Applying Personal Finance Discipline to Weight Loss


Applying Personal Finance Discipline to Weight Loss _

Last week was my birthday, and as we all know yesterday was Thanksgiving. Between the two (!!) cakes I received as part of my birthday celebrations and the four (!!!!) pies we had at Thanksgiving dinner yesterday, you could say that I have a bit of a food hangover. A lasting food baby, if you will.

Needless to say, I need to get rid of said food baby ASAP. I’m lucky enough to be spending Christmas in Brazil with BF and his family, so it’s time to get my bikini body back. I’ve always been pretty lucky with my weight and in the past have been able to eat pretty much what I want, not exercise as much as I should, and maintain a healthy weight. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve noticed that eating junk/not exercising has a bit more of an impact on my waistline. Oh the joys of aging.

Parallels between weight loss and personal finance

Weight loss, like many things in life, is all about self-control and delayed gratification. I’m not gonna lie, I’ve never been great at either of these things when it comes to eating healthy and exercising. But, as I was thinking through how to go about losing weight this time around, I realized that I am GREAT at self-control and delayed gratification in another area of my life: personal finance. Continue reading

Super Simple Meal Planning

Super Simple Meal Planning _

I realize that I’ve been talking a lot about food lately. Like, a lot, a lot. But you know what? Food is important! It is delicious and necessary to keep us alive and also one of the most controllable line items in any budget. It’s something I’ve given a lot of thought to over the years and I hope you’ve been enjoying my little bits of wisdom.

Today, I thought I would share one of the best ways I’ve found to save money on groceries: meal planning. Meal planning sometimes sounds scary – I think it conjures images of hours spent clipping coupons, searching for deals, meticulously planning recipes and driving to five different grocery stores each weekend – but over the years I’ve honed a relatively simple meal planning system. All in all, I probably spend less than 30 minutes meal planning each week. Add in an hour door to door for my once weekly grocery trip, and I’m pretty happy with the savings payoff from the minimal time investment. Continue reading

How to “Eat Out” Without Leaving Your Home!

How to Eat Out Without Leaving your Home _

I have often found myself longing for the luxury of a nice meal out at a restaurant. The atmosphere, the company, the delicious food (and not having to prepare that food myself) all sound really appealing. But, in my quest to lower my food spending, I now find myself trying to avoid eating out as much as I might be inclined to.

Eating at home doesn’t have to be a huge sacrifice though, and I’ve learned a lot of ways to make eating at home feel like dining out but for a fraction of the price. Here are my thoughts on how you can create an “eating out” experience in the comfort of your own home. Continue reading

Dining Out Without Breaking the Bank

Dining out without breaking the bank _

After learning just how bad my lifestyle inflation has gotten in the last few years, I’m trying to do what I can to cut back in certain areas. One area in which I noticed particularly egregious spending is in eating out. BF and I don’t indulge in too many luxuries, but we do really enjoy going out to eat regularly. This has come to cost me a pretty penny over the years (don’t even get me started on the madness that was our restaurant spending in France this summer). While I have no plans to cut out eating out entirely (it’s something we really enjoy and value), I have been thinking a lot lately about how we can get the same dining out experience without spending quite as much money.

Today I thought I would share my thoughts on how to dine out without spending a ton. You can still enjoy great food, atmosphere and company without going over your budget. Continue reading

The Great Grocery Price Comparison Experiment

The Great Grocery Price Comparison Experiment _

I recently embarked on what is perhaps my most time-intensive personal finance experiment to date. While I have always felt that I am a smart grocery shopper – shopping at the right stores, taking full advantage of sales and carefully checking unit prices – I figured it couldn’t hurt to verify the frugality of my ways. I’ve never had a price book before, but I have heard the value of them extolled on not a few personal finance blogs, so I decided to give it a try and compile a grocery price comparison spreadsheet of my own.

I began this experiment by creating a spreadsheet listing items I commonly buy in three key categories: household items, toiletries and food. This list is certainly not exhaustive, but I tried to include enough items to give me a good sense of which stores offer the best value in each category. For some items I had a specific brand that I was looking for. For others, there were only certain requirements, and in those cases the least expensive option that fulfilled the requirements was selected for comparison. For all items at all stores, I compared full prices only. All stores have sales, but it just seemed impractical to wait for those sales to come around to put into the spreadsheet. Continue reading

Grocery Shopping the Smart Way

When I was growing up I would grocery shop with my mom every week. I always really enjoyed grocery shopping because I was able to pick out the foods that I wanted (within reason). To this day, I still enjoy grocery shopping, largely for the same reason (although today my mom isn’t there to tell me I can only buy one kind of cookies).

I also like grocery shopping because it is the one kind of shopping that I get to do every week, no matter what. I always need to eat. I might be trying not to buy new clothes or spend money on other non-necessities, but the grocery store is one place where I can get my shopping fix without splurging.

That said, it is all too easy to splurge even at the grocery store. Yes, we all need to eat, but we do not all need to eat organic, grass fed filet mignon topped with truffle butter every night.  Because I grocery shop every week, without fail, I have spent a lot of time thinking about how to be smart about grocery spending. If you’re not paying attention it is easy to bust your budget with regular trips to the grocery store. Continue reading