Tuesday, July 30, 2013

I Call This Success

Today is pay day. On pay day, I allow myself breakfast out. I can afford, as long as I plan for it, to do this.

I get paid once a month, which, now that you know, has probably elicited gasps of "How do you manage?" I've been doing it now for 13.5 years. You learn and you take the consequences if you don't learn. There have been a lot of months in 13.5 years where I didn't plan well and it was "I guess I need to skip either lunch or dinner" or you accept that you will have to take a hit with a late fee because the bank account doesn't have $17 for the sewer bill because you forgot!

Anyway, I conducted an experiment this past month. I didn't publicize it. My twisted brain thought that if I said I'm going to do this in July, I would self-sabotage the attempt. So, now that July is ending, I'm going to toot my horn just a bit.

I'm going on a vacation in August. It's going to be a real, get away from work, vacation. But, in order to do this, to say, "What should I do today? Oh this museum sounds interesting", I have to plan; for gas, for food, for admission fees, for souvenirs. At the end of June, I thought about this and decided the only way I would have the money to do the things I wanted to do on vacation was to set myself a non-paying goal. I would not eat out on my dime for the entire month of July. No Dunkin in the morning when I was really tired and not wanting to get up to make cereal. No Subway when I was too tired to make lunch or to cook the night before so there would be left-overs. None of that. Those are my weaknesses, breakfast and lunch. It's easy to avoid ordering pizza at night, but it's also so very easy to, at 7:20 in the morning, open the fridge and say, "Bah, I don't want to eat leftovers. I'll just go to Subway for lunch." I was going to not do that; all month.

So how did I do? Well, I didn't achieve the goal of complete cold turkey. (Mmmmmm cold turkey and provolone sub from Subway.) On the 23rd, I had a doctor appointment and I just couldn't get out of bed in time to eat cereal and get out the door on time. I stopped at Dunkin. During the month, on the 16th and the 24th, I had to go to the grocery for items I needed. I got a salad off the salad bar.

This is today's salad. I am out of pasta and I want to make pasta for supper tonight. I tend to eat better when I eat off the salad bar at Dominicks. I love color in my salad and no iceberg lettuce so there's romaine and spinach and pea pods and cabbage and red and orange pepper rings and sunflower seeds and dried cherries and shredded cheddar and a tablespoon of poppy seed dressing. Oh and bean sprouts. Love me some bean sprouts. If I get really busy, this will also double as supper, although that means I need to plan for lunch the next day.

Other than this, I did not go anywhere near a fast food restaurant. Pam and I got together for supper on the 11th but we finally used up the Steak 'n Shake gift card I received from April and Perry for Christmas. I had to attend a company function on the 18th but dinner was included with the talk. I was out on a job on the 23rd and 25th and the company picked up lunch on both dates. Beyond that, I went out to eat zero times.

It's about convenience. The convenience of "I'm going to get lunch" removes the need to think about what I eat. I'll just hop over to Subway and get a foot long. Subway is better for me than McDonald's, to be sure, but what I gain in nutrition, I'm losing in funds.

The blood tests requested by Dr. Burandt came up with higher than one would like glucose and triglyceride numbers. I believe it's directly related to my "I'm too tired to cook" mentality. It is so ridiculously easy to just absolve yourself of menu planning and let the industry determine what you eat. I was motivated by the need to have a maximum amount of funding available for vacation. What I've wound up doing is making sure I have fresh fruits and vegetables in the fridge. Cut up broccoli or peppers with dressing available for dipping is a great snack all through the day. Sliced apples and pears are also wonderful to have for snacking, particularly when I'm bored during a work day. It's too easy to have cookies or candy in the desk drawer.

Tonight, I will sit down and pay bills and do the math for the vacation. I have allowed myself my monthly trip to DD. That's it until vacation. First of all, I proved to myself I could do it. Secondly, I made $8 last all month because I wasn't going out twice a week.

I call this success.

Beverage:  Dr Pepper


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