I have tried several food/cost projects over the course of my adult life.
During my last few semesters of college, I had some spare money from my internship earnings, so I decided to spend more money than I had previously let myself on food. I learned that if I went home to eat dinner, I would end up going goofing off on the computer and not getting as much work done, whereas if I went out for dinner and went back to work, I was significantly more productive. I set a budget of about $500/month for food, buying more time with money. This was awesome and definitely left me far less stressed out.
My first autumn working full-time, I tried to make my lunches and take them to work, often using leftovers for lunch. What I found was that I ended up eating dinner out instead of eating lunch out, which was far more costly and took a lot more time than eating leftovers for dinner. I also ate sandwiches for lunch, but I found that with it just being me eating the meat, cheese, and bread, I was eating sandwiches with stale bread after the first week, still with a half loaf of bread. This reinforced my lunch spending plan.
I’ve learned in the last couple of years that one of my biggest de-motivators to getting anything done is being hungry. I almost always leave work when I’m hungry, so if I don’t have dinner prepped already, I tend to get sad pretty quickly and not do much in the evening. There are several solutions I’ve tried to this problem:
- Having dinner prepared that I just have to heat up and I’m ready to eat.
- Eating dinner out by myself (cost $7-20)
- Eating dinner out with coworkers (cost $20-40)
In January, before I moved, I was trying out option #1. I would cook a lot of food on Sunday night, which gave me leftovers for each night during the week. This was AWESOME. The problem? It requires me to be in town on Sunday afternoon/evening to cook dinner. The cost of cooking 6 nights of food on Sunday? Probably about $20.
Another problem is that my schedule has been unpredictable enough that I’ve ended up wasting quite a bit of food in the last few weeks.
I’m not really sure what to do about this. During moving, sucking it up and just spending the extra money on eating out was certainly far less stressful. I need to stop that at some point though because spending $38 on dinner is really not a priority for me. Sure, I enjoy spending the time hanging out on friends, but I don’t need to do that 3-5 nights per week like I have been.
My April calendar looks a lot less hectic than January, February, and March were, so I’m planning on resetting my routine to a clean slate. I think I’m going to not stress about my food spending for the rest of March, but I need a plan to fix this in April. I am going to work making dinner into my new routine.
But now, it’s the weekend and yet again, I have plans with friends. I hope that everyone has a wonderful weekend!