“Oooo we’re half way there, ooooo living on a prayer!” Sorry but I had to. C’mon you know you love Bon Jovi.
So it’s only been 16 days but I feel like this challenge has been going on forever! I have all of these cravings for the food I like most. The deli below my apartment makes vegetarian chicken salad on a whole wheat everything bagel – yum! My favorite Thai restaurant makes Pad See Ew with Mock Dock – nom nom! My favorite lunch spot makes vegetarian udon soup with veggie dumplings – a must have! O and don’t get me started on bar food as I continue to shed a tear for my guilty pleasure mr. nachos. Just the other day I was at Professor Thoms that has won awards for their nachos and I could not purchase them. What I think I need to do to this budget is possibly reduce the monthly budget a bit and then add a budget for eating out. In a city like NY, you really just can’t help it and are definitely limiting your taste buds. I think if I had a budget, I wouldn’t go crazy like eating all of those meals I stated above in one week, but maybe scatter them out like treat myself every other week. This also allows you to “pick your meals,” i.e have dinner out one night or do brunch with friends one weekend.
Initially when I did this budget we said alcohol was not included because we did not want it to impinge on social activities, and in the summer there is nothing like going to a beer garden and catching up with great people while enjoying the sun. (see yummy Michelada recipe) However, after this Memorial Weekend I have learned that food really does have an important role in socializing. I had a friend stay over this weekend and we wanted to do stuff, and then I had to say, “I can’t.” Two words I really think should be banned from everyone’s vocabularies. Then said friend ended up treating me to dinner and brunch over the weekend, as it was something they wanted to do, and me too, but my budget was preventing me from participating in these leisurely activities. And the ironic thing is, now that I’m on the food budget, I do have more money to spend on said leisurely activities. Now, I do need to save as my rent is only getting higher (thank you landlord), but I think some wiggle room in the budget for eating out per month would be well spent. I’m thinking next month I will add to the challenge the new dining out, but I’m not sure how much. I guess that’ll be determined by where my budget stands at the end of this month. How much do you think is an acceptable dining out budget?
But while we are on that subject, of a wiggle room budget, what about parties or social events that require you to bring food? I was invited to a Memorial Day picnic and there is nothing, nothing worse than showing up empty handed. In the end I wasn’t able to attend, but if I had I would have had to show up with nothing for the group. So I would go there and eat their food, and give nothing in return. However, if I had brought something – say a dip…it would eat up a good chunk of my budget. For example, 7-layer dip would end up being $17.91 (1 can Amy’s refried beans $2.50, avocados for guacamole 2 for $5, 16oz sour cream $2.49, salsa $2.99, 1 bag mexican cheese mix $2.04, olives $1.49, sliced jalapenos 7oz can $1.39, 1 bag Tostitos $2.99)
So here is my new solution to this, try to go halfsies on things like that in the future. If a friend and I split the ingredients it would be much more manageable. And the other pro, as much as we both want food that represents us, next time the other person can make their signature item. You could be sounding “cheap” by asking someone to split it with you, but I think more often than not someone would be happy to save the money and spend it elsewhere. Events always have leftover food as well, and this way there will be less thrown out afterwards.
Now with all that said, I am happy I have done this challenge. I continue to learn a lot about my own eating habits and spending. I truly think everyone should try this challenge, as I think it’ll really put your impulse buying into perspective. It will also teach you portion control and prevent you from munching on that late night snack as you have nothing to reach for.
Previous Balance: $61.02
Current Balance: $61.02