This blog entry will be a bit different than what I might normally post. I have never been a model of physical fitness, so my wife and I have been working to change that. We work out several days a week at a fitness boot camp run by my cousin’s son. In my line of work, we are often teach clients how to spend their money more wisely and I wanted to see if we could combine the ideas of becoming more disciplined in our finances, health and nutrition.
The Financial Part
I picked this up from a local radio host as a psychological way to save money without necessarily missing it. On the first day of the month, transfer $1 to a savings account or a Paypal account. On Day 2, transfer $2. On Day 10, transfer $10 and so forth. By starting off small, the theory is that you won’t miss the money and will be used to the transfer by the last day of the month. If I do this correctly, I will have $465 saved up by the end of September. The money might be used towards a vacation, car repairs or some other need.
The Physical Part
We already have a regular workout schedule, so the physical fitness part of this challenge is actually focused on healthy eating choices that can also help your budget. In other words, no fast food.
So what exactly is fast food? One definition of fast food in Websters Dictionary is food that is “designed for ready availability, use, or consumption and with little consideration given to quality or significance”. Ouch. Not particularly helpful though. So here are some of my basic rules for this challenge. If the establishment has a drive thru, it is probably fast food. If you to take it home to eat and you can buy fries or a drink to go, it is probably fast food. If they use the term HOT-N-READY® to described the product, it is probably fast food. If you can buy it from a place that is open 24 hours a day or a place that offers free refills, it is probably fast food. If you are tired after work and want to pick up something on the way home, it is probably fast food.
There are exceptions to the rules. If you’ve had a long week and want to go out to a nice dinner, do so if your budget permits. If your local supermarket has a “chicken meal deal” like this one, that doesn’t count as fast food. It is reasonably healthy and a lot cheaper than McDonald’s to feed a family of 4. And lunch at the Costco food court doesn’t count either. I can save 20 cents a gallon on gas and buy a quarter pound hot dog and a soda for $1.50. My hope is to prove that cutting out fast food will prove that we can eat better for less money.
By the end of the month, we should be eating better and saving money. Maybe it will work and maybe it won’t. Sometimes the journey is more important that the destination and we will share what we learn.
Image credit: SteFou!