Going into the new year, Matt and I decided that we would try and spend money only on things we deemed to be a need which seemed pretty cut and dry at the time. I assumed a need to be rent, food, health related expenses and transportation. I can’t speak for Matt, but I did a really good job, or so I thought until I looked at my spending on Mint.com, which is a free budgeting software program. It turns out that I can justify most everything to be a need. Food is a need, of course, but I spent a total of $507 on groceries, restaurants, and coffee shops. Every time I went out for lunch I told myself that my soul needed it. When I spent money on gas to go to Ashland, I told myself that my soul needed it. When I buy coffee on my breaks I tell myself that my soul needs it. It’s true, my soul needs it, but as I look back over my spending, I wonder what it is my soul is actually needing. Matt pointed out that maybe I get coffee on my breaks because I need the social interaction. I love talking to the lovely people that give me coffee and I love walking over to get it. When I go out to eat, it’s actually a form of entertainment and a change of scenery. So this month as I reset my budget, I need to redefine what a need is, and what my soul is actually needing. I have clearly done a great job at not buying stuff, but when when it comes to food, defining what food is a need and what food is a want is a little tricky! If I can be more mindful of what the definition is I can potentially save a lot of money since I spend more on food than anything else.
Going forward, here are some things I am going to try in order to cut back on money I spend on food for February:
- Buy ground coffee, or tea and make it myself at work and then go for a walk. The coffee shop I go to is closing, so this is a good time to change my routine. Being out in nature nourishes me and maybe on my walk I can find other lovely people to interact with:) Can my social needs be met this way? We’ll see…
- Matt and I talked about only eating out once per week and making a routine of it. It’s easy to forget how much I eat out!
- Since we will be eating out less, that means that I need to be better at preparing my meals at home. This is time consuming, but the money we save will help us get closer to our goals.
- Budget for PMS. Seriously. I spend more money on food the week before my period when I am depressed and ravenously hungry than any other time of the month. If I can anticipate that I will be spending more money on food during PMS, I can use the rest of the month when I am more rational to make better choices and save money on food.
- Budget for fun especially towards the end of the month. It’s easy to be good with money for a few weeks, but then I start feeling deprived so I spend more. Every week I want to have some mad money that I can spend however I want and not feel guilty about. Maybe I take cash out every week and when the money is gone it is gone until the next week.
Well, this seems like enough for me to try this month! I am excited to see how it goes!