My Sneaky Little Spending Vice Part 2: I Eat My Money
I eat my money. The second installment of My Sneaky Little Spending Vice is all about my carefree attitude to spending money on food. There a few things I hesitate to swipe my AmEx card for, but food is the biggest offender. I will not spend more than $20 on a pair of jeans once every two years but I don’t even bat an eye to drop $60 on Chinese takeout. Why is that? How do I look at money for material items so differently than how I view spending money on food?
Food and I have a roller coaster relationship. One day I hate it and only eat leafy greens and tea and the next day I love it and indulge in the cheeseburger with fries and a milkshake. My Yo-Yo dieting style has not only impacted my waist band, but it has also taken a toll on my savings account. Leaving the horrible health effects of Yo-Yo diet for another day, I am going to focus on what my diet has done to my wallet.
Ryan and I are complete opposites when it comes to our spending vices. He would much rather spend his money on the latest electronic gadget and not eat for a week, if that is what it meant. I, on the other hand, would rather gorge myself with food and not replace my shoes even when they have holes in the bottom and a sole flapping as I walk. I attribute this behavior to my emotional connection to food. I love eating out. I love going to a restaurant, ordering a big juicy cheeseburger and socializing with whoever I am with. Eating is a social experience and has been the center of my social life since I was a child.
College is when my spending on food got out of control. ½ price apps at Applebee’s was my Friday night date night with friends before going to the kegger on University. Build up a good base, they said. Make sure you eat plenty of carbs to absorb the alcohol, they said. Look at your bank account and make sure you can afford your lifestyle, said no one! Food was a necessity to life; why would I be worried about how much it cost if I needed it to live?
I was ignorant and irresponsible, and have since paid for my frivolous spending habits in credit card debt. Embarrassingly enough, Ryan and I outdid ourselves in December, 2016 when our total expense for food was a whopping $1,200. This was right after we moved from Minnesota to Colorado, had not started our jobs yet and had no income coming in, yet we were spending without a care in the world. After sitting down and seeing that total on paper, we decided to rein in our budget and really start this debt free journey. Since January 2017, we have stuck with a budget of $600 a month on food. This was cutting our total spending from December in half. It isn’t easy. The urge to check out the new brewery in town or go out for ice cream has stayed strong. We allow ourselves Friday night date night where we go out to happy hour somewhere, but the rest of our meals are now cooked at home. Sundays have come to be my favorite day of the week because Ryan and I do all of our grocery shopping and meal prepping for the week. It is great quality time spent working together and moving closer and closer to our goal of being debt free.
Do you have an idea of how much you or your family spends on food? How do you manage to maintain a social life and go out without breaking the bank?