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Adding it up - Fast Food

January 18th, 2005 at 08:42 pm

I've tried to keep a through daily spending log numerous times over the past few years, but have never really truly kept up with it. I've also tried all the various money management programs out there - Quicken, Money, Mevelopes, etc etc but found them to just not quite be the right fit for me.

I think though that I may have finally figured out a way to keep track of my spending - and also keep my spending plan easily. I've set up an Excel spreadsheet with various sheets - one for my Spending Plan (aka Budget); one for my Emergency Fund; one for my Long Term Savings (replace car, house downpayment); one for my Slush Fund (clothing, medical, vacation, recreation, car repairs, etc etc); and one for my Main Checking (rent, insurances, utilities, groceries, cc, etc).

It's now January 18, and I have faithfully recorded every penny spent for 18 days. I think that's the longest I've ever actually kept up with something like this. Yesterday I was on my way back from visiting my mom. There is a DQ right near her place on my way home. The nearest DQ to me is about 15 miles and at least 20 minutes+. I absolutely LOVE DQ Blizzards - probably akin to some peoples love of Starbucks latte's (I personally can't stand coffee or anything similar to it.) Well, I stopped and got one. Ouch! $2.58 out of my grocery money for something that first of all isn't very good for me (especially since I really don't need the extra calories!) and second of all I could make a pretty nutritous and filling meal for the cost of just that one dessert. When I got home I faithfully recorded my expenditures. Well, I totaled up all my fast food spending in the past 18 days. Ugh! Nearly $16. My grocery budget is $125 for the month - so for basically two meals and two desserts, I spent 75% of a weeks grocery's money.

If it wasn't for the fact that I've got SO much food stockpiled in my pantry and freezer, this wouldn't be such a horrible thing. But I've got TONS of Barillia pasta that I got FREE with coupons plus just on Sunday I got 4 jars of RAgu Pasta sauce for FREE from Tom Thumb with the Unilever instant rebate.
And thats just the tip of the iceberg. My biggest problem I guess is that although I enjoy cooking and making things -- for other people -- I don't enjoy it so much just for myself. Its such a pain to get all those pots and pans messed up when its just ME to enjoy whatever I've made -- and its just ME to have to clean up all the mess.

Just this past Friday I had my students over to my home for a Mid-Year party. I made them Danish Abeleskeber's, and served them fruits and some veggie meats. I throughly enjoyed every part of the whole process - from making the batter - to cooking it up for them - to cleaning up the mess afterwards. I also didn't mind the compliments I received. Smile But when its just for me - ugh! - to get the motivation. I KNOW its a money saver and I KNOW its SO much healthier - but . . . I am so good at coming up with other things to do (like sit on my duff surfing on the net - instead of doing something for my health - both financial and otherwise).

I have tried getting together with my best friend who's also a colleague of mine and having cooking nights. We've done this maybe three or four times in the last three years. The problem is that she has two young children - whom I simply adore - but its not easy trying to cook with a two year old and a four year old underfoot. It's actually been about a year since the last time we tried it. Maybe I should talk to her about trying it again. Especialy since her husband's income hasn't been very steady. Ok, I think I will talk to her tomorrow about it. Maybe set up a night next Tuesday (that's her night off from the kids).

Well, probably ought to be heading off to la la land - doing something else for the ol' health. Smile

Keeping It Frugal in Texas,
Laura

1 Responses to “Adding it up - Fast Food”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Just a thought, but cook at home for the kids and family and have them over for just the dinner. So it would just be you cooking, but you get a healthy meal, and you can freeze leftovers. And if you like company you get the company, plus the compliments. (compliments being my personal favorite part of company for dinner, though I only get them for the dessert) Also it is still cheaper to cook for two than eat out for one, so you could try more company.
    And congrats on keeping up with the spending log.

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