• Zach

Munchies in May: Save Money Through Food!

Updated: Feb 22, 2019

You Know You Want Me!

How much money can I save by not ordering delivery food? How much can YOU save? Let's use the month of May to put forward an experiment: how much can I save by cooking for a month?

Like many people, I'm totally inspired by the writing of Mr. Money Mustache. Not only does he outline a way of living that is optimized for happiness, it's one that could very realistically save the planet. It's sort of an elaboration on "Live simply so that others may simply live" idea, with a bunch of Stoicism and Buddhism thrown in for philosophical credibility. He builds his own houses, bikes everywhere, stays at home with his young son, and just generally excels at "badassitude" (his word, not mine). Whenever I read his blog, which is frequently, I just feel like I should be more like him.

But I'm not. I'm a soft, pudgy creature of convenience. I drive to work every day. I don't build any houses. I don't even really exercise. These are all cardinal sins in the Mustache world. For now, I look up at the heights of Mustache Mountain and tremble.

Instead of good habits, I order food. I watch too much TV. I have a cleaning service that comes DAILY! I send my clothes out to be ironed, even though I know perfectly well how to iron... UGH. I've wrapped myself in a cocoon of velvety softness. It's so comfy in my nest! Luxury is a drug, and I'm hooked.

But I want to change! I need to change! And the stars are aligning this month to help me out. A good chunk of May will be Ramadan here in the UAE, and as a teacher, that means we get out of work at 1:00. If I can't take the time to cook dinner when I get out of work at 1:00, I'll never do it. And here's the thing. I know I can do it. I've cooked for myself for years at a time, especially when I lived in rural China, and two years ago when I lived in Nashville. I LIKE cooking, for god's sake!

I let this side of Dubai pretty much control me!

In Dubai, though... In Dubai it's just so easy. They have literally hundreds of restaurants you can order from just using an app on your phone. It's already connected to your debit or credit card, so the whole thing is fast, painless, and too easy. It's also usually just me, and I don't find ordering for 1 to be a problem in terms of my daily budget. So, like most people, I go the path of least resistance. And it adds up. In 2018 so far I've spent over $2500 on ordering out or going out to restaurants, and it's not even May! Extrapolating from there, I'm on track to spend $7500, which compounded for the next 15 years would be well over $23,000, per year (ok, the math's a little more complicated, but it's a LOT!)!

So, intrepid readers, I'm going to do it, I'm taking the plunge, I'm getting off my butt, going to the supermarket, and cooking. To not go too extreme, I'll give myself 4 times to go out to restaurants. Once a week seems fair. I know my grocery bills will go up, but right now they're around $100 a month, so going up will be ok, so long as my Eating Out budget goes down.

Mostly, I'm just trying to save money by being a creator instead of a consumer. I'll talk more about that in a future post, but basically, when you create things, you save money, and even earn it, whereas when you're just consuming the products of others, you lose money.

I'll let you know how the experiment goes, if I have the willpower to be successful or not. Maybe you can do the same! If you've done similar experiments, or just call this "living a normal life" feel free to chime in on the comments, and as always, join the blog for regular updates!

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