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Frugality and the "Free" monster

November 1st, 2009 at 06:47 pm

I was wondering how many of us who are on a budget, sometimes find our willpower waning when we are faced with the four-letter word ....free.

For me, I have to admit, that as a person who often eats the same thing for multiple days, the prospect of a free meal, heck, even free coffee, can titillate the senses a bit too much. In these circumstances, I often find myself perhaps overindulging, or doing a doggie bag, even when doggie bags may not be the norm for the event. Thankfully, my friends are ok with this and they usually know my situation and know how everyone could use a free meal or a break from cooking, and they tend to provide extra Tupperware at events where there is a lot of food.

But, in some cases, partaking in free food may be frowned upon. In some areas, it may be seen as gluttony. So how does one deal with partaking in food and drink that may be completely outside of their budget, without being perceived as such? If red meat isn't in your budget, and you are offered steak, do you ever find it hard to politely resist?

I splurged this weekend and ordered take out for me and my bf. It was a nice treat, but the portion sizes were so small I almost cried when I got the to-go containers. They were full priced, but almost exactly half of what a regular to-go portion would be. The food was good, and I had to try and refrain myself from complaining about the size until the meal had been enjoyed.

I sometimes find that being frugal can have its drawbacks at times. Sometimes, rather than just enjoy something, I find myself calculating how much it is worth, and if I am overspending, rather than just living in the moment. I also find myself not asking my bf to buy things, because I worry that he may be charged too much for it. I need to not think about that aspect, and if I need something, to just politely ask. If he cannot afford it, he will just let me know.

I have started my own spreadsheet of my spending. I even color code what category the purchases were in, and how much I have left in that budget.

My bf will be helping me this month. I just feel anxious at times because he has a large bill to pay this month (totally verified), and so, now there is a bit of an issue. I have said it very plainly to him how much I need, and on what specific dates, so that there can be no confusion. It may sound cold, but the reality is that I have often given in on previous requests, and kept putting off asking for things for months. Now, my budget is tighter and I just do not have that luxury as before. So, in order to prevent misunderstandings, I let him know what is needed, and by what date it is needed. The help that I ask for really just pertains to us and our needs, such as food, toiletries, etc. Nothing fancy. No flatscreen tvs here. Ha! By the time I get a flat screen, there will probably be something new on the market and it will seem like a relic.

I will have to forego my explorations in cooking this month. I just don't have money in my budget to experiment with this or that. My bf has told me he is ok with eating a lot of beans and rice as I told him that may be a big staple in our diets. I am also going to explore the world of lentils, and see how that goes.

I hope everyone had a fun and safe Halloween. Smile

6 Responses to “Frugality and the "Free" monster”

  1. baselle Says:

    I know that temptation of "free", both as "free" and as "tasty, high in that-which-shouldn't-overeat. I'm fairly sure that that is a quick and easy way to increase your pants size. Smile I've been known to a reasonable amount of rice and beans before the event to keep my "free" portion size under control.
    Happy Halloween to you too!

  2. sarah Says:

    Have you heard of angelfood ministeries. They are on the web at angelfoodministeries.com. They are a food buying club with absolutely no income checks or requirements. The food is good and cheap.
    The only drawback is that you have to pay for it up front. They have cut my food bill in half. There signature box (under 30.00) is enough food to feed a family of four for a week including meat and vegies.

  3. thebestmeicanbe Says:

    Thank you for the info, Sarah. Smile I will check them out. I admit I feel weird about using those services, as I used them when I was a kid, and my own budget issues are my own doing. My issues with food are because of poor money management a while ago. I wouldn't want to deprive others of a necessity they need because they just do not have enough, ya know?

  4. sarah Says:

    Actually since angel food is a buying club and not a food pantry you would actually be helping others. The more people who sign up the higher volume they have the lower prices they can get. This works to lower food prices for everybody. They work very hard to attract middle class buyers.

  5. LuxLiving Says:

    Angelfood Ministries is not a community-based service. It is a cooperative of individuals who ban together to buy in bulk to get better food at lower prices.

    You were speaking the other day of beans being 2 cans/$1. Not sure if you have time in your working life, but dry beans come in even cheaper.

  6. thebestmeicanbe Says:

    Thank you Sarah! I checked out the link and I really like their menu options. But they aren't in or near my city. Frown Your link did get me to start looking into food co-ops in my area. Again, many thanks! Smile

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