Friday, April 1, 2011

Budgeting and Prioritizing

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.


  1. Good luck! This can be very hard - said from a girl on a strict graduate student budget for 4 years - but rewarding. I hope you feel in control without feeling like you are constantly giving things up! That was always my problem.

  2. such a good idea to document what you spend on food, eating out and in. we definitely spend too much on eating out, but our grocery bill is under control after i started meal planning. now that baby is on the way and we lose half my income in sept, we're going to have to look at a much stricter budget...eating out will probably be the first to go. how i wish that money was unlimited! ha!

    annnnd your 1st picture made me want to go to Coras, and i own that same shirt you are wearing in your 2nd picture :)