ballin’ on a budget

Happy Thursday, Swagsters.

I finally made it back to BodyPump this morning! It felt good to hit the weights, and I’m already feeling the work I did!

But let’s just get right to the serious stuff, guys and gals…

I need a budget.

It seems like every month I’m scrambling to get this bill, that bill, rent, etc all paid on time. It makes for an endless cycle of stress. Sometimes I get so stressed out about money that it wakes me up at night and I can’t sleep. I’m currently about 4 days into this cycle right now and let me you tell you…. this swagster needs her sleep. I’m practically non-functional today. I’m so serious about trying to get a good night’s sleep right now that I told Markus I will be sleeping in our extra bedroom tonight and when he gets home from work, just simply leave me be. You know it’s serious now.

At any rate. A big part of why I am having so much trouble sleeping is financial stress. I realize these are kind of just the times we’re all living in, but I also truly feel that I can do something about my circumstances. My job is a blessing and a curse. As a server, I have the ability to realize I need money, pick up a shift and pay a bill with 5 hours of work. Not too shabby. The problem is that I tend to take that for granted and I end up sort of flying by the seat of my pants most months. Since I don’t have a weekly “allowance” in the form of a paycheck, I struggle keeping a structured budget.

But now, this is all going to change. I was inspired by the #surviveon35 challenge I’d been seeing on twitter and through FitFluential. I also remembered a conversation that my coworker and I had a while back about the way that she budgets every month. It helps her afford lots of trips to Fenway, music festivals, etc. Now I’d love to have leisure money but my purpose right now is to SAVE. Markus and I need a new apartment and it’s never going to happen if we aren’t paying attention to our income and spending.

I took the first step yesterday by grocery shopping on a strict budget. Normally I grocery shop and spend about $60 by just haphazardly throwing things into my cart. I figure this isn’t an awful number, but the fact is, I typically end up back at the grocery store 3 or 4 more times throughout the week and usually drop about $15 to $20 each time. Okay well there is just no reason that I should need $140 in groceries for just myself in one week. Especially now that I’ve peeped all the great #surviveon35 ideas.

So this week I figured I could do my shopping on $40. I knew I already had some things around my house that I could use and I set myself to making a menu for the week. I came up with 2 or 3 options for each meal and then I made a grocery list. I put on the list only what I needed and vowed that I would not purchase anything extra.

And… I did it! I not only did it, but I had money left over! I still have about $9 to spend for the week, if I need it!

$9.33 left over!

This small feat inspired me. I can do this. I can budget, I can save and I can stop losing sleep over money. So now I’m going to put myself to actually budgeting the rest of my life, not just my groceries.

This is something I’ve never done before, and I’ll admit, it seems like a challenge. But I’m ready to take it on. In another life I would have just hoped that life would get better, easier, less expensive. However, knowing what I know now, I realize that I simply must take an active role in changing my circumstances. So wish me luck, swagsters. This is how I’ll be spending the rest of my afternoon!

For now, I’m going to leave you with some pictures and links to recipes. I can’t take credit for any of the food I made for this week, I borrowed recipes from all over the internet. As the weeks go on and I get more comfortable and knowledgeable with my budget, I’m positive I’ll branch out and work on some of my own meal ideas.

Breakfasts are going to be largely unchanged. I’ll be switching back and forth between protein pudding and protein oats.

Lunches and dinners will largely be a choice between any of the following (and maybe a few randoms in between):

Baked artichoke falafel over steamed veggies or spinach salad.

Click this link for the falafel recipe. (Note: I didn’t have all purpose flour, so I used almond meal. They still turned out fine but I assume this is why they are cookies and not balls.) 🙂

lentils and quinoa in a lemon-tahini sauce

Make this! It’s so good. Here’s the link. (Note: I’m not a fan of rice, so I used quinoa instead. Totally perfect substitution.)

sweet potato and green bean curry over cauliflower “rice”

Best lunch. Ever. Here’s the link. As for the “rice,” this is just 1/4 head of cauliflower ground up in a food processor. Done.

These 3 recipes alone make up 13 meals! That may sound to you like it’s not a lot of variety, and I’ll certainly work on finding ways to change things up a bit, but for now, this is going to work just fine for me!

What I can say for sure right now, at the beginning of my new adventure, is that I am taking control of my situation instead of wishing it away and hoping for the best. That’s a big realization for me, and I’m proud of myself for that all on it’s own! (Proud! I’m proud of myself!) Being proud of me is probably going to be a game changer. I’m not punishing myself for being bad with my money, I’m recognizing an opportunity to make a change for the better. Those are two totally different approaches to the same situation and we’ve just got to chose the one that leads us to higher swag levels. Am I right or am I right?!

Do you follow a budget? Do you have any tips for me?


3 thoughts on “ballin’ on a budget

  1. I’m so glad you provided the link to how to make that falafel with the artichokes. And I admire you for taking on this challenge, girl! I know that whenever I move out of my home I’m gonna have issues budgeting…right now I’m used to budgeting my money for having way less bills to pay than I will then. It’ll certainly be a time that calls for less restaurants!

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