Our first month is almost done! All of our hard and fast expenses are out, now it’s all down to our more “free flowing” expenses. It wasn’t easy. We definitely slipped up a few times. We realized a large portion of our expenses went to unplanned/uncategorized things. Basically splurge spending. $20 here and $30 there really adds up! I took a night where I sorted thru every transaction on our bank statement from the previous month, and made one spread sheet for what bills are due when. Then another list of how much we spent on each category (food, utilities, gas, etc). Our biggest area at fault was food. When I think about it, it makes sense! Have you ever thought of the vicious food cycle?
1. You buy groceries for the week- you may have even meal planned for the week!
2. Life gets out of your control (this happened especially when both of us were working)
3. You buy dinner because it seems convenient and time saving- maybe you even eat somewhere really cheap!
4. Now you’ve spent money on eating out you weren’t planning on ON TOP of wasting the groceries you never used for the dinner you meant to make that night you ate out.
5. Everybody feels kind of crappy from a) guilt and b) tacobell.
No one wins in this cycle. Except maybe the fast food industries that push their agendas on you. I should preface this article with this- I HATE the idea of someone using me to make a dime. I breastfed my daughter her whole first year mostly fueled by the fact that I didn’t want to give formula companies my money, especially with the dirty history they have in marketing. (No hate on those that choose to! It’s a medical miracle) I just don’t want to be told formula is somehow better because you’re paying money for it and it was made in a laboratory (an old adage from the 60-70’s) But while we are in that topic, here’s an article about how formula companies Target those who can least afford it. Clear thinking people HAVE to realize, those companies, everything they do is to make money. BIG money. Every stance a company makes (The Gillette ad, the Nike ad, do you kneel? Do you not? ) Every study they share, every product/person/belief they endorse equals money. They aren’t your friend. They just want your money. Everytime someone is”so proud” of x company for standing up for y community or taking a stance on z, all I can think of is “they did it. They successfully got someone to be a free salesman by pulling on heart strings” and it seems a little exploitative to use these minority groups to push your product. But I digress…
I used to think as a teen/young adult that taco Bell was the best invention ever! No one could ever starve with such “cheap” menu options. But the lie comes in when we started realizing we were ordering extra food, fully expecting 25-50% of what we ordered would either not be put in the bag or would get messed up (quesadilla without the cheese, a stale tortilla) when we looked at what we were spending, about $20 with drinks, we realized we spend the same at the “fresh” places like Chipotle, where we only need a burrito for Ben, and a burrito bowl for Charlotte and I to share. We just don’t order drinks and ask for water cups instead. Then we all leave feeling so much better. No soda guilt. No processed food guilt. Just good food for our bodies. We are, however, still out$20.
We have noticed, though, that when we don’t use the drive thrus, we don’t really want to go thru the hastle of getting out of the car and waiting in line. We would rather just go home and eat left overs or make something quick. And guess what? It will take you almost the exact same (probably less) amount of time to throw a quesadilla together with some shredded precooked chicken (because rotisserie chickens are great for a budget!) And you have the option to make it even healthier (we add spinach and beans made in the instant pot to our quesadillas)
Basically, it’s all a head game, as are most things in your life. Someone told you (fast food advertising) it would be so much easier to just drive thru when in the long run, it’s not.
Let’s look at another modern day “convenient” meal- meal kit subscription services. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that *most* things that require a subscription are after your money. If you have money to blow- great! Go for it! But chances are if you’re reading this, you probably have less than an abundance of money. Here’s a personal example at throwing money at subscription services. When Ben and I first got married, I was going thru our statement a few months in. Something called WOW was charging us $20/month. Ben slaps his head and says he stopped playing that almost a YEAR ago but never got it cancelled. That’s where they make money! You being a human. So meal kit services: you pay a monthly fee, then receive a box with your next 2-5 meals. They buy your groceries and include recipe cards. But here’s the thing I don’t get… You can literally do all of that yourself if you have TIME. See how the world uses convenience vs time/money so much?! It really is a growing trend (can we call it a crisis yet?) where people just truly feel they don’t have time to do things that were once just regular tasks of life. And it’s probably true! But I’ll get into that more in another blog post about the stay at home mom.
Another frugal food falicy that I hope all frugal livers have figured out by now- whole foods. Seriously. Biggest rip off. If you want to eat organic, that’s great! There are so many options at your neighborhood Grocery stores now. You wanna know what whole foods charges for a tiny 8oz container of “freshly whipped whipping cream”? EIGHT DOLLARS. This was one of the most offensive things I’ve ever realized about my millennial generation. There are so few young to mid-adults out there who know how to TURN ON A MIXER, that this company can charge 2-3x the cost of buying a pint of whipping cream that will make twice as much. That’s like buying whipped cream four times. It’s outrageous and I’ve never wanted to protest a company more.
Again, it all goes back to someone making a dime on your time. Our world is full of people trying to sell you something, and your time is the most lucrative form of currency for those companies. I want SO badly for this generation to see past all of that. Make a menu! Do your Grocery shopping! And above all else- “use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without!”