The Money Diet
Wednesday, November 04, 2015
I made an interesting discovery lately: there are parallels between budgeting money and budgeting food. In both cases you can only truly be aware of your consumption if you are tracking it and the results can be alarming. Historically I've been bad at both so I've been both overweight and broke. The first thing I've gotten under control was my diet and I've lost a lot of weight as a result. Then recently my wife and I started paying more attention to our spending habits and noticed, primarily, that eating out had become a $500 a month habit. Wow!
Don't get me wrong, my choices when eating out were much healthier than they once were. However, now we eat out much less frequently. Our goal is once per month and one day we may even get there. This has had a number of consequences. The first is that we save a lot of money. The second is that we are in much greater control of what we eat. The third is that we now have access to much greater variety of food than before. Lastly, WE HAVE FUN. Cooking is fun and it is something we can do cooperatively. Furthermore, we enjoy cooking.
A common question with food or budgeting has to be, "Do I really need it?" Before Spark People, I ate impulsively. Snacking on chocolate and chips, and other fatty, salty or sweet food was quite commonplace for me. I still indulge myself but only infrequently. Likewise, my wife and I used to make a number of impulse purchases that resulted not only in overspending but in excess clutter. Now we are de-cluttering our house and making do with what we have far more often. We still enjoy indulging in shopping trips, but, again, only infrequently.
It was in the process of planning out our budget that I suddenly thought, "Hey, this is familiar." Tracking your money, asking if you really need it and making do with less were some of the same principle themes I had been using with Spark People. Who knew?