by Bethany Frank
I used to make my way to a familiar green-logoed coffee chain a minimum of three times per week. And there’s little I enjoy more than some good food and drinks with friends on a breezy evening, so you can imagine how much I was spending at bars and restaurants when I wasn’t really thinking about my money.
That’s what steady paychecks can do – you start spending money you don’t actually have “knowing” you’ll get paid again soon—a vicious route to all kinds of debt. Once I was out of that comfortable cycle, I had to face exactly how much money I was wasting on things I can easily buy in bulk and make myself. Food and expensive lattes are hands-down the biggest expenses I’ve cut back on since transitioning out of a traditional corporate career. And guess what! I have more energy now, and I’ve lost weight, too.
Before the freelancer life, I would go to the grocery store and buy whatever seemed good that week. I’m embarrassed to admit how many times I had to throw away moldy vegetables and half-full containers because I didn’t use my groceries in time – probably because I went to a restaurant instead!
Now, I plan my meals down to mid-day snacks, and I save a ton of money in the process. Adding a healthy dose of consciousness to my food shopping routine helped me cut my average weekly grocery bills in half. These days, I can get by with spending about $30 per week instead of my usual $60.
Granted, I eat a lot less brie than I used to, and I definitely miss my all-too often trips to The Cheesecake Factory. But I was living in indulgence neither my bank account nor body could afford, so cutting back has been nothing but positive. With all the money I save from meal planning alone, I can still afford to go out with friends every now and then. It isn’t about giving up your lifestyle altogether but tweaking it so that you can live more comfortably in the long-term.