I’ve always enjoyed cooking and whipped up many delicious meals for my family growing up. But once I was on my own, my cooking habits changed. I would cook a meal or two here and there, but as I grew older and my jobs were more stressful, I cooked less and less. Eventually, I got to the point where I didn’t cook AT ALL.

Yes, you read that right. I ate every meal—breakfast, lunch and dinner—at a restaurant.


Not only did this expand my waistline, it ate up a lot of my discretionary income too. But I didn’t care. I lived within my means. I had a 401k, a Roth IRA, stock options and no debt, so who cared how I used my money?

A Mindless Spender Learns A Costly Lesson

Giving myself a pat on my back for obviously being so money savvy, I continued eating my way through my paycheck for years. Now I am older and wiser and a little bit sick to my stomach from all the gluttony and ill-advised spending.

Somehow I had convinced myself that it didn’t matter how much my food costs were as long as I didn’t spend more money than I had in my checking account. And while I am incredibly grateful that I didn’t create debt because of my poor eating habits, I wasn’t making mindful choices either.

Often we shake our heads at those who live beyond their means, hoping some day they learn the joy of being debt-free. But just because you have no debt, doesn’t mean you’re spending your money wisely. I wasn’t and I have proof. $840 worth of proof.

That’s right. I spent approximately $840 a month on food.

$840 is more money than some families spend a month on food.

I am one person.

The Joy of Making Mindful Decisions

While I will always include dining out as a part of my budget because I love it, I cannot foresee a time when I will budget $840 a month to eat out. Sometimes I dream about all the other things I could have done with that money. Even if I had cut that amount in half, which is still a generous amount, I could have done or had things that I couldn’t afford because I spent all my money on food.

I was committed to not going into debt but simply never took the time to make sure I was spending my money wisely.

These days I budget and think through my purchases beforehand. Because food is one of my passions (after all I am food blogger), my food budget is probably going to be higher than average. I’m okay with this because I also don’t allow it to go out of control and prevent me from enjoying other things that matter to me. I spend mindfully and hope you do too.

Shrek Smoothie or Fruity Green Smoothie

healthy snack

I won’t lie—breakfast is my favorite meal. Sausage Egg McMuffin—delicious! Platter-sized pancakes at a Mom and Pop restaurant—pass me the syrup!

It doesn’t matter; I love breakfast!

Now I make my own big, fancy breakfast on the weekends and typically enjoy smoothies during the week.

They only take minutes to make, are good for you and most importantly—are affordable!

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 orange, juiced (I use the pulp but your choice)
  • 1/2 frozen banana, sliced
  • 1-2 cups baby spinach, rinsed
  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup almond milk (I used unsweetened vanilla almond milk)

Directions:

In a blender, add the almond milk and baby spinach. Blend until smooth. Add strawberries, orange juice and banana. Blend until smooth. Makes 1 big smoothie.

Special Notes

I proudly own a wimpy blender, so I need to blend the spinach with the liquid first. If you have a more powerful blender, you can blend everything together at once.

Also, I suggest starting with 1 cup of spinach leaves and increase the amount as you become more comfortable drinking spinach. 🙂 If your kids give you pushback, tell them it’s a Shrek smoothie. They will be more inclined to try it and find it to be sweet and delicious, which I’m guessing is NOT how Shrek tastes.