I am keeping an even keel on my quest to go without dining out for 30 days which started on April 15th. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t consider myself to be a fast-food junkie, or one that was out of control in my dining-out habits. I didn’t think I was going crazy- but the fact was, my behavior was still unsustainable and preventing me from reaching my financial goals.
In February, I spent $104.68 on two trips to Chipotle, a Domino’s pizza order, and two restaurants. In 30 days, that’s only 5 “splurges,” but it was still 5 too many. Considering that I’m in graduate school and I make like, NO MONEY right now- the little “splurges” were causing me more stress than the fun of dining out presented. In a single trip to The Rock Bottom, one of my FAVE places to eat, I split the bill with a friend and it still cost me $28.75! That’s ONE meal. One. (facepalm).
Now, it wouldn’t be so bad if I didn’t also have the epiphany that I’m probably spending too much money on eating in as well! In that same month, I spent $208.67 for food and drink. Granted, I can’t subtract what items within that subtotal were not food (since I do my grocery and supply shopping at Target to save time and use awesome coupons), but the fact of the matter is that my grocery bill seems out of control too!
In total, to EAT in February, I spent $313.35. This doesn’t include medical, rent, school expenses or clothes. It’s just to EAT. I’m kind of embarrassed- I know people that live on a lot less. Regardless of what others spend each month, the fact of the matter is that I am spending too much. I am a single lady- no kids…just a pug, and I’m spending over $300 a month to feed myself? What the heck? That’s $78.33 a week!
So, I know it feels sucky for me now to come to the epiphany that I’m not as far along in reaching financial zen as I’d like to be- you have to face the problem before you can solve it. Sure cutting out restaurants just exposed me to another problem, but I’m hoping that the sting will fade. I’m going to set a new goal of keeping my food expenses down to $50 a week…I just need to brainstorm a way to do that.
-Get back in the habit of going to the store every week.
-Plan my meals. (any resources you can suggest?)
-Make more money and get a new job that doesn’t leave me working odd hours that leave me exhausted and frazzled when trying to set the aforementioned regular grocery-going schedule.
-Try new recipes that are healthy and plan my cooking schedule so that I can incorporate fresh ingredients while having things prepped ahead of time.
So, all in all- sometimes, realizing you missed the mark is part of the journey. In trying to expose my expensive dining habits, I also exposed my expensive food habits in general. I have realized that everything we do is a matter of time vs. money, and I’m going to have to apply that knowledge to my food since I have little time and little money- but honestly, I’d rather have money!
I can think of several things I’d rather have than a high food bill: A shiny piece of jewelry, a new layout for the blog, money in my Roth, money to buy pet insurance for Ralph, and money to buy Dad a nice something for Father’s Day.
I know I can’t be the only one struggling to create healthy meals who also has limited time to cook/space for storage/money to spend…do you have any favorite blogs or podcasts you can recommend? I want something fool-proof, and I want your stories- so leave me a comment!
Here’s to the journey! Spatulas up! -Shannyn