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Money & Food

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sparechange

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I haven't really bothered to keep track of what I'm spending until now and its mind blowing to realize how much money is thrown down the drain eating out and whatnot. $5 coffee at Starbucks, having coffee or a treat at Tim Hortons, pizza etc. Please note I'm not here to preach about how saving $5 will make you a millionaire in 10 years. Like the bold? hehe

So keeping better track of my fiances, keep in mind I work a minimum wage job in Vancouver (lol!) with a rent of $650 & budget of $300-$400 I feel like I'm spending to much on food, this month I'm going to hit around negative $400 for the month which is around a week of my life slaving the job whilst strictly shopping at the grocery store. Shoutout to IGA!

Just wanted to ask what people on here are spending roughly, is this a leaky faucet I can fix? Also an important thing, I do eat meat products, so that may significantly impact a budget as I'd imagine vegans would be spending alot more.

Lets have a discussion!

And to the people that support families, I don't know how you do it! OMG, shout out to you as well!
 

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GigMistress

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Honestly, it's all what you decide and prioritize. Once upon a time, I fed a family of five on about $75/week. It wasn't necessarily exactly what I would have chosen if budget hadn't been an issue, but I kept fat and prepared foods to a minimum and provided plenty of protein and produce and we always had enough.

When I was making more money and it was just me and my youngest, I prioritized organic foods, fish, low-fat meats like organic chicken breasts and spent at least double that old budget for just the two of us.

During my busiest work era, I ordered dinner delivered nearly every night, and made sure that included a variety of real food, not a steady stream of pizza and burgers. That ran me $200+ per week just for dinner, but was well worth it since the 45 minutes or so it saved me each night was worth far more than the cost of the meal.

I guess the bottom line is that you have competing priorities: time investment, health issues, food preferences, and cost. They can be balanced in just about any way, based on what's most important to you in that era.

Right now, to be honest, it's not something I think about. But, I know from experience that if I had to, I could create a reasonably healthy menu plan for $50 or less/week.
 

Ismails

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I have mostly downsized everything about me. I am now minimalist. I have stopped being fancy for a while.

Keep all receipts in one file something and on particular weekend - go through all of it and see what is happening with you. You will eventually know sooner or later. Keep what you like and eliminate/reduce the unnecessary. It will take a few days which is fine.

Sometimes I drink Bulletproof coffee. I drink it sometimes with Irish butter and coconut oil. It kills hunger at least next 3 to 5 hours depending on stamina and work load of the half day. Apart from that I eat less food which is diet.

This is my own food schedule and it is sometimes hit and miss in my life But I try to follow it in a moderation way & you get the idea.
You can steal the idea for yourself if you want:

Day 1: Chicken
Day 2: Vegetable
Day 3: Fish
Day 4: Detox & Cleanse
Day 5: Shake + OatMeal + Smoothie
Day 6: Fasting - Every Quarter or after a few months something
Day 7: Restaurant

Alternative Option: If you don't like to cook in the kitchen and don't have time to cook in the kitchen.
There are few Meal Plan aka food delivery that comes in handy depending on location and they deliver it in daily/weekly basis and you don't have to worry about making food in the kitchen. Monthly subscription needed to make this happen.
 

Boychamp

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The biggest thing for me, is meal prepping. Most of the time you probably grab something because it's easy, it's convenient, or you don't have something at home already. When you prep the vast majority of your food, you don't default to grabbing something on the go because it's already all done. You don't need to order in food because well, you have a fridge stocked with ready-to-go food. And of course, it DRAMATICALLY reduces how much you spend. I probably spend roughly $150/month on groceries - which if I really wanted to could be less but I also like good food.
 

AgainstAllOdds

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is this a leaky faucet I can fix?
You're not going to like the answer, but the most sensible way to fix this is to make more money.

Let me expand on that thought.

The reason you're eating out is likely because: you prefer eating out to cooking, and because it's convenient.

The reason you don't like eating out is: because it's not "economical". That's probably the only reason.

The change you need to make is for it to become economical.

If eating out was cheaper, then how likely would you be to ever cook considering that you don't like to cook? Extremely unlikely. You'd probably never cook.

So how do you change so that it becomes economical? Simple. Increase the value of your time. If you increase the value of your time, then cooking becomes more expensive than ordering food.

Let's say your time is worth $20/hour. Cooking a quality meal at home will cost you $7 in ingredients. 1 hour in time. So $7 + $27 = $27 total. Meanwhile, you can go out and get the same exact meal for $20 total. Which is cheaper? The $7 home meal? Or $20 going out meal?

You need to push yourself so that your time value goes up. And you need to push your time/income stream to a point where you don't want more work. Once you hit that point, then you'll start being able to "buy" more time by doing something like eating out.
 
OP
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sparechange

sparechange

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You're not going to like the answer, but the most sensible way to fix this is to make more money.

Let me expand on that thought.

The reason you're eating out is likely because: you prefer eating out to cooking, and because it's convenient.

The reason you don't like eating out is: because it's not "economical". That's probably the only reason.

The change you need to make is for it to become economical.

If eating out was cheaper, then how likely would you be to ever cook considering that you don't like to cook? Extremely unlikely. You'd probably never cook.

So how do you change so that it becomes economical? Simple. Increase the value of your time. If you increase the value of your time, then cooking becomes more expensive than ordering food.

Let's say your time is worth $20/hour. Cooking a quality meal at home will cost you $7 in ingredients. 1 hour in time. So $7 + $27 = $27 total. Meanwhile, you can go out and get the same exact meal for $20 total. Which is cheaper? The $7 home meal? Or $20 going out meal?

You need to push yourself so that your time value goes up. And you need to push your time/income stream to a point where you don't want more work. Once you hit that point, then you'll start being able to "buy" more time by doing something like eating out.
Oddly enough I was just having this thought as I walked up the street from my house to get a coffee at Starbucks.

If money was no issue in my life, ideally I'd have a chef with a set salary for the year to make me meals 7 days a week.

Not exactly there right now tho :D
 

Ing

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Another way to see the value:
When I cook at home and my hour is about 70€, the ingredients are 10, its totaly 80.
When I eat out and get the same for 50, ... and when I eat, I upset all the time, because I know, it would be better, when I do it myself,...
Only to show, there are different ways to see at it.

Today noon I ate 2 pretzels while driving and I was happy about it.
In the evening I made noodles with Gorgonzola and was happy about it.

Learn to cook good and fast yourself and it will ad value to your life!
 

Geekour

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What you can do is set one day a week for 1 or 2 hours to meal prep for the whole week and store it in freezer or fridge. That way you're only cooking once a week really.

For the rest of the days you can set whatever budget you have in mind for that going out to eat or networking coffee.

It's hard to meal prep because life isn't always so set in stone and you go to events and network etc. But when you have a general plan anything helps.

Good luck!
 

ShamanKing

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Cook. Meal prep. Make more $.
Most inportantly get away from ppl that eat out on a daily.
 

Bekit

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Just wanted to ask what people on here are spending roughly, is this a leaky faucet I can fix? Also an important thing, I do eat meat products, so that may significantly impact a budget as I'd imagine vegans would be spending alot more.
When I was growing up, my mom succeeded in cooking for us for $1 per person per meal. People were pretty shocked at that. But it would obviously be more now.

Here's some practical notes on how food costs look for me:

Right now, I am spending about $400-500 a month on groceries for me and my husband. We do not eat out. I could get by on less, but I pretty much buy whatever I want at the store with no restrictions at this point. I buy a lot of the same ingredients every time I go to the store, and then I make a lot of different combinations with different sauces so that it tastes different every time. I rarely use recipes. I typically cook a big batch once or twice a week and then we eat that for several days to reduce the amount of food prep I have to do. We eat a lot of rice, chicken, ground beef, tuna, eggs, potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, and carrots. We don't eat any gluten or dairy, so we don't do pasta or bread, though both are pretty cheap. Beans are also cheap, but they don't agree with either of us. We drink water or tea. I occasionally buy a $5 coffee (maybe once a month). I bring leftovers to work, or I make Mason Jar salads for myself. So I never eat out at work.

Here's an entertaining video with some great ideas for how to eat on a very low weekly budget. Gotta love Boris. I was depending on the subtitles and got halfway through the video before I realized he was actually speaking English the whole time. :rofl:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKfmRhfuI8g


Here's another helpful list of the items to buy that will keep your food budget lower:

All that said, I agree 100% with @AgainstAllOdds - any of these tips to scrimp and save are just a stop-gap measure to get you to the point where you are actually MAKING enough money that food doesn't make a noticeable dent in your income. Because yeah - cooking from scratch takes time.

But until you get there, it's a great idea to be as frugal as possible so that you don't go further in the hole. Food is a negotiable expense, not like rent or utilities, which are inflexible. So with a little creativity and intentionality, you can make food stretch a lot longer than you think. You've got this!
 

Vadim26

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@AgainstAllOdds great mindset to have!

What you can do is set one day a week for 1 or 2 hours to meal prep for the whole week and store it in freezer or fridge. That way you're only cooking once a week really.

For the rest of the days you can set whatever budget you have in mind for that going out to eat or networking coffee.

It's hard to meal prep because life isn't always so set in stone and you go to events and network etc. But when you have a general plan anything helps.

Good luck!
This is exactly what I am doing.
Meal-prep once a week for the whole week.

It takes me about 1-2 hours on a single weekend (instead of a day like fir most) to do that. Keep the recipe as simple as possible, get the veggies from pre-made salads, put your fruits in the breakfast.

Tip: keep 3-4 containers of food in the fridge stacked up. Once you take one from the top, take a container from the freezer and put it under the ones left in

For a note, I spend around $400 on food a month and also live in Vancouver. I’d say it’s pretty normal.

OR like I said earlier, find a homestay family that will cook for you. Spend the same money($400) or less and ZERO time cooking. Plenty of options in the area.
 

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sparechange

sparechange

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When I was growing up, my mom succeeded in cooking for us for $1 per person per meal. People were pretty shocked at that. But it would obviously be more now.

Here's some practical notes on how food costs look for me:

Right now, I am spending about $400-500 a month on groceries for me and my husband. We do not eat out. I could get by on less, but I pretty much buy whatever I want at the store with no restrictions at this point. I buy a lot of the same ingredients every time I go to the store, and then I make a lot of different combinations with different sauces so that it tastes different every time. I rarely use recipes. I typically cook a big batch once or twice a week and then we eat that for several days to reduce the amount of food prep I have to do. We eat a lot of rice, chicken, ground beef, tuna, eggs, potatoes, broccoli, cabbage, and carrots. We don't eat any gluten or dairy, so we don't do pasta or bread, though both are pretty cheap. Beans are also cheap, but they don't agree with either of us. We drink water or tea. I occasionally buy a $5 coffee (maybe once a month). I bring leftovers to work, or I make Mason Jar salads for myself. So I never eat out at work.

Here's an entertaining video with some great ideas for how to eat on a very low weekly budget. Gotta love Boris. I was depending on the subtitles and got halfway through the video before I realized he was actually speaking English the whole time. :rofl:

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UKfmRhfuI8g


Here's another helpful list of the items to buy that will keep your food budget lower:

All that said, I agree 100% with @AgainstAllOdds - any of these tips to scrimp and save are just a stop-gap measure to get you to the point where you are actually MAKING enough money that food doesn't make a noticeable dent in your income. Because yeah - cooking from scratch takes time.

But until you get there, it's a great idea to be as frugal as possible so that you don't go further in the hole. Food is a negotiable expense, not like rent or utilities, which are inflexible. So with a little creativity and intentionality, you can make food stretch a lot longer than you think. You've got this!
Errr, 400-500? I am just feeding myself spending that much!! I'm not sure its because Vancouver is just more expensive overall or if I'm shopping wrong.

My last grocery bill was about just under a hundred dollars which will last me around a week & I'm still kind of being ''cheap'' I feel when shopping, a small plastic container of rasberries is about $5 and strawberries are around $6 or $7, and looking at other fresh fruits or vegetables my pocket is kinda screaming no!

Got an idea from that video, good old oatmeal, I'll see what that costs at the store, can't go wrong with jam and bread to.
 
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MattR82

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Vegetables are dirt cheap. Especially if you go to a farmers market and stock up. I don't buy the theory that it's expensive to eat healthy.

Just gotta stop being lazy and put aside half an hour to cook your own food.
 

Xeon

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Milk
Chicken breast
Brocoli
Potatoes
Other cheap whole foods
+
Brown rice - you probably don't eat rice but give this a try; cheap and *filling*, healthier than white rice, resulting in you needing to buy less food. Provides energy throughout the day. Regardless of what people say about carbs, it's infinitely healthier than Tim Hortons / Macs / Starfucks.

Ditch the Starfucks and other food chain stores. Those are expensive as hell.
I never walk into Starfucks unless someone is treating me.
Skip any kind of drinks or liquid except water.
Get the water from the water dispenser / cooler at your nearest community club / library / workplace if they have that.

Get a Google account if you haven't already, and setup a Google Sheets spreadsheet to document what you spent each day. Every one bit. Then, input the formula to total the amount spent per day, and per month. I can set one up for you if you like. Every day, check the sheet several times.

Other than transport and essential food, you should be saving up the rest of the money for your Fastlane biz.
 
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sparechange

sparechange

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@AgainstAllOdds great mindset to have!



This is exactly what I am doing.
Meal-prep once a week for the whole week.

It takes me about 1-2 hours on a single weekend (instead of a day like most) to do that. Keep the recipe as simple as possible, get the veggies from pre-made salads, put your fruits in the breakfast.

Tip: keep 3-4 containers of food in the fridge stacked up. Once you take one from the top, take a container from the freezer and put it under the ones left in

For a note, I spend around $400 on food a month and also live in Vancouver. I’d say it’s pretty normal.

OR like I said earlier, find a homestay family that will cook for you. Spend the same money($400) or less and ZERO time cooking. Plenty of options in the area.
Milk
Chicken breast
Brocoli
Potatoes
Other cheap whole foods
+
Brown rice - you probably don't eat rice but give this a try; cheap and *filling*, healthier than white rice, resulting in you needing to buy less food. Provides energy throughout the day. Regardless of what people say about carbs, it's infinitely healthier than Tim Hortons / Macs / Starfucks.

Ditch the Starfucks and other food chain stores. Those are expensive as hell.
I never walk into Starfucks unless someone is treating me.
Skip any kind of drinks or liquid except water.
Get the water from the water dispenser / cooler at your nearest community club / library / workplace if they have that.

Get a Google account if you haven't already, and setup a Google Sheets spreadsheet to document what you spent each day. Every one bit. Then, input the formula to total the amount spent per day, and per month. I can set one up for you if you like. Every day, check the sheet several times.

Other than transport and essential food, you should be saving up the rest of the money for your Fastlane biz.
hmm ill give spread sheets a go, rice sounds nice, think I saw a big bag that was a few pounds for less than 10 bucks.
 

foodiepersecond

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The $5 Starbucks folks kill me. If you are spending more than $2 on coffee, it's not coffee its glorified sugar milk. Or as Kevin O'Leary loves to say, coffee only costs $0.25 to make at home.

I think everyone has mentioned the same notion that cheap eating is doable. Enjoyable eating is another thing. I think you just need to watch some cooking videos online. It's amazing how $1 spices can drastically change how your food comes out. A bag of potatoes is dirt cheap. Toss that in oil and paprika then throw it in the oven. Get hearty, cheap chicken breasts and pound it out to increase surface area or butterfly it. Part of it is shopping smarter and cooking better.

As far as eating out, my eyes automatically zoom in on all the deals. It never hurts to ask your server how much things cost a la carte. I liked the salad, but I want the salmon from the entree section. Just ask how much it is for just a salmon piece and you'd be surprised how much cheaper it is.

Shopping may vary on the store you go to. Generally, Walmart is cheap; however, certain stores may offer buy 1 get 1 deal in which purchasing 1 item makes it 1/2 the price. Also knowing store layouts and trends help. I like snacking on walnuts. The bulk food section may have them, but they also have some in the baking aisle. Many stores have apps in which you get digital coupons and such.
 

Bekit

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Errr, 400-500? I am just feeding myself spending that much!! I'm not sure its because Vancouver is just more expensive overall or if I'm shopping wrong.

My last grocery bill was about just under a hundred dollars which will last me around a week & I'm still kind of being ''cheap'' I feel when shopping, a small plastic container of rasberries is about $5 and strawberries are around $6 or $7, and looking at other fresh fruits or vegetables my pocket is kinda screaming no!

Got an idea from that video, good old oatmeal, I'll see what that costs at the store, can't go wrong with jam and bread to.
I'm not sure how accurate this is, but here's a cost of living comparison between your area and my area. Looks pretty comparable, although it looks like meat is a fair bit more for you.

Yeah raspberries and strawberries are going to be a splurge, especially at this time of year. I'd stick to apples, oranges, and bananas for fruit unless you're consciously celebrating and buying a special treat.

When you shop, try to think of food in terms of how much nutrition & energy you get for the money.

Raspberries are delicious, but you can eat that $5.99 container in one sitting. So it's essentially like buying a Starbucks coffee.

In contrast, one egg is like... 15 cents. And it'll take you a long way in terms of energy.
 

Dark Water

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The right food is really affordable and healthy as well. Vegetables, eggs, beans, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, chicken... It's all pretty cheap.

A can of low sodium Goya black beans has 7g of protein per serving, 25g for the can. It costs less than a buck. Throw this on top of some brown rice along with a mix of peppers, onions, garlic, broccoli, or other good saute vegetables, and you have yourself a meal. You can get fancy and wrap it up in a taco shell with some shredded cheese and hot sauce or lay some sliced chicken on top for extra protein. Either way, it's extraordinarily cheap and something you can eat multiple times per day.

Smoothies are another one. I start every day with a smoothie. Unsweetened almond milk, 1 scoop of protein powder, tablespoon of flaxseed, tablespoon of fresh peanut butter, little bit of oats, and then a couple strawberries (real cheap if frozen) and maybe half a banana. High powered drink to start your day with usually less than 5g sugar.

Scrambled eggs + sauteed vegetables are another one. The list goes on. 15g protein, 6g sugar Greek Yogurt cups sell for less than a buck.

A coffee at Starbucks costs me less than $2.50. Are you paying more for some kind of frappuccino etc which is less healthy?

You might not have a leaky faucet but I doubt you're eating at peak efficiency in terms of health and cost. Some of the best meals cook themselves with less than 5-10 minutes of preparation, allowing you to focus on other things.

When you eat out, you have to know what to get as well. A small salad from the salad bar at the grocery store costs me less than $3. A 6" turkey and cheese sub, from the grocery store, loaded with vegetables, costs me $3.99. That might go for $8.99 at a sub shop.

I'm a healthy male in my 20s with a focus on the gym so naturally my diet is tilted towards being more protein heavy - but I imagine you can make it work no matter your goals.
 

Get Right

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You need to push yourself so that your time value goes up. And you need to push your time/income stream to a point where you don't want more work.
Can you expand on this? I think there are some great underlying nuggets here.
 

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I can afford to eat out based on delicious food and convenience, but I try to make it a habit to cook at home due to the ability to control my nutrition.

Although I HATE cooking, I come up with ways to cook the most healthy/fulfilling meal as possible with the least amount of time invested.

If you're like me, invest in a slow cooker & air fryer (Set it and forget it!), and shop at a wholesale store (costco, sams club)
Buy vegetables, bread, meat in bulk, and freeze it.

Also, I eat mostly the same meals every time and rotate a few things out to prevent it from getting boring. My cooking is below average, but all I care about is the nutrition I'm consuming. It's why it's a bit more special when I decide to eat out:)
 

AgainstAllOdds

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Can you expand on this? I think there are some great underlying nuggets here.
Sure. To summarize, I was referring to opportunity cost and its relationship to time/freedom - which I believe for most people is the end goal. The goal of maximizing your freedom to live life on your own terms.

I'll break it down into parts.


1. You need to push yourself so that your time value goes up.

You have to increase your "price" in the marketplace so that the value of your time is higher. This is called opportunity cost. If you can make $30 in an hour, but choose instead to watch TV, then you "lost" $30 in earnings. The goal here is to increase that amount. If you can increase it, then that will give you more sensible life options (power).

If your market value is $5, and everything costs $8, then you have no options available to you. If your market value becomes $10 then all options become available.

Now let's say you're making $5 an hour, working 16 hours a day, in an environment where you need $80 a day to survive, working a job that you hate and did not choose.

In this scenario, you have zero freedom. None. If you stop working for one hour, you die. Considering that you need sleep, you can never get out of the rat race. Your level of power is zero.

What you need to do is push yourself towards the opposite end of the spectrum.

On that end, you have billions of dollars, 24 hours in a day, and complete control over your life. You can do anything you want with your day because you have the money and the time power to do so.

Very few people are on either extreme (though more on the lower end where they're struggling to eat).

The goal is to get as close to the second scenario as possible, because as you inch closer to that ideal, you exponentiate in your ability to enjoy life.

In @sparechange 's case, he's currently "stuck in the rat race".

Until he increases how much money he's making, he doesn't have many life options.

Status quo, the only options he has for food is to: 1) Buy food, be broke continuously and hate himself for it; or 2) Make food himself/convince someone to make it for him.

He doesn't have the third option of 3) Buying food and enjoying life.

To get to #3, he has to either increase the amount of money he's making, or lower his costs (aka, increasing his relative time value).

To increase his time value, he should be making investments in himself to increase his value - attaining marketable skills, applying to higher paying jobs, etc.


2. And you need to push your time/income stream to a point where you don't want more work.

Opportunity cost obviously doesn't work simply how I described it. There's a limit on how many hours you can work and want to work. You have to define these limits to understand at which point "money stops being worth it". At that point, money stops being the primary metric for "value", and instead time becomes the primary metric.

Your goal is to push yourself to the point where opportunity cost stops being a consideration since you either can't work more, or don't want to work more. This is the optimal amount of time to work for your personal happiness.

If you've ever hit a point in your life where you said "F*ck it, I don't even want the extra money!" then you know what I'm talking about.

For example, let's say you're a super devoted parent... your pure value in life comes from how much time you spend with your kids, and a secondary consideration is how much money you have to provide them with everything they need and want. Your kids are in school 8 hours a day for 5 days. In this scenario, the optimal time to work is 40 hours. If you work 41 hours, then that 41st hour will come at the cost of spending 1 hour with your kids (aka doing what you love). In this case, the money doesn't matter because it's not a currency that you care about. As long as you have enough money to take care of them, you don't need more money.

You need to find that breaking point.

"This amount of money is not worth it because it takes away time from doing [this thing] that I love."

If that point is 40 hours, then it's worth it to keep pushing until you hit that limit. If your clients are only giving you 30 hours of work, then you need to find more clients so that you have 40 hours of work.

Also, market limits could be physical, or how much the market allows for you to make. Business-wise, the limits are defined by the market size and outside forces.

Basically, after defining the optimal amount of working time, you keep pushing towards that. Money shouldn't come at the cost of your goals.

3. Once you hit that point, then you'll start being able to "buy" more time by doing something like eating out.

If you've satisfied #1 and #2, then at this point you'll have exponentially more options available to you.

Let's say @sparechange followed this thought process.

Right now he's making the minimum wage in Vancouver. I looked it up. That's $13.85 an hour. $2437.60 a month.

His expenses are $2,837.6 a month (since he went $400 in the hole). Unless he wants to make himself a debt slave (that's an option but comes at the cost of future freedom), then he's limited to what his income of $2,437.6 can afford.

That's not much.

If he could make just $400 more a month, then he could be living his current lifestyle without going broke. To get there, he has to increase his income by $2.72 per hour. That's $16.57 an hour.

[In this scenario, he also refuses to work more than 40 hours a week since it comes at the cost of him working on his entrepreneurial venture which is his passion.]

Ok, so back to the $16.57 an hour.

He realizes he needs to get there, so he starts working on skills that will let him get there. He can start lifting weights and become strong enough to be a warehouse hand at $17 an hour. Or he can learn how to be friendly on the phone and get $20 an hour doing customer service. Or he can learn to code and get $30 an hour. These are all options for him to get out of the rat race.

Let's say he learns to code. He's a mediocre coder so he's only making $30 an hour.

Now, he has a lot more options.

Not only can he cover the $16.57 an hour lifestyle from before, but a plethora of other options start to exist for him.

For example, he can be a healthy vegan. This was an option that did not really exist within his parameters when he was making minimal wage. He now has enough money to go for this premium option.

He can shop at Whole Foods and take care of his body.

He can eat ice cream with every meal since he can afford it.

The options become exponential.


In essence: It's all about maximizing your happiness by understanding time and money. If you can manipulate these two variables in the right direction, then you'll be a lot happier. More options = more chances at happiness.
 

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ZF Lee

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The right food is really affordable and healthy as well. Vegetables, eggs, beans, brown rice, whole wheat pasta, chicken... It's all pretty cheap.

A can of low sodium Goya black beans has 7g of protein per serving, 25g for the can. It costs less than a buck. Throw this on top of some brown rice along with a mix of peppers, onions, garlic, broccoli, or other good saute vegetables, and you have yourself a meal. You can get fancy and wrap it up in a taco shell with some shredded cheese and hot sauce or lay some sliced chicken on top for extra protein. Either way, it's extraordinarily cheap and something you can eat multiple times per day.

Smoothies are another one. I start every day with a smoothie. Unsweetened almond milk, 1 scoop of protein powder, tablespoon of flaxseed, tablespoon of fresh peanut butter, little bit of oats, and then a couple strawberries (real cheap if frozen) and maybe half a banana. High powered drink to start your day with usually less than 5g sugar.

Scrambled eggs + sauteed vegetables are another one. The list goes on. 15g protein, 6g sugar Greek Yogurt cups sell for less than a buck.

A coffee at Starbucks costs me less than $2.50. Are you paying more for some kind of frappuccino etc which is less healthy?

You might not have a leaky faucet but I doubt you're eating at peak efficiency in terms of health and cost. Some of the best meals cook themselves with less than 5-10 minutes of preparation, allowing you to focus on other things.

When you eat out, you have to know what to get as well. A small salad from the salad bar at the grocery store costs me less than $3. A 6" turkey and cheese sub, from the grocery store, loaded with vegetables, costs me $3.99. That might go for $8.99 at a sub shop.

I'm a healthy male in my 20s with a focus on the gym so naturally my diet is tilted towards being more protein heavy - but I imagine you can make it work no matter your goals.
Another side to the case...

Even if you try to eat out cheaply, that food out there might not be really clean, and could send you to the toilet or to the doctor.

Ending up with more bills for medicine or supplements (the higher-range ones, instead of regulars like vitamins).

I was that victim who tried to eat out cheaper...and the class of food I got wasn't exactly prime.
In Malaysia here, its usually hawker food or mixed rice...many times its not very well-cooked, or the combo of carbs vs greens is out of whack.

My digestion and stools worsened, so I had to blow my bucks on digestives.

However, switching more to home-cooked meals, and yes, meal prep, led to less expensive and traumatic episodes. But usually I'm happy enough with steamed corn or stew haha.

I'm sure I could have found healthier options out there, but too often, it's often a hit-or-miss.
 

Isaunders

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What you can do is set one day a week for 1 or 2 hours to meal prep for the whole week and store it in freezer or fridge. That way you're only cooking once a week really.

For the rest of the days you can set whatever budget you have in mind for that going out to eat or networking coffee.

It's hard to meal prep because life isn't always so set in stone and you go to events and network etc. But when you have a general plan anything helps.

Good luck!
+1 on this, I set aside a 2 hr block on Sunday and meal prep for the entire week. It's a busy two hours but saves me tons of weekday time and also prevents me from deviating on what I eat.
 

BellaPippin

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I support the meal prep wagon, I do it for my work lunches, and I try to cook my own dinner as much as I can. (I do go out w/my boyfriend once or twice a week, but it's seldomly anything over $30/person). I spend $50 every two weeks just for my self. It's mostly a few types of lean meat, a bunch of veggies, and some pasta for when I'm too lazy. Oh and some whipped cream and a bag of chocolate chips, it has little to no carbs and it takes away the craving for more calorie/sugar dense desserts. I leave the tiramisu cake for when I go out. :p

I'd like to add the budgeting. One of the things that usually derails me is losing track of how much I've spend. It's not that I can't afford that frappuccino, or that I shouldn't treat myself to it, it's more like there is a limited amount of frappuccinos I can buy before I'm swiping without something in the bank to pay it off (I use the CC for the reward points, and i've actually had to switch to the debit card to bring me down to earth for a bit)

So make a list of your monthly income, make a list of your fixed expenses and subtract them. From that figure, pick a ratio/amount to save, because you need an emergency fund/money for opportunities and goals.

The amount left is what you REALLY have to eat out, buy drinks, etc. etc. Don't go over that number, and try to make the income grow so that number and the saving number grows.
 

Geekour

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I'm not sure how accurate this is, but here's a cost of living comparison between your area and my area. Looks pretty comparable, although it looks like meat is a fair bit more for you.

Yeah raspberries and strawberries are going to be a splurge, especially at this time of year. I'd stick to apples, oranges, and bananas for fruit unless you're consciously celebrating and buying a special treat.

When you shop, try to think of food in terms of how much nutrition & energy you get for the money.

Raspberries are delicious, but you can eat that $5.99 container in one sitting. So it's essentially like buying a Starbucks coffee.

In contrast, one egg is like... 15 cents. And it'll take you a long way in terms of energy.
What I do is I buy the off season fruits (or veggies) in the FROZEN section. It is unbelievable how much you can save if you purchase frozen berries.

#healthhack
#iwantmyberries
 

rollerskates

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I reaalllllly hate eating out. There are a lot of foods I can't eat, so I really need to meal prep and cook since I can't afford a chef. If you have no food restrictions (like gluten or dairy or whatnot) then meal prep becomes a lot easier.
Even if you don't want to meal prep, there are things like precooked frozen grilled chicken, and steamable veggies that are super fast to get ready. But I recommend learning to cook and meal prep. I don't do a ton of meal prep but I will cook a huge pork loin or a bunch of chicken at once. Meat is the hardest/longest thing to cook so even if you just cook a bunch of portions of meat ahead, that's a big help.
 

J.F.

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I haven't really bothered to keep track of what I'm spending until now and its mind blowing to realize how much money is thrown down the drain eating out and whatnot. $5 coffee at Starbucks, having coffee or a treat at Tim Hortons, pizza etc. Please note I'm not here to preach about how saving $5 will make you a millionaire in 10 years. Like the bold? hehe

So keeping better track of my fiances, keep in mind I work a minimum wage job in Vancouver (lol!) with a rent of $650 & budget of $300-$400 I feel like I'm spending to much on food, this month I'm going to hit around negative $400 for the month which is around a week of my life slaving the job whilst strictly shopping at the grocery store. Shoutout to IGA!

Just wanted to ask what people on here are spending roughly, is this a leaky faucet I can fix? Also an important thing, I do eat meat products, so that may significantly impact a budget as I'd imagine vegans would be spending alot more.

Lets have a discussion!

And to the people that support families, I don't know how you do it! OMG, shout out to you as well!
Jesus.

You need your brain right now.

Don't starve your brain of nutrition because starving your brain will make you stupid.

Back in the day, my rent was wayy higher than yours and I made way less than you did.

You can buy 10lb bags of uncut chicken at a walmart for $5-$6, you can buy sweet potatoes and rice for cheap. You can buy large cartons of 60 eggs for $9.

You can buy a cheap espresso or coffee maker for around $20-$40 and make your coffee at home.

Like lattes? Brew the espresso, make gallons of chocolate sauce and buy a gallon of milk and drink as much as you want. It'll cost you less than $0.75 per cup.

Back when I was broke as a joke, I refused to give myself "treats". I didn't watch tv, I didn't have cable, I didn'tdrink and I never went out. I reasoned that if I was broke, I had ZERO business giving myself treats.

I ate one meal a day, at night, worked out for an hour a day and worked continuously on my business.

My days consisted of:

Wake-up at 7am: bodyweight exercises and sprints for an hour
8am: homemade coffee and start working on business
3pm: Leave for work, listen to audibooks on way to work.
4pm: Arrive at work
11pm: Leave work, audiobooks on commute home
12am: Work on business
1am: sleep.

7 days a week for 6 months straight I did that. I tripled my income in that time.
I'm not special, anyone can do that too.
 
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sparechange

sparechange

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Tommorow is shopping day, lets see what I can get. I'll make a post later, thanks for the replies everyone
 

Ninjakid

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Go to Superstore first thing in the morning, they have tons of sales.

If you eat mostly chicken, vegetables and rice and don't buy junk food, you can keep the cost of groceries down pretty low.
 
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sparechange

sparechange

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Got some rice for a buck at the dollar store (bunch of these) and popcorn for a dollar, way cheaper than the big name stores although it's a ton of traveling for me to go there so time wise it's not exactly worth it.

Spent $29 bucks on 2 boxes of chicken strips (actually got ripped off by the cashier now that I'm looking at the receipt) It was marked as $9.99, oh well thanks!

And at a different store spent $84 which I'm hoping will last me for the rest of the week.

Hot dogs, bread, strawberry jam, tons of juice that I feel gives me some sort of brain boost, chicken pasta...

bananas, pizza pops, bacon (been craving it for a long time so I caved) eggs & Cliff bars (interesting enough I looked into this company and they rejected a $120 million buyout) worth a read since this is an entrepreneur forum! & a couple of red bulls, also from another time I got carrots that made my stomach a bit uneasy & cucumbers, not really tasty but I guess they're healthy?

$113 total ++ the $10 bucks or something for the rice, cant find my receipt...

@Ninjakid superstore is kinda far for me but i'll go and see if its worth the trip for me next time i go out.
 
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