A little bit of backstory to set the stage. Ellie and I were tipped off to a powerful budgeting tool called YNAB (You Need a Budget) by our friend Justin back in 2014. To simplify how it works, it is basically like using the envelop budgeting system, where every dollar earned is put into an envelop for a particular purpose. One for car payments, one for groceries, one for utilities, etc. Instead of physically doing this and having hundreds of dollars lying around the house, YNAB is a virtual envelop system. The one tricky thing with this system is that you kind of need to know what exactly you need an envelop for, and how much to put in it. After taking a bit of time at the New Year to look at where our money goes, I realized that the envelop for fast food bagels and coffee was being drastically underestimated in comparison to my expanding appetite and waistline.

2018 Expenditures on Things Deemed “Coffee Shop”

Now, I’m not suggesting that we cut out all coffee, and god forbid cut out bagels, but I absolutely needed this reality check. I didn’t appreciate just how much money I was spending and, arguably worse, extra calories I was consuming over the course of a year by stopping all too frequently for a coffee and an extra bite to eat. Sure, we did get bagels on January 1st, because as everyone in my family knows, it is Ellie’s and my favorite hangover cure . . . seriously, desperate times call for desperate measures. Two bagels.

The real take-home point I want to make is that if I am going to actually hit my goal of getting back into tip-top shape, I need to be a bit more mindful of the choices I am making. From a calorie standpoint alone, cutting out the garbage pick-me-ups that I consume out of pure habit will be a huge push in the right direction. Financially, even a budget of $50.00 a month on coffee shops should be more than adequate (which is what I had previously budgeted for). That would cut the amount we spend by more than half, which is a huge amount of money to save.

This year I want to be more mindful of this kind of stuff. Of the things in life that I can control and take responsibility for, stopping at Tim Hortons less frequently should be an the easier one to get a handle on.