What do you love? What makes you happy? What can you do without?
These are questions I have been asking myself lately. I have been looking into my budget and where I stand in paying back my $13,000 in loans, while trying to save money but also living life to the fullest. I crunched some numbers and I did so more critically than I ever had before.
I love eating out and enjoying good company. A nice glass of wine and dessert! I love going to the market and buying fresh and local products and produce. I love to make new recipes at home and having people over for dinner. Edmonton has such a fantastic food scene that I am so proud to promote.
I also take two dance classes and have a gym membership. I am in the process in investing in a good bike. I have also taken a few Bikram yoga classes with my mom and really love the way it makes me feel.
That being said, I do need to "put myself first" financially.
What does this mean? This means setting a stricter budget and not indulging in the ways that I have. Because if I overindulge in one place, I lose out in something else I enjoy. I don't want to give up my second dance class, or my monthly dinner with my foodie friends. And I won't- I just need to be smarter about it!
My monthly eating out budget will now be $100. No exceptions. In the past month, my eating out budget has been all over the place. One month it was$ 30 bucks, another it was almost $200. And while I can pretend it evens out, it doesn't allow for me to save every month.
I am going to start not only documenting what I eat, but how much it cost me- whether its at a restaurant or an at home recipe. Its so easy to get caught up in the experience and your ideals (eating local and organic) but if I don't make sure I am financially secure, what does it matter?
I am still going to eat foods I enjoy- make no mistake about it. This leads into a principle I have been trying with my relationship with food: You can have it all, just not all at once. So that is what I am going to do- have it all, but not all at once.
I hope that through this experience, I can present a unique and realistic perspective on how you can live enjoying foods you love, making new and interesting foods and experiencing life to the fullest. I will always put my social experiences above food. For example, I would cut eating out at restaurants before I would ever give up dance. But I think that with some more strategic planning, a little bit more home cooking, and being aware of what I really want versus what I think I want, will allow me to maintain everything I love about my life.