In the month of July, I was lazy.
Well, to be fair, I was busy. And lazy.
You see, when things got crazy at work or at home with kids activities, I'd forget about creating a menu for the week and sticking to it. If I didn't feel like making something for dinner, I'd tell The Husband to order some pizza or we'd go out for 'cheap Mexican'. Which really isn't that cheap, but at about $40 to feed the 5 of us, it's cheaper than our usual restaurant that can run almost twice that amount.
I pulled my 'I don't feel like cooking' routine so much in July that we spent six hundred dollars on restaurants.
Six hundred freaking dollars. When I was analyzing my spending for the month I thought it had to be a mistake. But it wasn't. It really was that bad. Six hundred dollars!
After I got done puking my guts out in disgust, I told The Husband that we were not resorting to takeout or restaurant food at all in the month of August. The only exception to this would be when we went to the state fair. Of course we'd eat there. And TH and I would be allowed the occasional lunches out while we're working. (Our normal lunch spending wasn't included in July's $600 anyway.)
So here it is. August 27th. We have four days left in the month and have stuck with the challenge. We haven't had takeout pizza or Chinese. We haven't gone out for dinner even once.
And you know what? There's money left over in the checking account. Amazing.
It has been an interesting test. Most days I've made the dinner I planned for, even if I had to force myself to do it, while my mind was screaming "I don't wanna!" like an overtired three-year-old. Remembering that $600 usually motivated me enough to get up off the couch to start dinner. In my mind, I visualized the money, displayed in a neat accounting ledger, in bright red ink with brackets around it to indicate that it's money spent, not money earned.
You know, like this:
ACK! That's horrible.
Last night I was tired from all the running (football practice, a cross country meet, and a cheer-leading clinic all in one evening after a 4:30 a.m. start and a long work day) and not hungry at all, so The Husband threw some burgers on the grill. Easy stuff.
So we're going to complete this challenge. September is only a few days away. I do miss having a nice family dinner out at a restaurant. I think in the future we'll limit dining out or ordering takeout to once every other week. Unless there's some kind of occasion to celebrate, that is.
So tell me, how are you finding ways to cut back and stretch your money a little bit further?