Photo by rwhitlock
I don’t know about you, but the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas are a dangerous time for my waistline and my bank account. The holiday spirit tempts me to overspend on entertainment and gifts, and the holiday parties and meals tempt me to eat and eat unhealthy foods.
This has been a weekend of gluttony, and with our trip home for the holidays coming up in a scant 24 days, I’m looking ahead to another week of overeating, overspending, and expensive travel. This year, I want to nip it in the bud. I don’t have the will power to resist on the holidays themselves, but the least I can do is control myself in the weeks in between.
So how are we controlling our diet and spending in the next few weeks?
1. We’re reducing our consumption of meat.
We have a couple steaks and a few chicken breasts in our freezer. We’ve decided to pick up some extra chicken breasts to last us through the month, and then ration our consumption for the next few weeks. This will not only reduce the amount of meat we’re eating and buying — it will also ensure that we’re not leaving a freezer full of meat when we head out of town for Christmas.
2. We’re trying month-long menu planning.
I typically only menu plan on a week by week basis. This month, we’re going to try planning out our meals for the next three weeks in one fell swoop. This will allow us to maximize purchases, ration our meat consumption throughout the month, and clear out the pantry before our trip.
3. We’re cutting our entertainment spending and staying home instead.
With our big trip back to Indiana coming up, we’ve decided a few weekends at home won’t hurt us. This will not only free up some extra money for travel and gifts, but it will reduce the temptation to overeat at a restaurant or splurge on movie theater popcorn.
We’ve cut our usual $50 for entertainment out of the budget. Typically this goes to the occasional movie or meal out. This month we’ll stay home on the weekends, utilize the library, and revisit some movies we haven’t watched in ages.
4. We set a budget of $50 each to shop for each other — and we’re sticking to it.
Both of us were willing to give up receiving gifts from the other, but neither of us wanted to give up the fun of shopping for the other. Finding that perfect gift for the person you love most is so much fun. The trick is to avoid the temptation to go overboard. Last year, we were limited to $50 each, and we had a lot of fun finding small, practical but thoughtful gifts to put under our tree. We decided to maintain the tradition. Nothing big or flashy, just small tokens.
5. We kept our Christmas shopping list short.
It can be so tempting to shop for anyone and everyone in your family this time of year. I firmly reminded myself that the people I love who love me will understand that we’re not in a place financially where we can buy flashy gifts for our extended family. We used an Amazon gift card I received through MyPoints to shop for our nieces and nephews who are 5 and under, and we’re putting together gift baskets for immediate family.
I’ll revisit this topic throughout the month to let you know how I’m doing. I hope you’ll join in, too! The holidays themselves may throw off your financial and fitness goals, but if we can control ourselves for a few weeks in between it might not be so bad!
If you’re planning on joining in, please leave a comment and let me know how you’re cutting back for the next three weeks!