Before I recap how my “Say No To 7” week went, I want to introduce you all to this week's oh-so-awesome Focus on Finances challenge. This week we are saying NO to eating out…of any kind. Coffee, shacks, drive-throughs, lunch money for your kids, ordering a pizza, you name it. Anything you consume this week needs to come from your own house, or nothing at all!
For many of us, cooking can be hard. Trust me, I know. I'm at the point in my life where cooking is just one more job; one more annoying task at the end of an exhausting day that only leads to lots of “I don't like this” comments from the kids, and lots of dishes and mess (I am the world's messiest cook. Like, ever.).But I also know that when Bubba and I had over $10K on just one credit card, had $0 in savings, and weren't making enough money to pay the bills some months, the simple act of focusing on our FOOD is one of the largest factors that pulled us out of the hole we were digging and started letting us get ahead in life (more about our story HERE).
I am walking, living, breathing proof that, though easy/fun/convenient, wasting so much money on BUYING food rather than MAKING food will only slow you down in life. It might make your life easier for a moment or two, but in the long run, it's like standing still in the ocean – it's easier than walking forward against the current, but in time it's really just drifting you backward, farther away from where you want to be.
This week we are going to say NO to buying any food, other than groceries!
Here are “the rules” for this week:
- For 7 full days, no eating out in any way! Since today is a holiday, I am going to do this from Tues to Tues (Jan 21 – 28).
- Buy groceries, as usual, sticking within your weekly budget. And remember, only go grocery shopping ONE TIME, no matter what! If you need a gallon of milk or a loaf of bread, make it yourself or try to substitute, or if you must, send your spouse or a friend (someone who will come home with just the one item and nothing extra).
- Make everything at home – including coffee, desserts, and school/work lunches. If you can't make it at home, go without this week. Don't even buy bottled water! Remember, life is all about choices – sometimes giving up the little things is what allows you to achieve great things! If it didn't come from your house, don't eat it. Enough said.
- Entertainment? If it's your date night, make dinner at home. Or eat at home, then do an activity after and pack your own snacks. Or do an at-home date night! Friends want to go out? Invite them over and cook dinner for everyone, or have everyone contribute to a potluck dinner! That's what we're doing! We are having 6 couples + their kids over on Friday, cooking dinner for another couple + their kids on Saturday, and having yet another couple + their kids over for dinner Sunday. You don't have to go out to eat to have fun!
- Remember, frugality is NOT about giving up everything everything you want in life…it's about learning to make choices so you can GET everything you want out of life. Many of us spend money on food without thinking about what we are giving up instead. If you spend $50/week on eating out, that's $200 per month you could put toward a vacation, paying off debt, buying new clothes, having fun, buying house, paying off loans, or other GREAT things. Don't get stuck on the “good”, focus on the great!
- No, cooking at home doesn't have to be time-consuming, fancy, or expensive. Last night I thawed out frozen chicken in a bowl of hot water, smeared some store-bought BBQ sauce and seasonings on it, grilled it on our dinky George Foreman thing, microwaved some baked potatoes, opened a can of corn, and BAM. Dinner in a cinch, and it cost us pennies. Glamorous? No. But it tasted fine, we were all fed and happy, and it saved me $40 that I'd much rather put toward painting our kitchen cabinets in the near future.
Dream big, folks!
As for the “Say no to 7” Challenge…
I loved it. It wasn't easy, but I loved it. It was especially challenging this week because it was the week leading up to Frugality Boot Camp. I had Lindsay fly into town and stay with me all week to help me prep. Normally I get nervous cooking for guests every day (I'm really not that great of a cook) and would've ordered lunch and/or dinner for us all week to avoid cooking something she didn't like. But we ate lunch at her favorite Utah drive-through once, and I cooked every single meal otherwise. And guess what? It tasted great.
I also said no to a FABULOUS rug that I really wanted from Costco. It was $15 off, so it was only $85 for a HUGE rug that would be perfect in our piano room. To this day I still want it, but I know we don't NEED it. We are saving to paint our kitchen, and every $5, $10, or $85 adds up. Our focus right now is NOT the piano room, so though it's great and on sale, we don't need it. Another great deal will come along when it's the piano room's turn.
I had to make it a point to think ahead this week and pack meals and snacks for my kids as we were running around. I did a lot of PB&J's, so I wouldn't have to buy food everywhere. It was worth it, and my kids really didn't mind.
All-in-all I feel like I did great this week, even with it being a crazy-busy week. How did YOU do? Are you feeling good? Hanging in there? Leave a comment and share!
Love you all my little Focused-ites!