No Spend January!

No Spend

So I have a lot of goals and plans for 2017, and I’m sure you do too. Here’s the catch, guys. That crap costs money! I know, right? I hate it too. Here’s a plan that I think will end up helping all of us get these goals and dreams crossed off our lists!

  • Spend less money eating out.
  • Cook more.
  • Save more.

Well, just how much less and how much more depends on your own income and spending and what your goals are. My bigger goals are to be free of debt before I go to grad school, so hooray for cutting back!

But there’s a bigger picture, too. #Anklegate2016

Having ankle surgery really puts a damper on your plans, especially those to save money and cook. Thankfully, I’m on the upswing and walking again, and most importantly, cooking again. Over the last few months, I’ve spent more money eating out because I’ve barely been home. I work full time, go to class at night, have physical therapy twice a week and then other appointments and “life things” (Laundry) on top of that. Who has time to cook on top of all that?! My mom has been gracious enough to help me more than I could have ever asked since my surgery, but like, I need to help her out, too! Thankfully, I can finally do that again.

My goal in 2017 is to eat a homemade lunch 5 times a week and a homemade dinner 4-5 times. That means any of those 7 days, because, let’s face it, I’m trying to be realistic.

There will be days when you don’t have leftovers and you haven’t gone grocery shopping, or I’m out of snacks to bring to work, or I oversleep (more likely), but there will also be weekends when I binge watch Supernatural, I mean, clean and do my homework and I don’t leave the house.

The best part about this goal is that it will force me to cook more and to get back in my groove now that I’m more mobile. In writing this post, I realized that it’ll also help anyone who is looking to learn to cook become more comfortable in the kitchen. The more you do something, the easier and more fluid it becomes.

So now comes the hard part, figuring out how I’ll actually be able to do this. Here’s how:

Make my lunch

This means actually prepping things the night before. Pack up leftovers and arrange the fridge so they’re easy to grab, you know, that sort of thing.

Snacks at work

I’m not a big breakfast person anymore, mostly because I get up before the sun and that’s way too early to even think about eating. Luckily, we have a big kitchen in my office and I can keep things at work so I don’t run out of mid-morning and late afternoon snacks to tide me over.

Make food worthy of leftovers

Listen, the only way you’re going to eat something is if you like it. That’s just common sense. Do yourself a favor and make food you like. It’ll help you with lunches, reduce your food waste, and really get you to enjoy being in the kitchen. I promise.

Utilize the freezer

IDK if you know this, but the freezer is your friend. Especially for when money is tight, you’re super busy, or you’ve accidentally made too much of something. When you’re packaging food to store in the freezer, make sure to portion it out. Will you be taking it for lunch? Use a couple small containers. Dinner for you for a couple nights? Use a bigger container, and pick a couple fun, easy things to eat with it.

Meal plan

Dun dun dunnnnnn. The infamous how to save money trick. It’s so annoying to hear, but it’s true, so that’s why you keep hearing people talk about it! If you plan out what you’re going to cook and eat, you’re less likely to eat out because you already have that stuff at home. The hard part is figuring out on Sunday what you’re going to eat on Friday. How do you even know?! My solution is just plan for 3-4 days at a time. It eases the stress and the pressure.

Cash budget

What? Who carries cash anymore?! Yeah, a lot more people than you think, and here’s why. It’s a lot easier to spend money you can’t see. Swipe, swipe, swipe, $50 done. Easy peasy. If you start sticking to cash for spending around food or shopping, you’re going to be a lot more careful about what you’re spending and when. I’ll be trying this for the first time in January and I’m really hoping it’s something I can stick to for the long run. I have a couple friends who do and I think it’ll be really helpful.

So there’s that. Let’s work to cook more, be home more often and spend time learning how to break bad habits and learn new, better ones in the process. I’ll be checking in on both Facebook and Instagram this next month to let you know how I’m doing this this whole “No Spend” thing. Make sure to let me know how you’re doing too, m’kay?

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