Sunday, November 27, 2011

Old Habits Die Hard

Yes, I look this sexy when I'm sick

You may be wondering what took me so long to write my latest blog post and the answer is simple; I was sick and avoiding having to write another fail blog. Being sick is one of the most annoying and time-wasting things, but I think getting a cold was my body’s way of telling me to slow… down. These days I have been stretching myself thin with work and French classes.

When I started this debt repayment process, I was stuck in a lot of habits like using my debit card for everything, eating out, not saving, not planning and lately I find that I have gotten back into some of my old habits that got me into debt. In my typical fashion, the week started out with really good intentions; I was ready to make a meal plan and figure out how I was going to find ways to cut my outside-of-the-budget spending. The problem is that I never got around to making that meal plan. Not only did I not do the plan, I took out my weekly allowance and still used my debit card to go out and buy $60 worth of records (I’m a sucker for Florence + the Machine).

My personal motto
Now without being too offensive to the people with kids and spouses, why is every financial book geared towards you guys? Don’t these financial planners know that I am perfectly capable of effing up my finances without a family and a mortgage? The majority of all the meal plans and recipes that I find are for families, which has pros and cons. The pro is that the meals you make will stretch out for a long time. The con is that it’s easy to get sick of something when you eat 6 portions of it. I remember seeing one meal planner for couples on someone else’s blog where she talked about going through flyers and looking at what was on sale and making a plan based on that. That is all well and good, but for me, that’s a lot of work and I don’t keep any flyer of any kind. She did have a good idea or two, which I will now steal and add into my own planning.

Anyway, I have decided to use this blog post to make my meal plan for the week. Now I have no excuses, sigh. I did do some research and I found a couple of interesting ideas from other blogs. This time of year it is more important to implement a meal plan what with all the holiday parties, pot-lucks, work lunches and so on that keep coming up, or maybe that’s even more of a good reason to be having a meal plan? The first thing to do is to get a program to make a list or spreadsheet. Certainly, it pays to plan ahead and it will save you time in the long run when you are out grocery shopping or doing something similar.

I want my meal plans to start on Wednesdays because that’s when I get paid and I find that people tend to overcrowd the grocery stores on the weekends so when I shop on a Wednesday I can avoid the clutter and find more selection. I worked at a grocery store for 4 years so I know that major grocery chains get new stock in every day, but it runs out when there are more people around and when there are sales - obviously. Usually when something runs out it’s because everyone has ordered a lot of it and they don’t have enough to distribute or else the person who does the ordering is incompetent. Imported items take longer to restock because of where they come from, so you might have better odds finding everything you are looking for if you go on a weekday. 

The ultimate time saver!
Start your list by putting in the days of the week (duh). Next, add in all of the meals that you are going to have to make. For example, each day should have breakfast (if you eat breakfast), lunch, dinner, and 2 snacks because let’s get serious; most of us have a little afternoon craving for chocolate or some other delicious food most afternoons at work. If you’re sharing groceries with a partner, then add them into your plan as well. If you know that you are going to be really busy one day, then don’t choose to do a complicated meal where you end up eating at 10:00 pm after an 11 hour day. I have had days like that where we want to kill each other over how hungry we are. So, make sure that when you plan your recipes that you look at the cooking plans or choose recipes that can be cooked in a Crockpot.

Here’s an example of how my week could look (the J is for me, the R is for my partner):

Breakfast: J: Oatmeal; R: Cereal (Kashi);
Snack 1: J: Banana, yogurt; R: off
Lunch: J&R: Tuesday Dinner Leftovers
Snack 2: J: Carrot Sticks with dip; R; off
Dinner: J&R: Rosemary Chicken Skillet with Potatoes (Recipe)

Breakfast: J: Cereal; R: Toast with Peanut Butter and Honey
Snack 1: J: 2 Mandarin oranges; R: off
Lunch: J&R: Leftover Chicken Salad Sandwich
Snack 2: J: Cliff Bar; R; off
Dinner: J&R: Thai Red Curry Shrimp with Jasmine Rice

Breakfast: J: Oatmeal; R: Cereal (Kashi)
Snack 1: J: Banana and Yogurt; R: Cliff Bar
Lunch: J: Lunch with Cafeteria with coworker; R: Leftover Curry Shrimp
Snack 2: J: Banana; R; Almonds
Dinner: J&R: Butter Chicken with rice

Breakfast: J: Oatmeal (PC Blue Menu); R: Cereal (Kashi)
Snack 1: J: off; R: Cliff Bar
Lunch: J&R: Friday night leftovers
Snack 2: R; Almonds
Dinner: J&R: Lasagna

Breakfast: R: Oatmeal, smoothie
Brunch: J: Bacon, eggs, toast, orange juice
Lunch: R: Leftover Lasagna
Dinner: Potluck Dinner: J making Roast Turkey and Stuffing

Breakfast: J: Oatmeal (PC Blue Menu); R: Cereal (Kashi)
Snack 1: J: Bagel with Cream Cheese; R: Cliff Bar
Lunch: J&R: Leftover Turkey Sandwiches
Snack 2: J: Almonds; R; Banana
Dinner: J&R: Leftovers

Breakfast: J&R: Cereal (Kashi)
Snack 1: J: Oatmeal; R; Orange and Cliff Bar
Lunch: J&R: Chicken Salad Sandwich
Snack 2: J: Carrot Sticks; R: Protein Shake
Dinner: J&R: Whole Wheat Pasta with Tomato Sauce

Now you’ll notice that I don’t include drinks on weekdays in here. I have a coffee club at work, so we all just buy some coffee every month and contribute that way instead of buying a coffee out every day and the ol' balls and chain works at a restaurant, so he can get his coffee or tea there. This plan not only saves us money, but time as well. I also bought a water jug for the office so that I can have filtered water on hand to drink everyday instead of having to buy bottled water or something like that. The oatmeal is the instant kind that I bring to work. It’s really that simple, so just get it together and you can be well on your way to being a successful debt destroyer like me!

On a side tangent,
I have now paid off $15,000 worth of debt!
Isn’t that incredible?

No comments:

Post a Comment