I always go over budget on food it seems if you read my monthly reports.
I just couldn’t understand what I was doing wrong, but then I realized during the last snowstorm that my habits are very simple. I go over budget on food when:
- I don’t plan my meals for the week.
- I treat people to dinner (usually my guy because we take turns paying to eat out). Here, I can spend a third of my dining out budget on one meal.
- I don’t spread dining out through the month. I wind up overdoing it right at the start of the month or right at the end.
The break down between weeks when I plan meals and cook at home is startling, but not surprising. Using Fabulously Broke’s method:
One week dining in: $40 on food.
One month of dining in, then, would be about $160 (no meals out at all).
One week dining out: $70
One month of all meals out, then, would be $280.
This ain’t rocket science. We knew I’d spend less dining in than out. I just thought that the difference wasn’t going to be that significant.
In real life, though, I don’t eat ALL my meals in or out. There is a blend. Too keep either from ballooning out of control (and to keep my body from doing the same), I think I need to go back to eating like I was broke:
- When dining out, skip the drinks and desserts (I’ve gotten back to making sweet treats at home anyway — so much tastier and cheaper!).
- When dining out, don’t gorge on the whole plate. Take some to work for lunch the following day or to finish off for dinner the following night.
Simple to the point of silly, but I got away from all these once I was out of debt.
If I want something I’ll have it, but I won’t order desserts and drinks for the sake of ordering them. And I’ll cook more for my guy and I… and ask him to cook for me instead of spending money. He’s a good cook!
So when there is a special occasion, happy hour or night out with the girls, I’ll have the money, not bust my budget.