I struggled a bit about what to give up this week.
In some ways, giving up spending extra money at all was pretty encompassing. So many things are represented in that overarching category that giving up anything smaller felt redundant. I thought about giving up drinking anything but water this week, and had actually decided to do so, and then I woke up this morning and downed a Diet Coke before I even thought about it. Caffeine-addiction is a powerful agent of denial. That will be a good challenge for another week, but setting out on a fail note was too depressing.
After much consideration, I decided to give up dining out. Even during the no-spend challenge, I ended up in restaurants twice. Once, a friend took me out for Sushi (for her birthday! Incredibly generous.) and once, an awkward (but fun) brunch where I was the only non-eating attendee.
The reason I’ve chosen this is three-fold:
1) I feel that a lot of my socializing happens around food. That’s all well-and-good, but it’s not the most creative use of social time.
2) I have had a block about cooking for a long time, and I’m just starting to get the hang of it. I’ve been restaurants, drive-thrus and pre-prepared foodstuffs for ages. I’d like to nurture this newfound skillset and help solidify it as a habit.
3) I went through my bank statements for the last few months and, overwhelmingly, my largest non-bill expenditures were on food. It’s a huge waste of money. Huge.
SO: No food that I didn’t prepare myself will pass my lips this week. If I’m invited out for a meal I will propose alternatives. If folks really just want to go out to eat, I can join them to be social, but I can’t order. Nor will I accept invitations to purchase meals for me (as I will feel inclined to return the favor at a later date, which is sort of like passively spending money in advance.)
If we eat together, we cook together. And ideally as a smaller part of a more encompassing evening.