In case you missed part 1 in my food and finance adventure, catch up here!
It’s been about a month since Jason and I started getting proactive about our budget and our greatest weakness, eating out. In case you were wondering (maybe not), we’ve actually stuck to the ideas written on our free/cheap chalkboard! I even joked to Jason that we should go out to eat to celebrate how successful we’ve been. He was not amused.
It’s amazing how much eating out and spending excess money had become routine. I remember when I was a kid, and going to Pizza Hut was a real treat. Of course, that only happened once every other week. Side note, any 90’s kids remember the Pizza Hut buffet? Also, getting a free personal pan pizza for reading #allthebooks for BookIt? Nothing says childhood obesity like free pizza for learning. ANYWAY.
One of the first things I learned when I originally went on my weight loss journey a few years back, was choosing quality foods throughout the day instead of just snacking on whatever I felt like, whenever I wanted. I had to break the cycle of impulsiveness. While I have a much greater hold on impulsive food behaviors, somehow spending money on eating out multiple times a week slipped through the cracks. Resisting my favorite pizza place on a Friday night is tough, bro! I think over the years I’ve become a little more relaxed in my eating habits, but I’ve also been focused on many other things. Sometimes you just need to hit the reset button and find a new motivator. Seeing as I’ve spent a good portion of my career telling others to stay home and cook, I should probably do the same.
Similar to our finances, we’re also seeing some short-term results. I’m happy to report that my pants certainly fit better!
I’ve also been working on making my meals count during the day. I’ll talk more on this in a later post, but it’s clutch that meals include a protein, a healthy fat, and a healthy carbohydrate. Otherwise, you’ll be scrounging for a snack an hour later. My go-to meals this month have included cottage cheese and fruit (similar to Friday’s post) for breakfasts, and either a turkey/egg/tuna sandwich, eggs and greens, or a “kitchen sink” salad with lots of veggies and some sort of cheese and protein like tuna for lunches. Dinner is typically planned the Sunday before and we tend to rotate through the same meals like roasted/crock pot chicken, beef/shrimp/turkey tacos, soup & salads, tortilla pizzas, or Asian noodle/rice bowls. You’ll notice that I repeat a lot of the same ingredients. Another cost saver.
Similar to our eating out habits, we’re still working on breaking that same cycle of impulsiveness. Just like I don’t really need a $100 jar of mud mask (yes, it exists) or a new handbag, we’ve focused our efforts on saving money for things that last. Things we NEED. Eating out at our favorite restaurant will only bring short-term happiness, and ultimately won’t help us reach our goals. The challenge sounded a bit extreme at the time, but it’s a habit I’m happy we’ve focused on breaking for the time being.
Jason and I also had to get in the mindset that our efforts would eventually be rewarded. Impulsiveness thrives on lack of goals and accountability. You have to nip it in the butt the moment a craving strikes. My key motivator is knowing I can pay off my student loans quickly and not having a looming mortgage payment. In addition to eating out, we’ve been keeping tabs on other areas with high spending. Things like the convenient one-click purchases on Amazon Prime, coffee shop drinks, and random online purchases. Does anyone else’s significant other have a habit of buying website domains? Just mine?
What have we checked off on our free/cheap board?
We went camping and cooked all of our own food on the campfire.
Walked our dog, Odin
Hung out with family and friends
Ate dinner at home every night
Planned out our meals for the week
My personal favorite, we simply enjoyed each others company and seemed to spend more time with each other.
Because I’m all about honestly, I did make one extra food purchase/splurge this month on a healthy, and oh-so-worth it Pina-Kale-Ada smoothie at the Original Chop Shop during a lady date with a friend. Kale is the new cocktail.
Makin’ progress, people!