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Changing My Habits Series: Eating Out

Changing My Habits Series: Eating Out

After reading this incredible book at the beginning of the summer, I spent some time reevaluating my daily habits. I’ve been making a dedicated effort to identifying my ‘keystone habit’ and I may have found it… As part of a financial planning class I agreed to take with my mom I spent some time breaking down my monthly expenses… Safe to say- it was horrific.

I don’t make impulse shopping choices, especially when it comes to clothing and shoes. I don’t splurge on SoulCycle classes, get my nails done, do lash extensions, or really anything regularly that drains my bank account EXCEPT- eating out.

I hope my grandmother doesn’t see this because she’d probably drop dead, but in the month of May I spent $400 eating out at restaurants/coffee shops!

I was IN SHOCK when I calculated this. In my tiniest of defenses this was in the midst of finals, so I was more focused on passing my classes than meal prepping. I’d buy coffee to support the shops I was working in, or I’d stop for a salad or dinner on the way home to avoid another 30 minutes of cooking and dishes. Nowadays its really hard to eat out anywhere and not spend at LEAST $10. In the month of May I definitely had a few meals out cost over $20… I am also adamant about tipping well which makes each meal out that much more expensive.

So 2 weeks ago I decided that I wasn’t going to eat out during the week. I stopped by the grocery store and bought some meal prep essentials to carry me from Monday to Friday, only it didn’t stop there. After going two or three days without spending money eating out, I felt so good about it! Even after I went through my groceries I decided to “shop my kitchen” and cook things I’ve had but didn’t remember I’d bought.

I got creative with my baking! I made banana bread and homemade bagels using ingredients from my kitchen. A few nights this past week I made dinner with my mom, doing the same thing with her kitchen! It got me super pumped.

I haven’t spent a dollar eating out in 2 weeks!

A few general things came out of this experience:

  • Making a meal became both a communal event and an opportunity to express my creativity in the kitchen.

  • After I stopped spending money eating out, I generally stopped spending money on other things as well aka no impulse purchases at Sephora or Target!

  • My meals were healthier! I wasn’t necessarily eating bad food when I went out (which was probably also why it was so expensive), but making food at home is almost always going to be healthier as you know exactly what you’re putting into your body.

So does this mean I’m never going to eat out again? No! I love going out to meals with my friends, and its such a fun way to also explore the city. If anything, paying attention to my expenses gives me the freedom to enjoy my meals out now versus stress about how much I’m spending later. If I’m going out to one nice meal a week rather than five then I’m truly indulging in a treat rather than making it my usual habit.

I’m excited to see how this new habit impacts other continued aspects of my life! I’m thinking of making this post a series as it develops further over time. I’m all about progressing self growth. Let me know what y’all think!

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