Category Focus: Food & Dining
The top value in our house is wellness. Wellness encompasses many different components and we firmly believe in eating healthy food, cooking, being active, mindfulness, sustainability, etc.
What I’m really saying here is that we spend a shit load of money in this category.
This is a tough one. It starts to bleed into the area where you might need to make some changes that are uncomfortable. Planning to avoid the drive-thru sucks. Not going out to dinner is a lifestyle change. Drinking less isn’t as fun.
Before you get sad, let’s tie it back to why you are engaging in these efforts in the first place.
- You desire to have more control over your life
- You have big plans and…need money for those plans
- You’re sick and tired of wondering where your money is going
Personally, I believe those reasons are good enough to throw some peanut butter and banana sandwiches in your bag when you would rather grab something out.
Moving on, let’s get down to it. Here are our categories over the last three months:
Pete the Planner says that you should spend 12% of your net income (after taxes) on food. We spend 17%. This aligns with our values and we also spend less in other categories to justify spending more in this area.
In 2016, we weren’t paying attention and spending around $2k per month. It doesn’t look that drastically different on the chart.
Today we eat out less for a couple reasons. Frankly, my dietary restrictions make it difficult and from a budgetary perspective that certainly helps. We drink less because we don’t want to feel like shit the next day. We were also bought groceries haphazardly.
There are a TON of resources to tell you how to spend less in this category. You can google that information. I’d like to challenge you in the following areas:
- Can you take the entertainment out of food? Go for a hike, bike ride, movie, rock climbing, a walk, etc.
- While you’re engaging in these activities, pack a picnic lunch/dinner
- Remember what you really want. Pizza sounds way better than vegetables, but you have a big workout tomorrow and you’ll feel so much better with the right fuel.
- Are you emotionally eating? I love this post from Whole30 that applies to food consumption but also makes us think if we are mindlessly consuming.
- Think ahead. Leaving to run a bunch of errands at 11 am will drive you right into fast food nation. Can you leave earlier and come home for lunch?
- Keep thinking ahead. Plan for the grocery store. Make less trips. Buy what you need.
- Do less. Too busy doing optional things you don’t really want to do and it drives you eat places you don’t want to eat? Revisit your priorities.
You’ll notice these are lifestyle changes, not “go to Walmart not Whole Foods” (if you are in serious debt, that will help too).
This is not easy. We have been working on it for YEARS. Honestly though, these were the BIG changes that made it happen.
Please write questions below and I’ll address directly or in future posts. Or if we know each other and you want to talk — let’s do it. If you feel so inclined, use the “clap” to give me positive feedback.