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Profits from Brown Bagging It

Since Juannie and I started South Beach on April 13th, I have been bringing my lunch to work almost every day. Brown bagging has always been a challenge for me. One issue is that I am not organized enough in the morning to pack a lunch. Another issue is that I have a severe phobia about reheating things in a community microwave. My phobia has been exacerbated by the awful smells that regularly emanate from the kitchen on my floor as people heat up some extremely stenchy stuff at lunch time. (Cooked fish never smells good to me but it's especially wretched while being warmed in the microwave. And someone on my floor eats fish a lot. Bleh!)

I knew, though, that if our dieting efforts were going to be successful I would have to get more organized and find things to eat that would not often require microwaving. Juannie has been a very big help. On days that he does not go to work early, he usually puts lunch together for me and he has found some decent South Beach brand meals that do not need to be heated up.

On the days I do have to heat my lunch, I do it very early before the stinky food people have a chance to foul the microwaves. I've learned that if it's a meal I really like such as chicken stir fry or Venezualan beef, then I am more apt to suck it up. But I will admit that I have brought a couple of lunches home because people wreaked havoc in the kitchen very early and the smell freaked me out. I opted for salad bar on those days.

Another result of this new habit is that some days I wind up eating by myself because everyone is going out for lunch. On these days I've gotten into the routine of reading a bunch of blogs about saving and investing so I can find ways to make the most of this money that we're not spending on eating out.

Since I started reading these blogs, I've taken a hard look at our assets versus liabilities (which was not as scary as I thought it would be) and put in place a plan to pay off our credit card debt in a little less than two years. I am currently working on organizing all of our financial data such as account numbers, log-ins and passwords to all of our accounts, balance info, etc. in a binder so we can find info quickly plus I'm setting up a new budget for us using a spreadsheet I found at one of the sites.

So after two months of bringing my lunch, I have lost twenty-three pounds, saved a lot of money and I am learning a lot about personal finance. All of this makes me very happy.

Check out the links to some of the websites I've found behind the cut...

Get Rich Slowly. A very well-written and thoughtful blog by a guy who's not a financial guru but is passing on what he learns as he gets his financial house in order.

Massive Personal Finance Resource List A hugely helpful list of financial links of all kinds. The blog is interesting, too. Snagged this from Get Rich Slowly.

Wise Bread. A personal finance and frugal living guide with several different contributors who talk about money issues from a very unstodgy perspective. Check out this article about resisting impulse beauty purchases when you are feeling frumpy.

Mapgirl's Fiscal Challenge. I like that she gives actual dollar amounts to show how she's achieving her goals plus lots of tidbits and articles about money-related topics.

Double Income No Kids. I like this one because it mirrors our financial situation and also offers tips that everyone can use.



( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 15th, 2007 07:52 pm (UTC)
My husband and I have also been doing the south beach diet. I've been loving it. It's amazing how horrible bad for you food tastes after you've accustomed yourself to healthy food. I can't eat doughnuts anymore without really regretting it. :)
Have you found the same?
My husband has lost so much weight (35 pounds) that his boss sent him to the doctor for a physical to make sure nothing was wrong. *rolls eyes* Heaven forbid men get in shape.
Jun. 15th, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC)
Well, I have to admit that I did eat two chicken soft tacos from Taco Bell a few weeks after we started and they still tasted pretty darn yummy at that time. But overall I am really surprised at how little I miss fast food and junk food. After the first few weeks I found that I occasionally crave tortillas, crackers and pasta but that's really it. Thankfully cheese is allowed so that helps me. And I love nuts.

Juannie has lost around 35 pounds, too. My endocrinologist told me that he's found that men lose weight much faster on the low-carb diets so not to get discouraged by the fact that my husband was losing more weight.
Jun. 15th, 2007 08:08 pm (UTC)
Congrats on the weight loss and money saving!

I've always brown bagged it - people have no idea how eating out, however humbly, adds up to quite a bit of bling.

I never use a microwave - hate them. I'd particularly hate a stinkified one. I also dislike community kettles because no one ever empties out the water and after a holiday there can be mold in there

Which does add an extra zing to one's Jasmine tea...

May I suggest the bento lunch community?
and the Poor Skills community?
They're both filled with pretty nice people...
Jun. 15th, 2007 08:23 pm (UTC)
Thanks! It's amazing how fast the money adds up. I used to brown bag it in our earlier days together. I'm ashamed that I got out of the habit and ate out for so long wasting all that money.

Thanks for the suggestions. I will certainly check them out!
Jun. 15th, 2007 08:30 pm (UTC)
You know I'm working on this too, but with marginal results. Because despite a refrigerator full of cold cuts and mind full of good intentions, I keep going out to lunch at work. :(
Jun. 15th, 2007 08:47 pm (UTC)
Re: Awesome!
Seeing the cash in my wallet keep accumulating as I went longer and longer not eating out helped me realize how much money I'd been spending. After only two weeks, I had almost $100 in my wallet because Juannie kept giving me cash not realizing that I didn't need it. I didn't stop him because it was helping me see things in a very concrete way.
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )


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