This Is My Hardest Bad Money Habit To Break, But Here’s How I’m Working On It

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We all have things we spend money on that aren’t essential. Here is a luxury that I have a hard time reducing.

Key points

  • Many of us have expenses in our budget that we could spend less on.
  • There’s an indulgence I can’t get rid of, but I try.

When my husband and I sat down at the start of the year to review our budget, we knew we would have changes in store. After keeping our revenue vehicle for 15 years, it’s time to replace it with a newer car – one that can actually comfortably fit our kids and isn’t plagued with random quirks and issues.

But since car prices are so high right now, we know there’s a good chance we’ll end up spending more than we expected to replace our car. And we also don’t think we can wait too long to make this move.

As such, we’re looking to cut back on our non-essential expenses to offset what could soon be a pretty substantial car payment. Although we can simply reduce our savings goals, we prefer to see what reasonable changes we can make first.

We are not the kind of family that spends money lightly, so it was difficult to identify expenses to cut back on. But one area where we definitely tend to overdo it is takeout.

Some weeks we’ll order two or three times if work keeps us busy and our kids’ extracurricular activities keep us running all over town. Plus, I can admit that I just love takeout, so even during times when life isn’t as hectic, I still tend to indulge in it.

Still, due to an increase in our bills, and also the fact that almost everything costs more these days thanks to inflation, I feel compelled to try to cut back. Here is how I make this adjustment.

1. I don’t go to extremes

Going from two or three takeout meals a week to none is just not realistic for my family. And frankly, I think that would make me miserable. So instead, I’m going to slowly reduce. I’m going to start by limiting myself to a maximum of two meals a week with the aim of getting to just one.

I happen to think having take-out once a week is pretty reasonable from a financial and health-related standpoint. Meals that I cook tend to be healthier, but I don’t think it’s terrible to eat something a little more junk if it’s only once every seven days.

2. I’m getting better at meal planning

A big reason I rely on takeout so much is that I don’t have time to cook. But by doing a meal plan, I hope to alleviate this problem.

Normally what I do is drop my kids off at school and then stop at the supermarket afterwards as it’s on my way home and pick up some ingredients to cook with later in the day. I will do this several times a week. But I could definitely be more organized to buy groceries and cook in larger batches, so working on that should make it easier to cut down on takeout.

As a freelance writer, my income may vary. I usually have a specific income figure that I target on a weekly basis, but some weeks I manage to exceed it by taking on extra work and spending extra time on it.

Normally, when my income increases, I send this money to my savings account or my brokerage account, where I invest it. But since we’re planning to reduce takeout this year, I’ve decided that for every additional $100 I earn per week, I’m allowed to put $10 into what I call my takeout bonus fund. . This way I get a small reward for working harder.

We all have things that make us happy in life, and for me, takeout is one of them. While it won’t be easy to break my habit of ordering multiple nights a week, I know it’s the right decision – I promise to do my best to make it happen.

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