YNAB BLOG

Contentment Saves Money

 

contentment, budgeting, food, groceries

So let me just come out and say it…I love food. I love cooking and baking. I love great ingredients. I eat too much pasta and rice, and I eat for taste more than hunger. There. Now you know.

Contentment with food doesn’t come easy for me; I always want more.

I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately because I’m trying (as Erin is) to lower my grocery budget. And the thought occurred to me that when I’m actually eating food, I don’t consider it as money spent. Nor am I practicing contentment with the actual number of calories that I need in a day.

I’m learning for myself that being discontent with food (and many other things) actually costs real money and contentment saves money.

But contentment is a virtue that I have a hard time practicing (as I’m sure many of you can relate). We strive for more and more because we think it’ll make us happier than we were before when we had less.

…one more cookie.

…a larger wardrobe.

…nicer furniture.

…a kitchen remodel.

…a fancier car.

On a larger level, my husband recently blogged about the “what then” of achieved goals and how contentment is only achievable by being at peace when goals are achieved. His post leads you to ask, “Are your goals leading you to contentment and peace or just more dissatisfaction? Is there a continual need for more?”

On a smaller scale, back to my little food issue, when I go into the kitchen and scarf down some fresh-baked bread with melted butter and farmers market jam (when I’ve just eaten lunch and am not hungry) I’m not really practicing contentment with my food choices. And I’m wasting real money!

My new goal, therefore, is to only eat the number of calories that I need per day, and I’m hoping to find contentment and peace in my needs being met and not being anxious for more. I’ll be honest; that’s not an overnight journey, and I’m not really looking forward to it.

But contentment is a practice – one day at a time.

Are any of you finding that discontentment in some area is costing you? 

14 Responses to “Contentment Saves Money”

  1. gnutix

    I would strongly advice you to not start counting (or even worse, restricting) your calories per day. It would be far better to really start listening to your body again and eat when you actually *feel* physical hunger, not just when it’s launch time (like everybody at work go to eat) or when your mind crave some food. My two cents ! :)

    • annie

      I agree! I find it difficult as the primary chef in the house to do that with dinner, but it is definitely something that’s been on my radar. Thanks for the reminder.

    • michaelh

      Yeah there is a mysterious relationship between restriction and overindulgence. I think the key is moderation and mindfulness. The mystery for me is how to apply this to food. It’s so easy to plan it out and pat yourself on the back about how much better you are than everyone, only to find yourself having a Wendy’s frosty just hours later.

  2. Michelle

    I totally agree with you. I LOVE my carbohydrates, and sadly eat more than I should. I also find it EASIER to eat carbs because they tend to be cheaper and have coupons at the grocery store. However, in the end, if I cooked healthier and watched our calories, I believe we could actually cut our grocery bill. To that end, my daughter and I are finding joy in our first vegetable garden. Here’s hoping that will bring down out grocery bill and introduce some healthier eating.
    Thanks for the wonderful blog.

      • Michelle

        Annie, I got paid today, so I wrote up a menu plan to get us through until next payday. I set up my grocery budget to, hopefully, reflect how much we should spend tomorrow at the store. Spent time checking into what we already have on hand, then pulled as many coupons as I could find for the rest. Do not intend to stray from the list. Wish me luck. ;-)

  3. Lisa Terrones

    I agree with contentment! I’m not content with how my budget is, I basically have almost $0 to save. it’s bought many problems to my marriage. I’m fairly new to YNAB, still trying to figure out how to make the best of the software/app. I find that I spend too much money on miscellaneous things. I’m on such a strict budget and my goal is to pay off my credit cards. I’ve done things here and there to make the load easier, but at the end, I’m not content. I always have something to spend money on, I guess I need to plan better for those rainy days. Good thing though, I’m finally calculating how much I spend on personal needs, hopefully it will help me budget. I’m not buying too many ingredients to cook, but I do buy many things on the side that I didn’t expect.

    • annie

      Hang in there, Lisa. You’ll find a budget restrictive at first, but then you’ll find peace in the safety of it.

  4. Karen J

    I second what gnutix said… also (this’ll help both spend less *and* eat better) using fewer processed or prepared foods and more fresh, whole (and organic if possible) ingredients provides more real nutrition, and will help reduce the cravings. The body gets more of what it really needs, so I’ve been eating less overall that way!

    Bon Apetit! ;)

    • annie

      I agree, Karen. I’m actually pretty decent at that (making things from scratch and whatnot). I think I just like my cooking a little too much. Haha. I’ve been working on contentment with less since I wrote this, though, and it’s a lot easier to be aware of it now.

    • Minnie

      Organic fruits and vegetables aren’t any healthier than conventionally grown produce. I’d just buy what looks freshest. That way you are less likely to have to throw it away.

  5. Karen J

    Thanks for pointing to Michael’s blog, too, Annie! Great stuff he’s writing over there.

  6. fuel

    I third the forgetting about the calorie counting in favor of listen to your body votes. It’s a hard to eat they way we should in a society with restaurants everywhere and packages convenience foods take up most of the real estate in the grocery store. But clean, whole foods and not boxes of this or that is the way to go.

    My wife and I have cut out as much processed foods as possible and we feel much better for it and actually eat less. It does take some time to get used to, but I really believe it is the way to go. The interesting thing is now that we only buy meat and veggies for the most part, we actually spend a little less on groceries. We still spend a lot (Whole Foods and all), but it’s for food and we need food to live.

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