On New Year’s Eve, we sat down as a family and made our New Year’s resolutions. We are big fans of writing out SMART goals that are lofty, yet attainable. As we started talking about our biggest goal, we realized that we needed to set some smaller goals in order to achieve our big one. Somehow that led us to a crazy idea: to cut out dining out, take-out, and Starbucks. I still can’t decide if we are crazy or not.
Update 12/18 Spoiler alert: we were crazy. We lasted about 4 months and finally gave up. Then we ended up using the money we saved to start Naples Compost. I guess it all ended up going pretty well since we started a business I’d always wanted to own!
Do you still need to make goals? Check out my guide to setting financial goals here.
I need to put in a quick shout-out to Jamie at Medium Sized Family. She did a “year of no” in 2017 with her family to save money. She’s such an inspiration and because of her posts, I know my family can stay true to this goal.
Here is how we decided to do a year of no dining out, take out, or Starbucks
I first decided to cut out take-out
I decided that for 2018 I’d like to waste less. Waste has also been an important issue to me. I won’t bore you with the specifics, but I’m extremely concerned with the finite space we have available for landfills. Many large cities are already out of available landfill space, and pay smaller cities for their land.
I’d like to do as much as possible to be the change I want to see in the world. While I don’t see myself ever going completely waste free, I’d like to do my best to waste less, and encourage others to do the same. I’ve been very inspired by Kathryn from Going Zero Waste, and I signed up for her challenge for the new year.
Anyway, I decided to cut out take-out, including Starbucks, as my personal goal for 2018. That goal alone is lofty, right?
Next we cut out dining out
As we continued to discuss our goals for 2018, Tom said he wanted to save an additional $10,000 this year. We already put a good amount in savings into retirement accounts and the kids’ college funds each month, so saving an additional $10,000 is a lot to us. We are currently putting aside $300 a month to our saving account. In order to reach $10,000 this year, we will have to save $833.33 each month. That’s $533.33 more than we currently have in our budget.
Unless Tom gets a huge bonus or I start making $500 more a month, we can’t meet our goal of $10,000 in a year.
But, we’ve saved big before, and we know we can do it again.
As much as I love our current lifestyle, I know without a shadow of a doubt that we can save more. We’ve become accustomed to enjoying take-out and Starbucks because those things make us happy. I don’t feel like we’ve “wasted” money on those things in the past year. However, I do think that in order to be healthier and more environmentally friendly, we can totally give up some of those amenities for a year.
Now is the time
I certainly feel like we made a crazy lofty goal, however I am positive we can do this because the timing is right.
I haven’t enjoyed dining out with 3 kids lately. I also haven’t enjoyed dining out during date nights. When we go out with the kids, I’m stressed. When we go out alone, I’m anxious about leaving a sitter with all 3 kids! Either way, I haven’t thoroughly enjoyed dining out at this stage in my life.
We wrote in a work and travel clause
Tom and I both dine out a lot for work. He takes clients out to lunch; I review restaurants as part of my job as a digital influencer. We aren’t willing to stop doing this when it’s part of our job, and something we enjoy.
Additionally, we enjoy traveling. We save up money in order to travel, so when we travel, we want to eat well. We have a Disney trip coming up this month and we are already excited about eating in Epcot and getting Starbucks in Magic Kingdom. How can I not enjoy my favorite coffee at the happiest place on Earth?
We still plan to enjoy fine living on a shoestring budget
Just because we aren’t going to be dining out, doesn’t mean we will be skimping on fine food. The last time we cut dining out from our budget, we ate better than we’d ever eaten. I tried new recipes, bought quality food from Whole Foods and Fresh Market, and bought amazing small batch coffee- I’m still obsessed with the Fairhope Roasting Company. It’s pretty amazing to see how far your money can take you when you don’t spend it dining out or buying overpriced lattes.
You’ll just have to wait and see! I don’t want to spill the beans just yet. I will tell you that I read The Magnolia Story and Capital Gaines in 2017 and both books inspired me to dream big. No, I’m not planning to flip houses, but I do plan to work with Tom on some pretty cool endeavors over the next few years. Stay tuned!
What goals did you set for 2018!?
If you’re hoping to save money, make sure to sign up for our Beautiful Budget Challenge. It’s a year of actionable items to help you save money in 2018. Sign up here.
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