Earlier this month I published a post called If You Fall Off The Coupon Wagon You Can Always Get Back On. In it I confessed to you that I had quit using coupons because I was eating out in an attempt to lose weight (I know it seems contradictory but for me it worked).
I thought I had kept an eye on my budget pretty well but as I am closing out my September stuff and looking at the end of October I was WRONG. (In my defense a portion of the money spent was going out with the cast after shows and that was pretty much the highlight of my month so I would have budgeted that money anyway.) But I do a lot of grabbing food on my way home from places. My favorite is to stop at Subway after I run in the morning. A nice six inch veggie sub tastes WONDERFUL after a few miles on the treadmill.
But one of my goals this year was to put a certain amount in my Roth IRA and so far I’m not even 50% of the way. And I refuse to not have money for retirement because I am EATING IT.
That’s just stupid.
So for the month of November I am instituting the “No Eating Out Budget Challenge.” I have always found that when it comes to making financial decisions I do best when I go big. Cutting up the credit card was better than putting it away somewhere and the same principal applies here.
The rules are pretty simple:
– Eating out will only be when someone else pays or it’s a business expense. I already have one business meal on the calendar and probably will have two or three more by the end of November. I don’t want to cancel those but I will make sure they are in low key, inexpensive restaurants (bloggers really like being in places with Wi-Fi anyway.)
– Grocery shopping must still be done in a conscious manner so I don’t gain weight. I can’t substitute food from the grocery store to curb my eating out cravings. Part of the reason I lost weight while eating out was I was purchasing MUCH smaller portions. If I wanted pizza I went to the place across the street from my house and bought A SLICE. At the grocery store I would have bought the whole pizza and eaten half of it mindlessly watching television. I am going to have to watch my calories like a hawk and be careful in my grocery shopping,
– I need to create new activities with my friends. I am single and live by myself (well kind of- my neighbors are right on top of me). Eating out is a HUGE part of my social life. But I know it doesn’t have to be. My friends are on budgets just as tight as mine and we really haven’t made much of an effort to be creative in how we hang out. I mean everyone has to eat right? It’s just simpler. So this month I will try to be creative in how we hang out and do things.
As I make menus and shop I will try to keep you updated and, of course, do a series of posts. I think I am going to learn a lot in November!
Want to join me?
I know not everyone has the problem with eating out, but is there a section of your budget that seems a little out of control lately? Could you put some limits on it for November and see how it goes?
Here are a few suggestions:
- Clothing/Accessory items – including shoes!
- Entertainment – movies, Redbox, movies-on-demand, downloaded music
- Apps, and other tech accessories
- Nonessential items at the grocery – soda, chips, and convenience foods
- Crafting supplies, or other items that support your hobby
- Gas – eliminating nonessential travel and staying home more
I know November is a big shopping month for many of us (including myself) so we are already spending more money than we would like. But let’s give this a try together- you may discover even more ways to save!
Ready to go? Check out my second post in this series: The “No Eating Out” Budget Challenge: Taking Inventory.