You'd think that writing a thesis would be a budget-friendly activity. Spending hours in front of a computer with a bunch of papers and textbooks, annoying your research advisor by asking lots of questions you really ought to know the answer to already, performing experiments to determine just how much systematic error your apparatus has introduced in your data, fixing your analysis to correct for said error and redoing the graphs you spent hours making the day before, and being a stressed-out self-pitying mess doesn't leave oodles of time for spendy social activities or shopping. Alas, I'm overspending even though I'm not having tons of fun. (Is writing a thesis satisfying? In a weird sort of way, yes, but it isn't fun.)
How, you may ask, do I manage to blow money without going out or doing anything? It's pretty simple. Junk food = comfort. (Yeah, that's a bad pattern, but if I keep it under control 95% of the time, will a couple of weeks with lots of chocolate and few fresh veggies do long term harm?) Convenience foods = less time cooking = more time for pressing activities. I'm not proud of my lack of willpower right now, but if a vending machine poptart or some microwave popcorn keeps me going, that's just the way it has to be for now. As a recent op-ed in the NYTimes suggests, I have only so much willpower and focus, and keeping my grocery budget low isn't high on my list of priorities this month.