I have a confession to make. Two confessions, actually.
First, I haven’t been doing so great with eating well and losing weight. Second, I’ve been doing even worse with money.
I’ve realized that these two things are somewhat related. By far, the biggest drain on my finances is the food budget. There are a number of reasons, that I’m overeating AND overspending on food:
1. Stress eating. Things have been hectic over here, and I already knew that I’m the queen of stress eating. After a rough day, I go out and buy comfort food.
2. Sloppiness. This comes back to stress as well. When things are crazy, I don’t make it out for my weekly shopping trip. We have grocery stores in our town, but they tend to be much more expensive, because our town in a resort area. I don’t want to buy a week’s worth of groceries in our town, so I just grab what I need for each night. And impulse buy some snacks. Everyday.
3. Quick fixes. When things are hectic and I don’t plan ahead, and I don’t feel like spending time cooking something. So, when I do my daily run to the over-priced grocery store, I tend to buy prepared or processed foods.
So, what can we do about this? I think it all comes back to planning. Planning ahead takes some time, but, ultimately it will cut down on stress. At this point in our lives, we need to prioritize saving money, over nearly everything else. So here are my goals, for fixing our food budget:
1. Shop once, every other week. The less I’m in the store, the less I will spend.
2. Keep meals simple. Single-dish meals, without processed carbs and sugar, with one source of meat per week (for example, I’ll buy a pack of chicken legs, and that will be our only meat for the two weeks), will save us time and money, and be healthy.
3. Saving money (temporarily) comes first. I love buying organic food–it’s better for the environment, it’s healthier, it’s more ethical. But, right now, we need to focus on fixing the budget. The time will come, when we go back to eating organic.
4. Focus on other means of stress relief. This is a tricky one, because eating works so well! But, I’m focusing on making time for writing and exercising, continuing to declutter and simplify, and taking an omega-3 supplement (omega 3′s lower production of cortisol, the main stress hormone).
I had my first shopping trip on this plan, over the weekend. So far, so good! For two weeks, I spent $91. My goal, is to stay under $75 a week, and so far we’re making it.