Cutting Back- A Focused Test
Can we go for a month without going out for a meal? Next month we are going to find out. We've been trying to cut back on eating out, spending money without planning to spend it, and seeing if we can save more money (or spend less). It's not that we go out for fancy meals, but we noticed once again, it is easy to get sloppy, go over the budget and say "just this once" that leads to more.
In our plan we will take into account a few business obligations that have been scheduled, but forgo those that are family treats and unplanned. We will decide the food budget based on previous months expenditures and eat only food bought in the grocery store. Like the French we will allot a certain amount of money to go out for a "cafe" or a "Frozen Yogurt," but we will make it an occassion and savor the time sipping our Starbucks. We will have to plan more to prepare picnic lunches on the weekends so we don't end up starving after a hike or readjust schedules so we eat before we leave. Lunch during the week doesn't seem too difficult as Jean has been taking his lunch often and I have been making it as I work out of a home office. It's the weekends we will have to plan carefully. Stock up on great fresh foods and make a party out each meal.
We laughed as Father's Day is this month. "So Jean said, I guess we don't get to go out. I want a great homecooked meal that day...Well ,I guess everyday for this month."
This week my first task is to review Quicken and see how much we have been spending on groceries, household expenses and dining. Since one of our goals is to reduce overall expenses we hope this experiment will prove this is one simple way to do so. We've planted a vegetable garden,as well, hoping to save money on fresh vegetables, but will have to wait a few months to reap the benefits. In the meantime we will keep to the spirit of lowering expenses and forgo dinners out, takeout, and spontaneous picking up. Remembering the dinner party I am planning this month I will ask the guests to each bring a favorite dish and a bottle of wine. My guess is the dinner will be better than going out and the ambiance will allow for the kids to be included for the meal and then "disparu" (disappear) to play while we adults relax over more wine and great conversation.
Another reason we are doing this is to eat healthier.
There is no doubt that when we eat our own homecooked food, fresh vegetables, big salads, and sweet strawberries in season for desert we are able to manage our weight more easily and I am consistently able to fit into those size 6 jeans. Eating out not just hits the pocketbook but also the waistline.
Check in to see how we are doing. The Test begins June 1 for the month of June.