This past summer, I decided to start sharing my budget publicly. It was quite the game changer. After years of writing about smart spending, I finally showed my own habits with the hard, cold numbers.
The first few months were hard to share. Was I really going to tell people I spent $700 on food? Oh yes, I did, and like the good, honest blogger I promised to be, I spilled the beans to everyone.
I’ll tell you: laziness.
I could give myself some leeway, saying I have infant twins. However, I know there are lots of moms out there who are taking care of more kids than I have and still making dinner every night. I dropped the ball, was too disorganized with grocery shopping, and got tired of everyone staring at me and making strange comments about my twins every time I went to the store.
Because we had absolutely no preparation or organization when it came to meal planning, we just kept ordering food. Then, we tried a meal service that was somewhat affordable, and that worked for a while. However, the cost of the meal service combined with the groceries we were still buying for breakfast and lunch food came out to be more money than we should have been spending.
Finally, I decided to buckle down and make my blog readers proud. There was no reason for me to spend that much on food, especially when I’m the only person in my house bringing in an income. I went on a spending lockdown for the month of September, and because I was paying attention to it, our food expenses went from $729 to $269 in just one month.
Now, that’s a major, major change, and all it took was me actually paying attention to what I was doing!
If you have an eating out habit like I do, here’s the one thing that will work every single time to beat it: preparation.
Yes, friends, preparation alone can cut your food spending in half. If you know what you’re going to eat every day, there’s no reason to stand in front of the open fridge wondering how you’re going to make a meal out of a block of cheese and a few eggs (not like that’s ever happened to me or anything.)
If you’re prepared, you can also get started on dinner earlier in the day. Chop up an onion before you head off to work, take the frozen chicken out the freezer before 6:00 p.m., and get excited about what you’re going to make for your family.
If you’re disorganized like I was, it’ll never work. You’ll be tired and exasperated and soon the people at the Chinese restaurant will be hugging your husband when he walks in the door (again, not like that’s ever happened to me…)
Do you have an eating out habit?
How are you going to beat it?