Spend too much on food? Try this
My name is Stephanie Hinds and I'm a food-a-holic.
This is the part where you say "Hi, Stephanie", in a glum, solemn tone before I express my addiction.
For the first few years I worked, my money went towards one thing and one thing only. Food. My excuse was that it was sustenance, I needed it to survive, I didn't have time to cook, I had no groceries...I'd say anything to make spending $20 or more on each meal justifiable. As I got older (and poorer), I realized that I wasn't even eating out of hunger anymore. I was eating out of boredom and bad habit.
The habit was bad for both my wallet and my health. I watched "My 600-Lb. Life" all the time and wondered, honestly, if I'd end up on the show. The food they eat looked like what I ingested over the course of a week.
As I grew older and finally started budgeting, the wake up call was going through my banking statements. They were littered with fast food places, items ranging from $3.99 to...let's not even go there.
I was spending too much on food. And something needed to be done.
A while back, I heard some old West Indian say "If ah can't buy it twice, tree times, meh nah guh buy it once." In other words, if they don't have two or three times what it cost, they wouldn't buy it in the first place. But the thing about food is, you always have a few bucks for food. So could this approach really work for me?
First I had to find out why I was spending so much money on food. And my reason is likely the same as yours. It's because each purchase is only a couple dollars at a time. With apps like Skipthedishes and UberEats, you can get virtually anything you want delivered to wherever you are and not even have to have cash on you.
Food has become this easily accessible commodity that we, despite appreciating so much, have lost appreciation for.
Nothing served as a better wake up call than tallying up just how much I was spending over the course of a week, a month and ultimately, a year.
So a few weeks ago, I decided that each time I got a craving, I would put the total amount of whatever that meal would cost me into my savings account. And when I actually went the distance and fulfilled the craving, I would put twice as much as it cost into my savings account. Once for my health, once for my wallet, and the base cost of the meal for my tummy.
I found this to be the solution to my problem, and I think it's because it a) deters me from getting the initial craving because I know it's going to cost me b) the more money I put into my savings account, the less I have to spend on food and c) when I did eat out, I didn't feel guilty and savoured every bite.
If you, like almost all millennials, feel like you spend too much on food, try it! Honestly. It worked to get me out of the depths of fast-food addiction, it might save you too!