Budget + Diet = Perfect Harmony. So Far.

So far, this week’s been fairly successful. I’m keeping track of some of my over-spending (mostly revolving around eating out and other crappy stuff I buy), and it seems, so far, to have curbed my over-spending. Especially on groceries I don’t NEED and eating out. Generally when I hit the grocery store, I buy mostly healthy foods, but tend to get caught up in the excitement of specials, new items, or my mind starts reeling with possibilities. The result? A lot of food I don’t need. And sadly, lots of it went to waste.

Eating out was another story. I was ordering appetizers plus a full meal (and half the time I wouldn’t eat all of the appetizer to make it worth the money, or I’d waste the meal, or I’d over-indulge (A LOT)). And lunch or dinner would be $15-$20 a pop, not including drinks if alcohol was involved. Sheesh! Do I think I have a bottomless money pocket? So far, I’ve made better choices. Again, mind you, we’re barely a week in. But I can’t imagine taking two (or more!) dollars out of my envelope for a glass of soda. Or paying $4 or $5 for queso PLUS a meal. It’s one or the other now.

And for alcohol. Well, I’ve been cutting back on that anyway. Partially because of money. Partially because of health reasons. But mostly because hangovers are no fun! That’s been the easiest transition so far.

So, I guess I’ll check back next week and see if I’ve stuck to it!

I completed Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University several months ago and since then have been keeping a budget. The only problem is I was over-spending in those areas, so even if I HAD a budget, I seemed to lack the will to control myself. Dave always said spending in cash is the only way to go, especially for things like food, splurging, etc. Because when the money’s gone, it’s gone. He recommends using the envelope system (he even has envelope system kits you can buy, which I personally found unnecessary, but some people might like – I simply took my bank’s cash back envelopes (they gave me a few extra when I told them what it was for) and labeled them), which other people have said works. My problem was I didn’t feel organized enough to keep all of those envelopes and still felt like I’d spend everything I had by the 15th of the month. Or worse, lose an envelope!

When I read this article on how buying food with cash seems to curb spending on junk food, I decided now is the time to at least try it. And in an attempt to give myself more control (i.e. not spend the whole month in two weeks) and carry less cash, I’m doling out my spending a week at a time.

So far? It’s working! I went grocery shopping and wished I’d brought a calculator! I pulled my grocery money out of my envelope and very, very skeptically handed it over to the cashier, wondering if I ABSOLUTELY needed every single thing I bought. Very strange flip of perspective. I don’t know if it was the actual cash or if it was because I had “so little” (really it’s more than enough, but I’m not used to limits) to spend?

I hope the newness

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