Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Challenge Extended, Challenge Accepted; Money Wise.

P and I have fallen into a bad habit these past few months. We have been eating out WAY too often.  We have indeed gone over budget Every. Single. Month. We have been on the envelope system these past few years, and eating out is one of our cash categories. At the end of our money, not month,rather than suck it up, and cook at home, we have gotten out the debit card, paid for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and went on our merry way without considering the consequences.
Dave Ramsey says it all the time “You work way to hard, and make too much money, to feel this broke.” We have not spent ourselves into financial ruin, but we have noticed that we have become a bit lazy, and rely on eating out much more than we should. We also never go for one big fancy meal out, we tend to nickel and dime ourselves. We go to Subway, Chick Fil A, or Chipotle all the time. It’s the 10-15 dollar range where we really do the damage to our budget. 
I think part of the problem is that P and I never really “go out.” We don’t hit up the clubs, or go to bars, so eating out becomes our entertainment. When we hang out with friends, we usually go out to eat at a local casual restaurant. Our lifestyle is so laid back, that we don’t feel we need or even want to go to fancy or pricey restaurants.
The other problem with eat out so much is the amount of food wasted, and its been a lot lately. We don’t eat out because there is no food in the house, we eat out because we have to cook the food in the house. We cleaned up our diet back in January, and we don’t have many processed foods in the house very often.  Eating cleanly is helpful, but its also time consuming. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like cooking. P has been really great because he makes us breakfast nearly every morning, but it’s the lunch and dinner that are the hardest. We are trying to eat according to Paleo, so we don’t keep breads and pastas in the house, so its hard to find a “quick” meal.
I am frustrated with myself, because I KNOW what to do, I just DON’T do it! We really have no one to blame but ourselves. ARG! I need to get back on the meal planning bandwagon, as well as the shopping list.
This weekend, P and I decided that we are not going to eat out for the rest of this month. We just need to quit, reign our spending on food in, and be disciplined.

How are you doing? How's your food budget this month? Where do you go over budget?


Heather said...

Eating out definitely is a budget killer. I make all of our food from scratch (when I make it), and having absolutely nothing in the house that is quick is definitely a pain. The beginning of the week is often much easier, but by the time Thursday comes around I am calling my hubby at work asking him to pick up dinner on the way home. We don't do a lot of meat in our house, instead we eat a lot of different bean dishes. So I try and take a day during the week to prep as much of my food as possible and freeze it so that it is available. In the winter I am big on soups and stews, so we end up eating the same thing day in and day out. Not the most creative, but definitely the most affordable :-) Good luck cutting back on take out!

M Ripples said...

You should try to double recipes and freeze half. I usually make a giant pot of spaghetti sauce and then freeze 2/3 of it. You could bake a large spaghetti squash and freeze it in Dinner size portions. Then you just have to thaw, heat and serve. Another thing we do is buy a whole bunch of chicken breasts and bake them all at one time. We'll eat the chicken for dinner one night with some vegetables. Then we have extra to make chicken wraps or chicken salad for lunches. I'm also more likely to make recipes that use chicken if the chicken's already cooked and I just have to throw it together. We rarely eat out anymore. I can make things so much healthier at home and for so cheap its hard to justify spending$25 for our whole family to eat out. I've been trying to stick to $100 per week for a grocery budget but I tend to always go over $5 - $10 per week.

M. at Making Sense of Cents said...

We have actually been doing very well with our food budget. We still go out to eat, but not near the amount that we used to.

lesley: the dream tree said...

we're in the same boat. it's depressing to think about at the end of the month, although we have no budget. we're horrible with money. i wish i was more like you.

oh, and check out my post today on YOU!

silvermoonlight23 said...

Perhaps you should try some pre-made meals. These aren't the healthiest, nor the cheapest, but they are cheaper than eating out, so essentially a compromise. Definitely take everyone else's suggestion on making meals in bulk and then thawing them out when you guys come home.

One other thing that helps a bit is taking 30 mins on a weekend day, perhaps between two activities and making a quick meal plan. It doesn't need to be all that fancy, but it will help remind you that Thursday is taco night and you have everything you need right at home for a quick meal instead of running out to Taco Bell or the like.

Brooke said...

you are so me! except for the paleo part. I think i'd die! but on the nickel and diming the food/restaurant budget. we love taco bell. sadly, thighs not so much.

Holly @ Run With Holly said...

I love that you don't mince words, and zero in on exactly the problem. It helped us to rethink our meals at home, and excuse ourselves from making a full "meal" - instead, we sometimes eat lots of seemingly random components thrown together on a plate: hummus & veggie sticks, yogurt with fruit & nuts, and leftover pasta salad (I know that doesn't work for you) = all the nutritional components we need. So what if it's not meat, veggies, carb?

Thomas | Your Daily Finance said...

It seems like you have a very common problem. When you are laid back and don't do anything it is easy to justify just spending 10-15 here and there. But those figures are killer on the budget. Those are the ones that sneak up on you and add of over the month. If it was a big nice bill you would remember it and make a change. We use to do the same but realize we were wasting so much money just like you guys not only on food but the food that we were let going to waste in the frig.

We started having date nights at home where we made sure to cook together and grilled once per week. Not only did that help our pockets it helped our health

Jeano said...

I totally don't have a food budget, which is obviously really smart. However, I'm not into fancy restaurants so when I go out for dinner (which I don't do often because I'm poor), it's usually just to get cheap pizza. Usually I spend way too much on groceries at the beginning of the month before realizing I have to get my act together so eat as cheaply as possible for the rest of the month. It's a great system!