I use eating out for three main things:
3) financial security
We eat out to celebrate anything from getting a little return from our insurance to getting our blog in the top million. We eat out to celebrate with friends, family, or just us.
I get the desire to eat out to reward myself for various things, and most of the time when I ask, Pace consents. We usually go to my favorite places when this is the case, so it feels very rewarding indeed.
When I was little, my family went out to eat weekly or more, even after my parents got divorced. When I was out on my own, I often couldn’t afford to eat out. Then, when Pace and I got married, our financial situation improved drastically, and we started eating out a lot. This ingrained in me that financial security equals eating out a lot.
A few months ago, I started eating vastly healthier and far less in portions. This has led to internal dissonance – wanting to eat out for my three reasons, but not wanting to eat poorly or overeat. Even in Austin, it’s difficult to find places to eat that fit my strange food habits. And then, as our grocery bill climbs (healthy food is more expensive because that makes sense (sarcasm)), eating out becomes less and less attractive to our budget as well… but the three needs haven’t magically gone away for me.
Today, Megan and I were talking about this. She said she used to have the exact same three things, and she solved it brilliantly, and I will now regale you with the solutions.
3) financial security
1) Celebrating can be done at home! We can celebrate by inviting friends over and cooking together – someone can bring something interesting to drink, someone can bring dessert, and we can make a meal to share. Sharing food with friends does not have to be done in a restaurant! In fact, I imagine that sharing food prepared by myself with friends would be even more rewarding and celebratory than sharing food in an outside atmosphere.
Oh! In fact, we can even celebrate without inviting friends over! We could have special meals we rarely have, light some candles, take time to discuss our celebratory intent, and really make it feel special and different!
2) Rewarding myself by eating food that actually makes me feel sick seems counter-productive. Megan suggested finding something I really enjoy that’s either a little too expensive or a little too sweet for regular consumption, and get that when I feel I’ve done something to deserve a reward. I think this is fucking brilliant.
3) As I mentioned, buying healthier food does wind up being more expensive. Why not take that expensive eating out and turn it into those healthier groceries? Having financial security provides us with good, healthy food that makes us feel good, food we want to eat and enjoy eating!
I am really looking forward to implementing these awesome ideas. We’ve already burned through our food budget for September, but starting October 1st, we’re going cold turkey (with three exceptions). We’re going to try eating in for 30 days, implement all the above ideas, and see how it goes!
I’m really excited about it!