baggage.
You regret it. Opening up an enticing candy bar with its shiny packaging and promise of melt-in-your-mouth goodness is a lot like finding a “must have” deal online and pulling out your credit card. The original high that comes with temptation and consumption pales in comparison to the regret you feel when you take the last bite or push the accept button on your online purchase and the message pops up: Your credit card has been charged.
You gain weight and debt. It’s inevitable. Eat a lot of Halloween candy, and you will most likely see a higher number when you step on the scale. Pull out your credit card and overspend, and you will see the results of your indiscretion on your next credit card bill or a lower balance in your savings account.
You feel yucky and out of control. Overeat Halloween candy, and you’re likely to feel sluggish. The sugar that made you feel so good at first will cause your blood sugar to plummet later. You’re also likely to be upset about the fact that you gave in and munched out. In the same respect, caving in to the urge to splurge may have you flying high initially, but you’ll feel worse about piling more debt onto your debt blob.
Avoid Overeating and Overspending
Stopping yourself from overspending requires the same plan of action as not overeating Halloween candy. When you feel the urge to nosh or spend, try these tips:
1. Talk yourself through it
Remind yourself of how painful it will be to step on the scale and watch it rise or see an even higher balance on your credit card statement. Also remember how short-lived the high is from overeating and overspending and how long-lived the weight gain and debt can be.
2. Practice avoidance
Maybe you shouldn’t be the person giving out Halloween candy this year, or maybe you shouldn’t give any away at all. If you feel guilty about being a candy scrooge, comfort yourself in knowing you’ll prevent a few cavities. Just the same, if you find yourself shopping online late at night when you’re tired and your defenses are down, avoid being on the computer at that time. And if you can’t help but buy too much when you go to the store, don’t go, or just bring along a set amount of cash.
3. Find substitutes
The neighbor kids may not like you, but you’ll save your diet if you hand out good-for-you treats like raisins or school supplies like erasers and pens. Likewise, you may find yourself grumbling when you opt to clean out the kitchen cabinets rather than catch a sale, but the results of not charging anything are worth it, and your organized kitchen will remind you of your fortitude.
4. Limit yourself
If you simply can’t go through a Halloween without eating some candy, reserve a small handful for yourself and go ahead and gorge. Giving in to your cravings and eating a few gumballs and fun size candy bars won’t cause that much damage to your diet. Similarly, if the itch to spend is driving you wild, give yourself permission to splurge with a small amount of money in cash, such as $20 or $30.
Make conscious decisions about your candy consumption and spending habits, and you’ll be a lot less likely to scare yourself this Halloween.
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Julie Bawden-Davis is a widely published journalist specializing in personal finance and small business. She has written 10 books and more than 2,500 articles for a wide variety of national and international publications, including Parade.com, where she has a weekly column. In addition to contributing to SuperMoney, her work has appeared in publications such as American Express OPEN Forum, The Hartford and Forbes.