My family and I did an experiment in November—No Dining Out November. Isabelle made us a big poster with “dining” spelled “dinning” and put pictures of all her favorites on the poster—KFC, Wendy’s, Taco Bell. We hung it up in a prominent place as a reminder. We did this after looking at the number of dollars being spent each month as the result of poor planning and the general “I don’t feel like cooking.” It was an embarrassingly large number each month—just shy of $500. Yep. And we didn’t think we were eating out that much until we tracked it. Well, the results were tabulated over the weekend and as a family we spent $66.19 eating out in November. This was one celebratory dinner of sushi (mutually agreed upon by the whole family) and one breakfast date for Mike and me.
You might be wondering if our monthly grocery bill went up—it didn’t. What did happen is that we had much less food waste. We ate all the items we purchased and stuck to our meal plans each week. The week of Thanksgiving we travelled and instead of stopping at restaurants during the 12 hour drive, we packed our food for the entire trip. Not only did we save money, the entire family said they were able to avoid travel belly. Additional benefits were trying new recipes, getting everyone involved in the planning and preparation, saved money into a vacation fund and a general feeling of accomplishment as we met the challenge! And of course we celebrated over the weekend with a trip to Moe’s. Ha!
You may be thinking “what in the world does this have to do with me?” Oftentimes we create the story that we cannot afford to save for retirement or we cannot afford to save money toward our future healthcare expenses or I’ll never have enough money to go on vacation or I’ll never be able to afford…(fill in the blank). If these stories sound familiar to you, consider your spending the way our family did and decide how you might go about changing the story. We liked the results so much, we plan to continue the challenge in a new way over the course of December and into the New Year–our goal is a 2018 vacation in Telluride. Taking the long view as you consider your options is important and the spending decisions and investments you make now will help you create a really amazing story for your future.
Each spending decision we make either works for us or against us. I challenge you to come up with your own way of making your money work for you and changing your OWN life for GOOD.