In the past eight days, I have only dined out twice. That might seem like a small victory, but for me it is huge. I did cheat a bit on my seven-day vow to eat at home, but my intention was not to turn into a hermit, so I'm counting it as a success.
And I have a pretty good weapon in my battle of willpower. I use Quicken to track my finances. Quicken, of course, has some handy-dandy reporting features, including the ability to see how much money you've spent in each of the different categories you've set up. So on a whim, I ran a report to check the total under Dining.
Then I had to sit down until I stopped hyperventilating.
I won't share the entire total (although you could figure it out if you wanted to) but the report showed clearly that I was spending an average of $275 a month on eating out. Two hundred and seventy five dollars a month. That's obscene.
And then I remembered something...
I bought this computer in April. Transferring my data from my old computer was way too much of a hassle (believe me, I tried.) My bank records only go back to April.
My $275 suddenly skyrocketed to $350. That's so far beyond obscene I don't even have a word for it.
And it's not like I've been dining at the Palm. I've been known to go out for a pricier dinner now and then, but that obscene amount is mostly made up of Jerry's subs, Chipotle burritos and McDonalds chicken nuggets. I've been nickel and diming myself to death, and let's face it: I do not make enough money to drop $350 a month on anything, much less something that:
1. Doesn't stick around.
2. Probably wasn't good for me anyway.
My intention is still not to turn into a hermit. I enjoy spending time with my friends, and I do enjoy eating out and trying new restaurants. But even the convenience factor of takeout is overrated, because opening a can of Campbells still takes less time than sitting through a drive-thru.
In the past few days, the thought of that horrible, horrible sum of money has been enough to make me turn up my nose at the idea of going out in a way that nothing ever has before. Thank God something has; the thought of the amount of money I've thrown away this year makes me sick.