My Biggest Downfall
You don’t know this about me yet, but, my biggest downfall is eating out. If I add up all of the money I spent eating meals out over the past, dare I say, two decades, the amount would be staggering. I wouldn’t be surprised if it would be enough to pay off my student loan, car loan, and a portion of my mortgage(s). I promise to do a quick calculation before the end of this post. Although, I’m scared and embarrassed to see the number. Yikes!
You see the feature picture? That could easily be my friends and I enjoying any one of a hundred+ meals out that we have indulged in over the past years. I’m not so sure my friends and I were quite so glamorous, but a girl can dream, right?
After many nights of taking turns picking up the tab with a credit card, that dreaded time of the month would rear its ugly head. Bill Time. I can remember having hour long conversations with the same girlfriends commiserating over our bleak financial status. We, of course, ignored the fact that we blew hundreds each month on meals we couldn’t afford to eat. I can’t even tell you how many times I have paid interest on food I consumed months, or even years previously. Pathetic. C’mon, I know you’ve been there. The thing is, it’s not the wonderful food and drink that sucks me in; it’s the ambiance and social scene. I even love the golden arches if it means I can partake in friendly chatter outside of the house.
FYI: Don’t think less of me for loving McDonald’s; you can’t deny that their french fries are totally delicious. 😉
Dissecting My Love for Eating Out
There is no memorable defining moment that comes to mind that shaped my love for eating out. I think it was a cumulative effect from my early adult years when I equated eating out with being social and having a good time. Obviously, I gained quite a bit of enjoyment from gathering with friends and enjoying some great food and conversation. Come to think of it, my eating out go-to gang changed over the years depending on who was currently single and available. I was in a relationship for most of my twenties that enabled my habit due to his long work hours. On the heals of that, I was mostly single and licking my wounds in my thirties. That didn’t help my habit. I could sit here and speculate for hours (maybe even talk to a therapist) about how and why this came to be a financial thorn in my side that has, no doubt, seriously hindered my “what could’ve been” present and future, but that does no one any good. The point is to start where we are TODAY. Right?
How Do I Plan to Curb this Singular Fatal Financial Habit?
I plan to start equating pleasure with family meals around our own dinner table.
I plan to cook and bake delicious goodies with my future husband (did I mention I’m getting married soon? Yay!) and my daughter for us to enjoy at home.
I plan to think carefully about every dollar I spend on food that doesn’t come from the grocery store or market and how that dollar could be better used elsewhere. Let’s face it, a $50 meal at Noodles & Company could pay for a winter coat for my daughter. I need to start thinking like this. This is how smart people think. I’m a smart person. I can do it. So can you.
One Week Challenge
I am going to challenge myself, and YOU, to not eat any meals out for one solid week. Don’t laugh! I’m starting small so I can accomplish this goal. This is MY latte factor. Besides, baby steps are the key to success. Ask Dave Ramsey.
As Promised, Here it is…
Conservatively speaking, if I spent $50/week on eating out over the past 20 years, that equals $52,000! Unfortunately, I believe that is a low estimate. 🙁 My guess is that I have spent closer to $100,000. I could’ve paid off my investment home or put that money to work in a solid index fund. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. Do you have a “Stupid” moments to share?
I’m going to go cry myself to sleep now. Toodles.