I love Blink-182, so this title is very fitting.
The real reason I chose this title is because all of our small purchases added up quickly these last two weeks. And I went over budget.
I did not purchase any physical “stuff,” so technically I did okay on the shopping ban. But somehow we ended up buying a granola bar or some other snack almost everywhere we went.
I have always believed in the power of small numbers, especially when it comes to budgeting. A little here and a little there can make or break a budget.
But I am human and make mistakes, and this time around I messed up.
I am not proud of this, but as I stated at the start of this experiment, I am not striving for perfection. I am striving for honesty and transparency.
Reflection and Moving Forward
It is valuable to reflect on what went wrong.
I calculated approximately $42.75 on unplanned Lara Bars, RX Bars, beef sticks, plantain chips, and various other brands and versions of these snacks. To put this in perspective, we usually try to spend about $20 total for a day worth of meals for all four of us. So we spent two days worth of grocery money on snacks. Not good.
Now, if you have children you know that snacks are a necessary evil. Mark Sisson of Marks Daily Apple put it best in a recent podcast…..kids eat like a$$holes sometimes.
“Could you cut my apples in bites with almond butter. Oh, this isn’t homemade almond butter….then I don’t want it.” (My son)
“I don’t like this ham, I like the other one.” (My daughter)
“Is this cheese from Ireland? I like cheese from Ireland.” (My son’s exact words).
“I said no cheese on my sandwich!!!!” (My daughter, with big tears)
Me: “You can eat this or be hungry.” Children: “We will be hungry.”
If you were at a restaurant and people acted like this you would be appalled.
So I understand how I fell into the bad habit of a beef stick here and Lara Bar there….I just wanted to see them eat without complaining. I needed convenience.
Since snacking will likely continue in my household, we need a sustainable strategy.
So here is what we are going to try:
My children are old enough (7 and almost 5) to figure out what they need. So I am going to pre-portion and pre-cut healthy snacks. They can have two snacks between breakfast and lunch and two between lunch and dinner.
Do not ask me
Instead of involving me in the process of making snacks, they simply choose from the food available and help themselves. I am removing myself from the equation. (Hallelujah)
Each day I will pack their lunch in a lunch box like they are going to school. If they are ready for lunch, they can simply grab their lunch box and eat what is inside. We picnic a lot in the summer, so this will make those adventures easier and again remove me from the equation.
Eat what is served and no eating after dinner
The food I place in front of everyone for dinner is the only option. After that, the kitchen is closed!!!
Other Ideas Going Forward
Kevin and I spent some time discussing other ideas and strategies for these next two weeks.
Completely unrelated to the budget, Kevin has decided to try fasting in the morning and afternoon and eating only dinner.
So far he has had great energy and loves the mental freedom of not thinking about food. A nice side benefit is it helps the budget and means I have less snacks to purchase and pack for him. This should help a lot!
We will also do a mid-week and end-of-week discussion to see where we are at with the budget.
We are moving forward and excited to try new strategies. I am grateful for the accountability the shopping ban has provided.
And I will definitely remember to watch the small things.