Sunday, January 18, 2009

Waste Not, Want Not

I went to the grocery store today for the first time in two weeks. When I returned home and began to unpack my groceries, I realized once again that I am incredibly wasteful when it comes to food. Among the items that I bought, several were replacing food items that had gone bad in the fridge before I had the chance to eat them. It was very sad to pour an entire carton of bad milk down the sink this morning when all I really wanted was a bowl of cereal.

I also purchased several items that I already had in the cupboard - I now have two bottles of balsamic vinegar, which I certainly don't go through very fast, and about 8 boxes of instant pudding...a girl can only eat so much pudding.

When it came time to clean out the fridge, there were at least three containers growing mold. I have a bad habit of making a four-serving meal, eating it one night, and then never looking at it again. I hate leftovers. I usually have the best of intentions, but I just cannot eat something over and over again.

Part of the problem is that I am rarely at home, and when I am, I typically don't have time to prepare meals. This means that on the sporadic occasions that I grocery shop or cook, I often buy things that will never be eaten, or will be forgotten and shoved in the back of a cupboard. It also doesn't help that I go through kicks where I plan to cook a lot and purchase a bunch of odd ingredients that never get used.

The other reality is that I am lazy. I don't put time into packing lunches/dinners to take with me to work, which means I then eat out all the time. So not only am I spending money on wasted groceries, I'm spending additional money on fast food and other convenient items. None of which are usually very healthy. Which leads to me getting fat and my bank account getting very skinny.

I am going to push myself to be less wasteful of food. I think it will help if I really push myself to plan ahead for my meals. The reality is that I am not going to have time to cook during the week, so if I do plan to eat home-cooked meals, I am going to have to prepare everything on the weekend. I am also going to need to pay closer attention to my food budget - both grocery, and eating out. If I limit both, it will force me to be more conscious of what I am eating. 

I just hate seeing money go down the drain on perishable items. Time to start eating more and/or buying less.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Rewarded for Running

My employer just might reward me for my running...that is, if I can stick to it.

We have a program where I work that will reimburse 50% of our membership at the sponsored fitness center, if we average at least two workouts per week over a six-month period. Good deal, right?

One of my challenges in the past has been finding the time to work out, since I don't always work typical nine-to-five hours. My goal now will be to take advantage of this program, since my training schedule for the half-marathon will require me to run 4 days a week. If it means earning back some of my money too, that will be a sweet reward at the end.

I get started Monday.


Flying the Expensive Skies

During the holidays, I had the opportunity to see and chat with friends, many of whom live pretty far away from me. The conversation always comes up that we should plan trips to visit each other, "if only it wasn't so expensive to fly."

Sometime last year, I was watching an episode of The Today Show, and they featured a story on the top web sites that can change your life. One of the sites featured was, a site I have come to know and love. is a travel site that searches for flights on most airlines and finds you the cheapest fares for your destination. I have found that it is much easier to use than some of the other travel sites, and I have been able to find fairly affordable flights the last few times I have been booking air travel.

While flights certainly aren't cheap right now, it does help to know that there are sites that will help you navigate your travel. also has sections for hotel and rental car searches, although I've only ever used it for air travel.

I have a few upcoming trips that I'm hoping to take, none of which will be cheap, but hopefully if I can be creative, they will stay affordbale. I would hate to be the girl on vacation who can't enjoy herself because she is constantly worrying about how much she is spending.



Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year! It's resolution the spirit of starting off the year on the right foot, we resolve to make some changes in our lives.

I have never been great about sticking to my resolutions, so this year I'm trying to set smart goals for myself that I can actually achieve. (Maybe putting them in print will assist in reminding me to focus on them.) I'm sticking with two, here they are:

Resolution One: Train for a Half Marathon
This might seem totally crazy, since I am trying to focus on more achievable goals, but I've done my research and this one is possible. With a ten-week set training program (and a few extra weeks to prep), I should be able to get in shape in time for a half marathon in April. I think this is actually more realistic then setting a broad goal like "exercise more" or "lose weight" because there is a set timeline I'm working with. It may require some new running shoes, which counteracts my next goal, but really, it's a safety thing!

Resolution Two: Save an Emergency Fund
While I hope to spend less in general, the one thing that I'm really lacking right now is an emergency fund. Should I run into a financial emergency such as car issues or a big medical expense, I am currently unprepared to cover those needs. With the current economy, that is just not okay. Most financial experts seem to say that an emergency fund should be equal to three to six months of a person's salary. It will take me some time to accumulate that amount, but it's time to get started. This will also require a change in spending habits. Food expenses are going to be the first thing to be cut.

It's time to get started....wish me luck!

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