June challenge: track eating out costs

I’ve mentioned more than once (here and here), that I’m sure my eating out costs are higher than my monthly grocery spend.  It’s the only way I can explain how I spend so little on groceries and I haven’t starved 😉  Actually regular readers would know, every month I set a goal to cook at home two nights a week.  I usually meet this (and I don’t count the ‘cooking at the bf’s’ in that either!)

Whilst thinking of a challenge I considered ‘no eating out’ in June.  It was doomed from the start, with a night away at the Gold Coast.  So I decided I would track it first, and then next month, work on a ‘no eating out’ challenge.

Now I want one! I love a great pepperoni pizza! source:kingstonhouseofpizza.com

Now I want one! I love a great pepperoni pizza!
source:kingstonhouseofpizza.com

So, to start with, this is normal programming, complete with a mini break in there.  We seem to have one mini break out of town every month at the moment – between weddings, work and ‘why not’s.  Let’s hope this week is an outlier in the month (though if every week truly is like this, imagine how much I’ll have saved at the end of July’s challenge?).

Here’s the ‘rules’

  1. I track the total meal and drinks cost (coffees, cocktails etc).  This includes whomever I eat with, usually the bf
  2. I proportion what amount of that is mine (not exactly, but just a rough 50/50 or 30/70).  This is helpful when I eat in a big group (ie with my family) and whilst I don’t/didn’t pay, work out what it might have cost me in real terms.
  3. The BF is aware of the tracking, but neither of us are changing our behaviour just yet.  Basically, business as usual

Week 1 – hold onto your hat’s frugalistas…

9.3% of my (weekly) take home salary covered my own meals out, so far.  Actually, that’s ignoring my family night out, where dad paid.  If I’d paid my way, I’d have spent 12.7%  And if I paid for everything we eaten out as a couple, it’d have been 13.8%.  Oh and don’t you worry about fairness, there’s been hotel costs & cabs in this same week and I’ve paid nothing for those.

Now, let’s hope for a calmer few weeks, and a nicer end of month check in…

For a random aside, as I can’t contain my jubilation!

My current career inspiration source:http://www.generalhonore.com/index.html

My current career inspiration
source:http://www.generalhonore.com/index.html

Career Goals Update

I’ve now met with my internal mentor (got tongues waging in my office, seeing me meeting one on one with a big cheese!).  He was a dynamo and I’m sure it’s going to be a great match.  As a result of both mentors, I’ve had a flurry of activity, including applying for RedR to be on their disaster register. Lucky I got on this promptly, as applications close tomorrow!  Next step will be a phone interview – so close those fingers everyone!  I also asked my manager to review my skills and help me identify some learning opportunities for me, to make the most of my current role whilst we ride out the storm of no jobs and uncertainty in our company.  And I’ve sent three of my less than ideal career episode reports to my external mentor.  Hopefully our next meeting will bring some insights on how I can strengthen those.  I’m walking with a spring in my step, and radiating sunshine with all these little steps toward the career I want!

Thanks readers, you’re really helping me keep accountable and make sure I achieve my goals.

Goals Update – May

Financial

$20k  $26k target by 22 DecOn target (increase of $1,829.61 this month)

Apr 2013: $14,522.79

May 2013: $16,352.40

Generosity target of at least $100 per week:  ahead of annual target

I have decided to just list whether I’ve achieved this for the month, and whether I’m behind or ahead of my annual budgetted ‘generosity’.

Health

Cook at home twice a weekachieved as much as I can remember (week 1 was hazy!)

I’ve started making a soup about weekly, to use leftovers for lunches at work.  This has settled my angst about vegetable intact and means I can be happier eating less balanced dinners which might be the preference of those I dine with 😉  Bolded items were cooked at home

week 1 –

(Mon)
(Tue)
(Wed)
Cheesy Garlic pizza (Thu)
GF pasta in Brisbane (Fri)
Steak out in Brisbane (Sat)
Nachos at Brisbane airport(Sun)

week 2 –
Rice crackers and brownies? (Mon)
Pumpkin & Lentil soup (Tue)
Pizza (Wed)
Leftovers? (Thu)
Spaghetti Carbonara (Fri)
Nachoes and Sliders out (Sat)
Quiche, waldorf salad & spaghetti marinana at parent’s house (Sun)

week 3 –
Vegetable soup (Mon)
Steak and chips – met the BF’s MUM!! (Tue)
Udon Noodles with miso (Wed)
Prawn & scallop pie out (Thu)
Stuffed peppers (Fri)
Ceaser Salad at BF’s (Sat)
Eurovision party (Sun)

week 4 –
Pumpkin Soup (Mon)
Dominos Pizzas (Tue)
Tuna bake (Wed)
Satay chicken and rice at BF’s (Thu)
(Fri)
Italian birthday dinner out (Sat)
Nachos at BF’s (Sun)

Weel 5-
Sweet Potato and Suede soup (Mon)
Chicken with rice noodles (Tue)
Miso with Udon noodles (Wed)

Limit Sugar – totally off this bandwagon

Train for polo – not playing the winter season

Cultural

– 2 films a month: achieved

I saw two DVDs as well as going out to the movies.  I really wanted to see Warm Bodies and so the BF obliged and took me.  I loved it, I loved the subtle humour.  Really pleased I went and saw it.  Whilst it seems a little like a chick flick, I think it’s got enough going for it that others can tolerate it.

I also saw two movies at home, Unthinkable wasn’t something I heard about, when it came out, or since.  It was an American who plants three nuclear bombs in the US.  Probably a little bit of a sensitive issue for Americans, but I enjoyed the film.  It was pretty graphic – they use all the torture methods that are and are not approved.  It certainly makes you ask questions of torture, but also the motivations of the tortured – perhaps they’ve resigned to their fate, and therefore no end of torture will cause them to reveal the information you’re seeking?  The second film was The Hunger Games which I haven’t read, but was interested to see nonetheless.  I think I was actually surprised how into it I got, and I really did want to see ‘what happened in the end’.

Saw Iron Man 3 at the movies, and I’ve not seen the first two, but I still followed what was going on and enjoyed it immensely – obviously enhanced by the La Premiere session, which involved food and alcohol service to your couples chairs, separated from the general public.

– 2 books a month: achieved

First up was Winter Garden which was a great balance between modern day USA and fairytale time (which becomes wartime Russia).  Really well told story, with lots of characters going on a little personal discovery.

Gosh it seems like it’s been a long month, and somehow I managed to get The Paradox of Choice read, though it took forever.  I wrote a very brief review too.

Social

Call/connect with an out of town friend – achieved
In May, I took a weekend back in my former home town, Brisbane, and had a great dinner with a school friend. The other night, I met up with a friend who I met at an overseas conference, who does a similar role to me for a company in Brisbane. I always have the best time catching up with her – we’re so in sync as nerds!

I also spoke to a friend originally from Perth but now in Melbourne – both for her B’day and again she rang me a week later to sort out coming to visit! The coincidence in all this was that I knew it was her birthday and whilst i was listening to a national radio program they read a text message she sent in! She lived in a pretty small town in Western Australia and when they mentioned that, and her name, well it couldn’t have been a bigger coincidence – I pulled over then and there to ring her for her birthday and exclaim her nationwide ‘fame’!

Career

– Certification – 60% done well, 40% still to improve

Of the 16 career episode reports, I’ve written something for every one. There are five that are too short (one, woefully so).  But I’m starting to see that I’m chipping away at this, and it will get done!  I’ve set an ‘end of the year’ target to complete this.  I also need to send three to my non work mentor to review.  I did consider sending the ‘worse’ ones, but then I don’t want to make a bad impression – but it’s best to get help where I most need it!

– Looking for next role – I’m working on it!

Whilst I’ve not actively sort a new role, in the last month I’ve met with my non-work mentor.  We talked about a career plan and he gave me some helpful tips. Mainly, he talked and I took a lot of notes (oh, of course I talked too… don’t worry).  As a result of that chat, I’ve sought out an internal mentor.  Someone in senior management, but not part of my direct reporting structure, which I think it helpful.  He’s also been overseas with our company sending him to NYC, which would be a dream come true for me.  So after going out on a limb with a ‘will you be my mentor’ email, not a day later I have a willing mentor and a date to meet in early June!  Yay!

Goals Update – April

Financial

My backpay came through this week, which now means I’m on a higher salary.  It also means all my savings targets got a generous boost! 😀

$20k target by 22 DecOn target to achieve

Mar 13: $13,003.17 (adjusted from March goals post to include interest of $53.11)

Apr 13: $14,522.79

12 in 2 Adventures: Ahead of target

Start of month $229.76

End of month: $797.56 + $89 paid for knife skills course

Generosity target of at least $100 per week not quite there

(weeks Mon thu Sun – and based on when things were withdrawn from my accounts):
week 1 – $45 + $70 (dad) + 12hrs volunteering (babysitting, flowers, Sunday school)
week 2 – $20 + $80 to the cause spoken about here
week 3 – $20 + 2 hrs volunteering (babysitting/cleaning)
week 4 – $35 + $50 for a swim-a-thon of a colleague

I don’t want to share too much of my 12 in 2 goal to read the bible, but let’s just say I’ve started, and in a year, I should have the whole thing licked.  Why am I bringing it up here?  Well I read about giving, but silently, so only God knows.  Made me question publishing it on the blog.  But then I realised, the blog is helping me do it – in the sense that it reminds me to give to those less fortunate.  What are your thoughts?  Should I just retire this segment from my goals update?  It does feel a little… show-off-ish

Health

Cook at home twice a week: achieved

Bold means I made it myself!  March was a roaring success – and April on average wasn’t too bad.  I had one week where I didn’t hit my target, but given I’d been sick in the stomach and then super busy, I’m not 100% worried.  I’ve seen an increase in eating at home of late, so that’s a bonus.  Most of my meals out seem to be homecooked too – either at a friend’s or my parents.  I still buy lunch 2 days a week – Mondays and on the weekend at least once usually.

Chicken and Leek terrine, thanks to coles.com.au

Chicken and Leek terrine, thanks to coles.com.au

Udon noodles (Thu)
Leek & Chicken Terrain and focaccia (Fri)
Leek & Potato bake (Sat)
Vietnamese noodles with prawns (Sun)

*can you imagine me coming home with EIGHT leeks – it was comical*
week 1 –

Chicken & Leek terrain with leek and potato bake leftovers (Mon)
Rocket salad with beef (Tue)
Apple sauce (sick!) (Wed)
Chicken soup – leftovers (Thu)
Ginger and Lemongrass stir fry (Fri)
Snack food at water polo presentation night (Sat)
Nothing 😦 still sick from WED! (Sun)

week 2 – let’s not talk about some of the nutritional decisions I made this week, shall we?
?? (Mon)
Chocolate cake (Tue)
Pizzas (Wed)
Garlic pizza – inhaled pre concert (Thu)
Sushi – nearly made me sick (Fri)
Wedding (Sat)
Roast chicken at friend’s place (Sun)

week 3 –

Dosa with curried root veges – I used mustard when I couldn’t buy mustard seeds, it works (Mon)
Vegie pasta bake at a friend’s (Tue)
GF pizza(Wed)
Lasange at my parent’s (Thu)
Italian out (Fri)
Coconut buns and chicken dim sum (Sat)
Leftover GF pizza (Sun)

week 4 –

Chickpea Salad (Mon)
Pizza (Tue)
Nachos at BF’s (Wed)
Curry at parents (Thu)
Sushi (Fri)
Roast lamb and potatos at BF’s (Sat)
Chicken Ceaser Salad at BF’s(Sun)

Sugar – out the window!

Train for polo – off season

Cultural

– 2 films a month: achieved

Sunday night in week 1, my darling took me to Identity Thief I felt pretty rotten, which can be evidenced by the fact that the only Malteasers I consumed were those brought to my mouth! That’s unheard of! Funny funny film – even though BF is convinced I don’t like comedy.  I  also Die Hard – Die Another Day.  Gosh I’m good to my bf! Next up, Warm Bodies I think.

–  2 books a monthachieved

Grotesque sort of straddled the months, but definitely in this month was A Tree Grows in Brooklyn which I thoroughly enjoyed – you can read my review.  I tried to get into Blown with limited success (had it on the go for two weeks).  I think picked up The Winter Garden by Laura Hillenbrand, and I’m really enjoying it!

Social

Call/connect with an out of town friend – not achieved

Not going great with this – I did send some messages but really not enough.

Career

– Certificationon target

Seems I missed two of the sixteen competencies when I was writing out the framework, so whilst i said LAST month I only had three to go, I really had five! So now I’ve done two more, I have three to go.  Only four are at the proper length though, so more work is needed

– Looking for next role: making progress

After some scheduling difficulties, I’m had an information interview with a company this week.  I’m not sure I’ll make the change, given it’d mean longer hours and a lower salary, and the only real carrot for me is that I could move to France (or somewhere else, but France is where I’d like to go, and their ‘home’).  Nonetheless, I’ll make sure to look at their job ads monthly just in case.

I also now have a professional mentor, outside my company, thanks to the professional body that I’m doing my certification through.  We meet in early May at an event, so it shall be interesting to see what I learn and how I grow.

12 in 2 list – a time and money plan!

I‘ve decided if I’m every going to get this list done, I need a plan – to save the money, but also to DO the things I’ve listed.  Two on going task (bible reading and half marathon running) are both currently in practice.  As for the other 10, I’ll list them in chronological order.  Sadly one goal has been deleted, but it’s for the best reason!

Activity list Proposed date

Cost

Dinner at Quay Jan 13
Knife skills course May 13

$89

Go on a silent retreat 3-14 July 13

??

Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb Sept 13

$218 – $298

Do Bridge Run (half way to half) 22 Sept 13

$55

Go Jet Skiing Nov 13?

$300/per hour

Learn to Surf Nov 13 – 3 days

$445

Dinner at Aria Jan 14

$420

Read the new testament Mar 14

$0

Run a half marathon May 14 or Sept 14

$120

Plan and prepay funeral Nov 14

$6000

Zorbing Jun 13

$110

+$105 in flights

$1997

You can see the grand total has omitted the funeral prepaying – it’s just such a large chunk… so I have to have $2k raised over 21 months, that’s only $95 a month.  I can surely find that!  I’ll now sling any ‘extra’ cash at the end of the week into an ‘adventures’ fund (remember, I put a set amount away every week towards my $20k goal to refinance my mortgage at the end of this year).  Here’s to getting fun stuff onto the agenda, but still meeting my savings targets!