I THINK ABOUT FOOD ALL THE TIME. It’s really a problem. Not so much the thought of eating it, but WHAT and WHEN I’m going to eat. This creates an unnecessary stress for me on top of trying to survive daily life as a millennial. Sundays are the worst. That’s when my anxiety kicks into high gear from thinking about what am I going to eat this upcoming week. Now this was not always a big deal. In fact, I didn’t really think about it, I only dealt with the day to day. Why you ask? Because I use to buy my lunch everyday… yes everyday! Unless I had leftovers from eating out the night before. Yup, you heard me. I only brought my lunch if I had leftovers from food I bought the previous evening. I know I know, my monthly food bill… ridiculous.
My week went a little something like this… Breakfast: Typically I would grab a piece of toast or something quick, but in the event that I was running late (which was majority of the time) I would buy a $5 breakfast sandwich. I know what you’re thinking… I could just keep some instant oatmeal or something at my desk and make it when I get to work. But guess what? I can’t stand instant oatmeal. I really don’t like instant anything! So back to this $5 sandwich. Then due to the stress of rushing in the morning (and really not wanting to be at work half the time), I would find myself wondering across the street to Starbucks. There’s another $5 for my chai tea latte with soy milk of course! Then there’s lunch. I’m not a fast food consumer honestly, but I do eat Chick-Fil-A and that’s about it. I prefer the type of fast food that’s going to run you about $9-$10 without a drink. Sweetgreen, Cava, Chipotle, Gusto, Panera and Potbelly (come thru Broc Cheddar Souppp!), just to name a few. Let’s remember I bought lunch every single day. Then there’s dinner. So after a hard days work, I felt like I deserve to treat myself to some good food. The adult would kick it here and there and I would know I need to stay home and cook instead of paying double digits for a Rotisserie Chicken Salad, or a Catfish w/ Collard Greens and Cornbread. Here’s a little something about me, I like to eat good. Really good. I love marinated, slow cooked meat, and well flavored fresh seafood. But here’s the problem… You can’t throw good food together when you’re already starving and lazy by nature. It takes time, but more importantly, preparation. My arch enemy!! It was so much easier to just pick something off a menu and have it prepared for me! Genius. I mean what’s the harm in that.. Oh yea that whole budget thing. See all this eating out, adds up. Quickly. But I mean is this really a problem? I’m always working. I make money, I should be enjoying the fruits of my labors. I deserve it (my favorite sentence). But see after rent, car note, car insurance, cell phone bill, gym membership, hair appointments, nails, etc I never felt like I had any money. And I budgeted for those things. Then I tried cancelling things, I got rid of my gym membership, I didn’t get my hair done as much,. I took off my fake nails and started wearing my real nails but low and behold… I still ain’t have no damn money! SOooo I decided to keep track of my spending to see where the heck my money was going because I didn’t get it. AND you already know… it was the food. I discovered I was spending anywhere from $400-$700/mo on eating out. Now this is literally, just eating out, not including groceries… yes I still brought groceries (that ended up going bad because I did not cook them). So of course more money down the drain! And that number is also NOT including cocktails. Going out with the girls, bottomless mimosas, happy hours, brunch etc. That’s another expenses! That’s ridiculous! No wonder I can’t pay off my credit card debt, or drop money on a flight for a quick trip, or drop money on concert tickets and all the other social things I desire. But I’ll drop money on a shrimp dinner in a heartbeat. Priorities… all messed up.
Now that reality was slapping me in the face, I decided in Jan 2017 I was taking control of my life. I know I know, that’s what they all sayyyy. New Year New Me. But no for real. This time, things were different. I had to face the music that I’m in debt and honestly I wasn’t feeling that great physically. I made the commitment to not buy breakfast or lunch. That’s a hell of a commitment! At the time I couldn’t even really address dinner, it was too big of a task and I didn’t want to feel defeated before I even started. But I knew I would get there. Gotta crawl before you walk honey. Hello 2017, you’re looking very financially free these days!
So fast forward 9 months later, and I’m still sticking with my commitment. Yes I’ve had my ups and downs and have definitely purchased a smoothie and a Chipotle bowl (or two) but for the most part I’ve stuck with it. AND I’ve learning a lot along the way and continuing to learn. I’ve decided I’m going to start sharing my trials and tribulations of trying to eat well, stay healthy, and save money. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Trust me. So if you’re looking to do the same thing and want to make changes in your life, subscribe and follow me to keep up and check out more Hanger Management post.