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It seems like it’s everyone’s guilty pleasure. And if you’re a foodie then you know just how easy it is to eat through your whole paycheck!
Seriously, I would always come over budget because I couldn’t resist the urge to pull into a drive-thru.
Are you feeling the same way?
Here’s how to stop spending so much money on fast food!
ADD UP HOW MUCH YOU’RE SPENDING PER MONTH
Yep, this is a good ol shame yourself into taking action tip.
And once you calculate just how much you’re actually spending it’s going to make you want to vomit!
I remember doing this in the beginning stages of my debt-free journey and discovered that I was spending $400/mo on fast food. What?!!!!
And what’s crazy is that my paychecks were only like $530 at that time so I was like, girl really?
Calculating your current total means you can’t hide from the issue anymore. That amount is going to make you so uncomfortable that you have no choice but to fix the issue.
PLAN YOUR MEALS
Knowing exactly what you’re eating in advance helps to cut back on randomly ending up in the drive-thru because you were too hungry to figure out what to cook.
I knew that if I had a whole weeks’ worth of meals planned out then there was really no excuse to not eat at home.
Meal planning is also a great way to gain more control over the price of your groceries. This is because you know the exact ingredients you will need for each recipe.
If something requires a high-dollar steak that’s half your budget then chances are you need to find something a bit more frugal.
Not too creative when it comes to cooking? Me neither.
Instead of trying to take on a whole month, start with a few days’ worth of planned meals. Doing this helps prevent buying groceries that go unused and gets you into the groove of sticking to your meal plan.
Be sure to write down what you will eat for
- Snacks in-between.
Once you go through all of your meals, go back and plan for the next few days.
Related reading: How to Save Money on Groceries – 13 Tips to Cut Your Grocery Budget!
SCHEDULE EAT-OUT DAYS!
If the thought of cutting out all fast food outings cold turkey sends you into distress, try setting designated days to eat out.
This way, you get the best of both worlds because you’re saving money while getting your fast food fix each week.
When trying to stop spending money on fast food I learned early that I’m just not that person who can stop something at the drop of a hat.
Every previous attempt I made to curb my eating-out habits failed because I was going from one extreme to the next.
With this in mind, I knew that I had to get creative, and setting specific days to eat out proved to be a happy medium.
Instead of feeling guilty when I dined out, I felt rewarded because I developed a plan and stuck with it.
Not sure which days to schedule? If you’re a Monday-Friday worker, setting Friday as your ‘eat out day’ can help kick-start your weekend and serve as a high-five for surviving the workweek.
If you’re out and about on the weekends, consider making Saturday or Sunday your eat-out days since you’re more prone to eat out those days anyway.
USE A ZERO-BASED BUDGET
To sum it up, a zero-based budget is when you get your spendable income down to $0. It gives you the power to assign every single dollar a specific job, thus reducing the chance of you overspending.
Let’s say you have $400 remaining after you subtract your expenses from your income. Instead of just leaving the balance as is, you would revisit each budget category and begin adding funds until you get to $0.
This budgeting method ensures that I am not eating through money that belongs elsewhere. If I’ve allotted only $30 to eating out then once that is gone there’s no more fast food runs for me!
EAT A SNACK BEFORE LEAVING HOME!
Have you ever heard that saying, “A hungry stomach has no ears?” I, for one, can vouch for that!
When you’re hungry, your focus is solely on the melodies that your stomach is singing. All of your budget talks go out the window and suddenly a $15 combo meal doesn’t sound that pricey.
I find that when I leave home slightly hungry I’m soon at odds with myself. Part of me wants to finish running my errands without getting food and the other part of me just wants to go grab a bite to eat.
Ultimately, the hungry part of me wins.
Before I go out, I make sure to grab a snack, such as a banana, to keep me focused on the task at hand versus pulling into the nearest drive-thru.
Working to stop spending money on fast food may not be a quick process, but using these tips is sure to make the transition a lot less painful!
It’s important to incorporate your behavior into your budget, otherwise, you risk blowing it. Therefore, add in an amount you can comfortably afford for eating out.