We all have one. That small indulgence that really doesn’t cost all that much, and whether it’s out of convenience or want, you find yourself justifying the purchase because, hey, it’s just a couple of bucks. Yeah, you know what I’m talking about. The NBD purchase.
My NBD purchase? Eating out a few times a week.
The way I budget, I give myself an allowance out of every paycheck (I talked about this in Simplicity in Budgeting). Out of that allowance, I purchase groceries that will cover meals for two weeks. I look for sales, buy off-brands and sometimes carry coupons, so I spend roughly fifty bucks. Pretty good, I think. And because I spend so little on so many meals, I’m generally okay with eating out a few times a week. I mean, a couple bucks for lunch and a little extra for dinner? No big deal.
Well, I added up these “no big deal” meal outings and was horrified at the results. I went through my checkbook register (yes, I keep an actual register) and added up all of my restaurant purchases from the past 5 months: June, July, August, September and October.
I spent, GULP, $834.93! What the heck!? That averages out to $166.96 a month and $41.74 a week! And if my spending habits keep up for a full 12 months? I’d be spending roughly $2003.52 at T-Bell and The Bees’ a YEAR. That is definitely not just a couple bucks here and there…
I realized I needed an intervention; therefore, I forbid myself from eating out for a full week. That’s right; I was grounded. I didn’t buy any additional groceries; I just used up what I had already purchased with my normal budget. By the end of the week, I was proud of the financial accomplishment. It did take a little planning to ensure I’d have dinner leftovers or fresh deli meat for lunches, but to have an extra $41.74 at the end of the week was WAY worth it.
I strongly recommend you take the time to evaluate your own NBD purchases… maybe you’ll see that it’s costing more than you think.
Hmm…do I see a potential Wingman challenge? I think so…