What started as a fun experiment has turned into an unexpected lifestyle change. And before your bullshit radar goes off, let me just say that I have never experienced this much success with a personal challenge, budget-related or otherwise. For some reason this one just worked! I stopped eating takeout and delivery food on January 25 and I’ve had zero slip-up’s.
Granted, my rules are extremely liberal. There are two very specific guidelines:
- No takeout/carry-out food
- No delivery food
Before this challenge, I was eating takeout or delivery up to two times per week. While that seems incredibly conservative, it had a substantial impact on my overall budget. I felt like I’d never be able to control my takeout cravings without completely eliminating the option to choose the convenient, overpriced meal instead of a home-cooked creation.
I only had one near-slip-up, which occurred after a visit to the DMV. It was the day I had to change my license from Georgia to Rhode Island. When the kind man at the DMV handed me my Rhode Island license, I was immediately hit with all the feels. So, I went to Chick-Fil-A to eat a biscuit and hashbrowns with a sweet tea. I still didn’t take the food to go and eat it in my apartment, alone with my feelings. But it was more or less breaking the rules and I felt kind of guilty about it after. Whatever, I needed a taste of home. Can you blame me?
Other than my little Southern food frenzy, I have been doing remarkably well–significantly better than I even intended to do. I definitely went into this challenge thinking that I’d occasionally allow myself to give in and pick-up Chipotle on my walk home from work. For the first month or so, I would stare at Chipotle longingly, wishing for my two-month challenge to be over quickly so I could indulge in a $9 burrito bowl.
Yet somewhere along the way, I completely forgot about how delicious Chipotle was and started focusing all my attention on the real gem: my grocery store. Logically, the grocery store is a much more exciting place than every restaurant combined–it has everything! I think I saw it as a nuisance before, but now it gives me more of a the-world-is-my-oyster vibe.
A love affair with my grocery store isn’t the only change I’ve experienced as a result of this challenge. Yes, I saved money and I’m continuing to do so. But it’s so much more than that. I’ve opened my life up in a way that was/is totally unexpected. You know I love a good list, so look out for a summary post coming soon!
Spoiler alert: Here are some of my main takeaways (yes, pun!):
- I’m reaffirming my love of cooking.
- I know which purchases are essential vs. extraneous.
- My life is more creative and fulfilling.
- My budget is more manageable and less stressful.
- I’m learning to be much kinder to myself.
- I’m starting to understand how it feels to live within my means.
Have I convinced anyone to join in this strange and beautiful challenge? It’s almost too easy to turn down, right? Who’s ready to join me in the world of #notakeout?