My Biggest Money Vice: Eating Out

My biggest money vice, by far, is eating out. I can easily spend $300 a month eating at fast food and casual dining restaurants. It is so crazy because I can easily spend $80 a week eating out for lunch and dinner, but will cringe at paying $13 for a facial moisturizing; then conclude that the purchase will just have to wait until next month because I simply don't have the money this month. Subsequently, I turn around and spend another $80 eating out the next week. Afterwards, I realize I could have bought 6 jars of the cream. Crazy, I know! I've also noticed that when I'm on a diet (sue me, I'm a girl), I save SO much money.

This is part of the reason why I started this blog. I am so close to Financial Freedom, I can taste it! By June, I will be debt free, everything except my mortgage and a $5,0000 student loan. I plan to have the student loan paid off by the end of the year. Despite all of these strides, I still need to get rid of this thorn in my side, called 'eating out.' Therefore, my goals in this area are the following:

1. I will give myself an entertainment budget of $160 a month--that is all! This amount will include eating out and activities.
2. The amount is broken down into $20 each work week for frivolous spending at work (e.g. sodas, snacks from vending machines, etc). This amount breaks down to roughly $4 a day for Monday-Friday. The other $20 dollars will be for weekend entertainment. This includes activities AND eating out. Therefore, if I know in advance that my weekend entertainment will cost more than $20, then I better spend less than $20 during the work week to supplement the weekend. The total amount I am allowed to spend for any given week is $40. This isn't a large amount of money, but considering the fact that I am single and some weekends, I don't do anything at all, this should be more than enough money if I carry over unused money from each week.
3. Additionally, if I cannot afford to participate in all invites I receive for the week because of my spending plan, I will just have to learn to turn down a few events, here and there.
4. I will hold myself to this spending plan (the word budget always conjures up restrictive and negative thoughts) by only using CASH for entertainment spending. I will only carry $20 with me for the work week and the other $20 dollars on the week.
5. I will withdraw the total amount from my bank account at the beginning of each month.
6. Finally, I have taken all debit cards out of my purse, to ward off temptation. I have one credit card and my checkbook in my purse, in case they are needed for something other than eating out.

So, this is my plan. Today is April 5, the first work day of April. I have not gone to the ATM yet--as I am typing this post in the a.m. But I will venture to the ATM for my one-time only $160 monthly withdrawal; AND I brought my breakfast and lunch to work with me today. Yeah, me!

I will keep you posted on how well I kept to my monthly entertainment/eating out budget. Wish me luck! Do you think my plan is realistic/unrealistic? Speak on it...


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