Under Eating as a Result of Budgeting
About six months ago, before I graduated from college, I shared some of my tips for eating well on a budget. Flash forward to now, when I have actually had a tad of “real world” experience with making a living and creating a corresponding budget. Turns out I have been under eating because I have been trying to stick to my budget so strongly.
And this is exactly what I said not to do in that original post: “I believe budgeting is really important, especially with how expensive everything seems to be these days. That being said, don’t deprive yourself.”
I’m really great at taking my own advice.
Now, none of this is to say that the tips I provided in that original article don’t work- in fact, I don’t even want to think about how much my food would cost if I wasn’t following these tips!- rather that some things are unpredictable: prices, your cravings and interests, and even your grocery stores are always changing.
For about three months- the first three months living on my own, that is- I was always hungry. I was constantly snacking at work, snacking at home. Only on weekends when I ate out did I feel satisfied. You would think I would have put two and two together, but no- I thought maybe it was a weird phase and I would have my appetite back to normal in no time.
Well, that didn’t happen. I began to realize that my protein intake was definitely not big enough- and because protein (at least the forms of protein I can consume) is the most expensive part of my diet, I kind of ignored these signals… which is horrible, but also understandable in my opinion, because saving money is really important.
I went on under eating for a while until I talked to my parents and came to my senses. I remembered what I said up above: that deprivation is never okay. For someone with a history with food like mine, I think budgeting has to be lenient when it comes to food. I think we have to try our best to listen to our cravings and needs, even if it means spending a bit more money. Since I started my job five months ago, I have redone my budget to include more money for groceries. This isn’t for me to spend randomly or superfluously, rather calculated. It is to ensure that I am satisfied and filled, that I am getting the nourishment I need.
Where did this “extra” money come from? Not only did I re arrange my budget, taking a bit here and there out from categories like long term savings, travel, and “fun” activities, but I also picked up a really simple side gig that will take no time at all, but allows me to bring in just the amount of income I need to make sure I am whole.
I’m happy to report that I am now eating more again- even if I don’t know what the heck to eat at times (a different story for another time)- and therefore feel better overall. But all of this is to say that healthy eating and eating in general can get really tricky when on a budget. However, I think if you get creative (whether that means taking on a side gig, re arranging a budget, discover new foods, etc.) and follow some money-saving practices, you can definitely make it work.
Have you ever had difficulty following a budget? Why? How did you overcome that?