Getting back on track with your money after an epic fail with spending.
You guys, I failed….royally failed. I talk all the time about not eating out, cooking dinner at home, and saving loads of cash. I’ve convinced many of you to be more mindful of your eating out habits and how much better it is on your health and on your wallet.
But, these past two weeks, I failed miserably. There was not a day that went by where I didn’t stop at a drive-thru for at least ONE meal…many days it was all of our meals. I feel incredibly guilty.
The truth is, I let apathy win. It took over and I stopped caring for a whole two weeks. And now, I’m suffering as I look at my credit card statement and could see over $300 in junk food that we consumed. That amount is separate from my food budget of $300, so I literally doubled my food cost because I was too lazy to do something about it.
If you’re wondering why I used my credit card, here’s a brief explanation. While I’m 90% frugal, I still choose to use a credit card for gas and our “occasional” take out meals, which I budget for every month. I make sure to pay it off in full each month and I get reward points that I cash out at the end of the year.
Our Current Diet
But back to the epic fail, I should let you know that we were participating in lent. In our religion, lent is done completely vegan style, that means no meat, dairy, or any animal by-products.
Even though, we lent every single year for Easter, each year, it gets harder and harder to think of foods to eat, let alone make for 55 days straight. So, naturally I would justify the fast food choice by saying things like:
I was tired from a long day of work, or
The kids were too hungry to wait, or
There wasn’t anything to make (where there is a will, there’s a way, but I clearly had no will).
I fed my beautiful kids junk. And I couldn’t find an end to the cycle or a way to get back on track.
For two straight weeks. We all felt sluggish, more tired, and way more lazy. Not to mention the constant bloating and stomach discomfort.
We would get hungry faster between meals and we were always grouchy, believe it or not. I blame this on the empty calories we were all eating. I unintentionally experimented on my family the causes of eating fast food everyday straight for 2 weeks, and the results were astonishing.
Not only were we wasting money left and right, we were packing on pounds and we were constantly dissatisfied, wanting more and more food to keep us full. It’s an insatiable cycle that keeps us endlessly consuming until our belt buckles explode and our wallets deflate.
I had to do something about this and fast. This past Friday, I completely cleaned out my kitchen for spring and reorganized the entire room. I even put new shelf liner. It felt great! Surely, this would motivate me to start cooking again. Sadly though, there was another full day of eating out due to my utter exhaustion. Another defeat.
Time for Change-Back on Track
Monday, I changed my tune. I planned out my week’s dinners and I told myself I’m not going to ask the family what they want to eat, since dinner choices are rarely agreed upon between the 4 of us. I decided to cook based on my list and what we had on hand, and they would have to make due. Surprisingly, it worked like a charm. We ate at the dining room table for the first time in weeks as a civilized family. Knowing that I spent zero extra dollars to put food on the table felt amazing.
Slowly Getting Back on Track
Tuesday, I went back to work. I diligently packed lunch for Mr. FC and I, and we treaded off to work. I brought oatmeal for breakfast and spinach stew for lunch. It was delicious. But, a part of me had to resist the urge to buy something from the vending machine at work. It’s like I was addicted to spending again. Had I reverted back to being my past self, a mindless consumer!
To tell you that it was hard to resist would be an understatement. You know the feeling, right? Your cravings kick in and you think, what’s a buck gonna do? My friend, it does a lot. It symbolizes your strength to stick to the plan and to your budget. And I did just that. I went 2 days without spending. And for all of you reading this and laughing, I get it. I would laugh too if I was doing well and came across a person who was struggling to stay away from fast food. I might have even silently judged their excuse of being tired, apathetic, or just wanting to eat junk food. Cause it only takes 20 minutes to put a simple home cooked meal on the table right? Not always. Not during those two weeks.
You and I, we’re human. I’m frugal and love to find new ways to save money. But, sometimes I make bad choices when I’m tired. I get lazy and I feel stuck sometimes. I want to not think about my budget for a couple of days. Those feelings are all too real and completely valid.
But here’s what makes the difference.
We need to give ourselves grace. You and I aren’t perfect, but we’re trying everyday to be better. We’re going to have off days and we’re going to have days where we kill the mission and do our happy dance. Roll with it. Give yourself grace when you royally screw up your budget and make it better the next day.
It’s never too late and every little step takes you closer to your goal, even if you’re just inching your way through your journey.
I hope that grace fills your journey you find ways to be better everyday.