Thursday, February 21, 2013

No Takeout--3 weeks

Three weeks into no takeout I have discovered some things about myself, my life, my eating habits, and my home. I would definitely recommend this exercise to anyone, and definitely during the month of February.

I feel I have saved a good chunk of money. I've also discovered some "recipes" for lunch that I might not ordinarily have tried. The fact my husband and I are trying to stay away from "lunchmeat" has something to do with some of the new foods we are coming up with. Suffice it to say, there are definitely pros and cons to not eating out or ordering in.

Something I've discovered is that I'm a decent cook. I've perfected my chili. I've also made a mean turkey b/l/t and a not half half-bad egg salad. Incidentally we thought my husband hated tuna salad. Turns out he hates restaurant tuna salad that's been left to get weird and soggy. My tuna salad is a big hit!

Something I've taken away from this exercise is that food is very expensive. If you can somehow manage to find coupons and discounts, you're ahead of the game. If you cook your own meals, you're also saving. But overall, you will spend if you want to eat tasty, somewhat varied food. If you don't mind repetition it can be easy and cheap. I don't mean to say that inexpensive, easily prepared foods are categorically boring. It's just the ones that I make so happen to be.

Another thing I've discovered is that having to buy groceries cook nearly all the meals is a full-time job. If you don't want to open containers and dump things in a pot; if you want to marinate, season, chop, and blend; if you want your meals to be at least as good as the local diner, then you'll have to work at it.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

harder than it looks

Even though the month of February is the shortest month, if you are not doing something which you are in the habit of doing, then it will be the longest month in your entire life.

Some observations from my fast from takeout and dine-in:
  • Coffee in a paper cup from the deli looks like it tastes better than free top-brand coffee from your employer's hot beverage machine
  • Chinese takeout sounds like the healthiest thing in the world at 6:02 PM
  • Old habits don't die. . . they weaken and crawl under a rock to rest up so they can attack you when you are defenseless
  • Only the deli man really knows how to toast a bagel (even though he has always gotten your order wrong!)
We did go out to eat last night, for my husband's birthday. It only happens once a year. We ate modestly and still spent $42. That is slightly over half what we have spent on groceries for the month thus far. It really doesn't pay to pay someone else to cook my flippin food. They did a good job with the burger but I could have done it just as well. Luckily my birthday won't roll around for eight more months.

Now for the extra 1K, I did sign up to work for the upcoming holiday. I won't make anything near 1K. Ha! But, it's a step in the right direction.

Friday, February 1, 2013

No Takeout Challenge and $1K

I've heard it put something like this by another blogger: February is a good month to try a challenge because it's the shortest month!

I've often seen challenges on various blogs. On one, the author challenged the readers to make/save an extra $1,000 that month. On another the blogger challenged herself and her readers to take their lunch every day for that month.

The 1K challenge is something I'd like to consider but I'm not sure it would be possible to complete in just one month. I'm thinking of making it a February-March challenge. However, the no takeout challenge is something I think I should have gotten around to by now.

I have a tendency to get tired and frustrated and just kind of fall into ordering Chinese Food delivery for dinner when I don't feel like cooking, or I'm having the week from hell.  I'll also buy my lunch from time to time. That's horrible because I work in Manhattan and the prices are often about 2-3 dollars more than what you would expect to pay outside of Manhattan. I know February is not the greatest month for me to be doing this personally, as my husband's birthday, and Valentine's day both fall in this month. I think I'll excuse myself for his birthday but for Valentine's Day there will be no restaurant food. I'll be putting my Crockpot to the test and stretching my imagination. Before the month begins I'll be referring to a month-long menu I've planned out but haven't gotten around to using. I don't expect to save a whole lot because I don't make it a serious habit to order in. But I do expect to come out of it with a little more discipline.

As for the 1K challenge, I have the opportunity on occasion to do overtime on the job.President's day is coming up in February and perhaps I can choose to work overtime on that day. I also sell books from time to time by listing them on I have one or two items in my closet I think I can list on Craigslist. Let's see how close to 1K I can get!