Stop Eating Your Budget

Are you tired of eating and drinking your money away? Lillian and Will (plus some helpful listeners) share their tips for spending less at restaurants and bars.

Some strategies include:

  • Involve your friends or co-workers in a “no eating out” challenge
  • Start a lunch packing club
  • Identify your big “triggers” for eating out and plan around them
  • Find fun things to do that aren’t bars or restaurants – invite friends over!
  • Have your “I’m depressed/busy/unmotivated” meals ready in the fridge so postmates isn’t a temptation
  • Don’t get beverages along with your meal
  • Avoid getting a large latte or adding other things to your coffee drinks (from Will, our resident barista)

Links mentioned:

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Transcript (provided by our listener supporters on Patreon)

Stop Eating Your Budget – Oh My Dollar! (transcribed by Sonix)

Will Romey: This show was supported by generous listeners like you. There were patriotic. This episode was underwritten by the Tamsen G Association. To learn more about ways to support Oh My Dollar! and get cool perks like exclusive live streams and cat stickers you can visit support. Welcome to oh my dollar personal finance show with a dash of glitter

Lillian Karabaic: Dealing with money can be scary and stressful. Here it gets practical friendly advice about money that helps you tackle the financial overwhelmed. I’m your host Lilian Karabaic.

Will Romey: And I’m your other host. We’re hungry this morning.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah so. So today we are going to talk about how to stop eating your budget away with restaurant and bar spending. And this actually came out of the fact that Will, you know, I published, like every month I publish what my expenses are on my Website and you can go look at it if you have any interest in it. I also publish how many burritos and tacos I eat per month. You know, just in case you care and I a lot of people have been asking me how I spend so little money on eating out and I don’t think I’m in any means an expert, nor do I think my restaurant spending is amazing.

Lillian Karabaic: I spend probably exactly what my averages.

Will Romey: Let’s run the numbers.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah. My average is 25 a month. I spend twenty five dollars a month on restaurants and like. Which to me is like OK. You know I go out to eat like once or twice a month. I would say. And I’m, I’m not a foodie but I like to eat food. So you know I, I went to for my birthday last year. I got taken out to an incredibly fancy restaurant for me like a Prix Fie – Like you know you said Yeah. What kind of food orchestrated it was. It was called. It’s like a a local place that does like plant-based like everything is taught you all sit at a counter and it’s like you know Chef’s Table or whatever of style and it was like choreographed with the music that they were playing, like how they serve the food.

Lillian Karabaic: So anyway it was really like it was an interesting experience but I kind of learned out of that that that is not for me. That’s not where I get value in my food money. I was like it was like this was like a fun experience to do once but like I would rather, as opposed to spending 85 dollars on this like two hour experience, I’d rather get like three months worth of burritos.

Will Romey: Right, spreading it out.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah yeah definitely. So. So that being said but I think that there is a lot of different ways like even if you are a foodie if it is something that you value going out to fancy restaurants, you can find ways to like cut back in other ways with restaurant spending to kind of even it out. And for me I think one of the things that is a big driver for me is that I. I like restaurants more when I anticipate them. So when we were getting ready for the show we were we were talking about ramen.

Will Romey: Exactly. I had a great ramen meal with a friend but I definitely planned about planned for it the day before. So I was I was eagerly awaiting the ramen all day. Yeah. Even kind of skipping out on some other snacks just in anticipation.

Lillian Karabaic: There’s nothing like being incredibly hungry and then getting a meal that you’ve been anticipating.

Will Romey: A bowl of noodles bigger than my head.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah. And if I know like if I have like a particular restaurant meal that I really like like this one place’s burritos or this other places nachos then I like if I anticipate that meal and I and I get what I expected. I just like it so much more.

Lillian Karabaic: So we’re just hungry now.

Lillian Karabaic: It’s it’s it’s pretty early in the morning when we’re recording this but I’m like ready for lunch now after this whole thing. Anyway, here are some ways to not get hungry, I guess. So one of the big things is planning ahead. And for me if I know when my restaurant spending spikes so like if I’m stressed at work, my restaurant spending will spike or maybe when your partner is out of town and you like don’t want to cook by yourself like, I’m one of those people that doesn’t like cooking for myself as much as I like cooking for someone else.

Lillian Karabaic: Or like when I’m at the hospital I have to go for it in for tests every six weeks for labs and there’s a one restaurant that just the smell of fried food will waft to me as I’m walking into the hospital.

Will Romey: Oh yeah. It’s hard to steer away from.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah. But I know what my triggers are right. So I, I try to plan ahead for those. So I either plan ahead to know like OK I will always go to that restaurant when I go get my lab tests or I know like hey my partner is gonna be out of town next week so I’m going to cook on Sunday and have a lot of leftovers, so that I can just be lazy and and reheat leftovers when they’re gone.

Will Romey: Leftovers are key.

Lillian Karabaic: Oh leftovers are great. And I think leftovers might be like this is all just an elaborate episode to tell you how to create more leftovers in your life. So, another big thing too if you just want to reduce Restaurant and Bar spending but you don’t really want to go. out less is to skip beverages, especially alcohol. I asked on Twitter what people’s advice was and that was just it was a cascade of people saying skip booze and it really can reduce your total bill. I almost never get a beverage other than water. We’re lucky in Portland usually water is free. I know if you live if you live in Europe it’s like quite normal to charge you for water at a restaurant.

Will Romey: When I was in Europe over the summer the area kept on charging for water and was consistently more than a pilsner.

Will Romey: Yes. I drank less water.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah water is more expensive in Germany than beer. And that was one of the big things is that I would always just drink carry a water bottle around with me and that was like another thing where planning ahead really factored in. Was that like water is expensive in Germany compared to beer, but they’re both more expensive than like filling up the water at my apartment.

Will Romey: Yeah.

Lillian Karabaic: And having it with me. But if I don’t plan ahead then you know it’s a big deal. If you do have kids look into kids eat free nights. There’s a lot especially like local chains or a big chain restaurants will have a kids eat free night or kind of like lower market like you know like Mexican restaurants or Italian restaurants that are kind of local and not like high-end restaurants will often have a kids eat free night. And that’s a great way to do it because just adding up kids food especially when you know they’re probably not gonna finish it right. Can you imagine having to pay for other people all the time?

Lillian Karabaic: We have some extreme childless privilege going on right. Another thing I do is I sign up for the mailing list at local restaurants I really like. So like my favorite brunch place husband sending me a 20 percent coupon every month for like eleven years, and I don’t go to there every month but I know that I’m going to get that coupon and it definitely does like drive my decision to go there more often.

Will Romey: And that’s kind of coming back to planning ahead like you’re talking about if you are planning ahead you can take advantage of those discounts or deals or –

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah and if you’re the kind of person that’s going to get a coupon and then be like “Oh my God now I can think about nothing but brunch” maybe this isn’t the solution for you right, you know if it’s going to make you go there more often. But but it can be a really good way to plan ahead especially if you know that you’re always gonna get brunch or something like that at a place. Like my local coffee shop, I’m on their mailing list and they’re like two blocks from my house and they will just randomly send a like “it’s Wednesday get two dollars off” And that that I kind of like tell myself like OK you can go to the coffee shop next time they have one of those discounts on they send in a like “hey.

Will Romey: Makes sense, yea.

Lillian Karabaic: Today is a cheap date because it’s close and it’s a nice perk for myself.

Lillian Karabaic: This is a big one. I think that this is a big driver in a lot of financial decisions but engaging your friends and your co-workers so the people that you spend the most time with and you’re most likely to go out to eat with engage them in a no restaurant challenge like it turns out that this is one of those things that is like kind of a perpetual New Years’ Resolution for a lot of people, but it’s very hard if you have a culture of always going out to eat. So if you all your co-workers are always going on you know food cart trips during lunch, pick and amount of time that’s a stretch for you like a week or a month or even a year if you’re super extreme and challenge your friends or your co-workers to a no restaurant challenge and it doesn’t it doesn’t have to be across the board it could just be no eating out at lunch or no you know no happy hours for a month and it makes it a lot easier if you’re trying to save money overall, and then you can just pick a non-restaurant reward at the end so that you, you know still have saved some money or if you want you can just see if you can lower your baseline and then reward yourself with like a fancier thing or all of your friends go out for drinks at the end of the month.

Lillian Karabaic: You know like – just to see if you can change your baseline with your friends, to it’s more of a social thing to it which is often I think what drives people into restaurants.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah totally. And you know for me it was it was realizing that how many of my friends also didn’t want to eat out at restaurants and we were all kind of always saying yes to each other because it was the only thing we could think of. But then once we challenged that we we came with a lot of ideas. I had one summer where I had a no restaurant lunch club for a month with friends and we had previously always met up – We all worked at different places but we would meet up and go to the food carts at lunch and instead we started meeting in the park for lunch every day and we had a rotating schedule of who packed lunch for everyone.

Will Romey: Oh, thats a Good idea.

Lillian Karabaic: Which was like Awesome. I’m not sure I could manage that level of coordination in my life anymore but it was super fun because no one had a packed lunch every single day. But you would put more effort in on the day that you were packing lunch cause your packing it for other people right. Yeah yeah I just. So here’s some hummus and some crackers you’d be like Okay I’m in it like make something good. And it was really fun. I got to see my friends every day and like go hang out in the park so you know.

Will Romey: This is a great way to do that.

Lillian Karabaic: I am a big fan of having suggestions of non-restaurant activities, at the ready or cheaper options. So if a friend always suggests that you meet up at an expensive restaurant maybe have a close by less expensive restaurant. Is this a suggestion if you just want to spend a little less like I’m a big fan of recommending burrito lunches. Yeah, I mean one because I think it tends to meet a lot of food needs and we live in Portland where everyone’s.

Will Romey: It’s Customizable.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah. It’s like very customizable less than like an Italian restaurant which doesn’t meet a lot of food needs for different people. I don’t know why I’m only picks picking on burritos and Mexican food.

Will Romey: You just like burritos a lot.

Will Romey: I do really like for burritos a lot. So you know, always having a close-by less expensive restaurant because if someone is always like “Oh let’s go to this one place” and you’re like “oh what about this place it’s two blocks away and it’s like half the price” That can really help with friends consider inviting friends over for a drink and snacks instead of going out to happy hour – a six pack cost less than a cocktail out in many cases.

Lillian Karabaic: Right. And it can give you more time to hang out with your friend right you’re not gonna feel the pressure of like oh we have to order another drink if we want to keep hanging out. And if you want a suggestion that doesn’t involve cleaning your apartment – for me like a big driver in not having friends over.

Will Romey: The couch, yea.

Lillian Karabaic: Consider a walk with friends or a trip to a cool free spot in town. So like I have a kind of mental list of neat, free viewpoints I like to recommend. They’re not all outside. So like one of them is we have a big tower in Portland called Big Pink and they actually up on there like third floor which has like a pretty good view. They have like business lunch tables even just like pack a lunch and come to. And it’s a really fun place to have like a late afternoon or a lunchtime like meeting with a friend. That’s a good tip or you can go on like a non restaurant excursion like I don’t know you know like the fancy people house tours or whatever.

Will Romey: House tours are fun. Libraries are fun.

Lillian Karabaic: Fun libraries are really fun. And they don’t all have to be active things right. So it could just be hanging out and playing video games or board games or watching YouTube.

Lillian Karabaic: I like silent reading parties, which is just like me and my level of interest in social activity. We’re just like I’ll walk with a friend we’ll chat and then we’ll like go hang out and read because we both want to like read, but we also want to see other humans.

Will Romey: That’s a good way to do both.

Lillian Karabaic: This is the sign of someone that works from home where you’re like I would just like to hang out in a room with someone else.

Will Romey: Where there are other people yea.

Lillian Karabaic: Fancy hotel lobbies make really excellent spots for reading parties just as a note and you can totally get a drink from the hotel bar if you want. Or you could just hang out in the hotel lobby. They’re very used to that. I like to like dress up and then go to like vintage hotel lobbies.

Will Romey: That’s a great idea.

Lillian Karabaic: It’s like very fun and great places for photo shoots and then obviously libraries, as we mentioned they are the quintessential free place to hang our.

Will Romey: There’s books there.

Lillian Karabaic: And if you want to get extreme you can get into New Year’s resolution mode and combines saving money with a goal to work out more and invite your friend on a jog.

Will Romey: Doubling down on your your goals.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah just if you want to get extreme. I have a I have a workout buddy it’s very fun. She actually has an apartment building that has like a nice gym, so I go over to her house and workout and then we have coffee in her apartment after –

Will Romey: that’s several of these we’ve talked about.

Lillian Karabaic: Perfect. Yeah I know. It’s like it’s like and it’s a good way to also like make sure I see my friend and keep ourselves accountable to our workout goals. So you know and you don’t have to be an excellent cook to invite your friends over. You don’t have to have a dinner party. You can go to Trader Joe’s and make some Trader Joe’s tapas out of you know random prepackaged things – like, like you’re having social time with friends does not have to be predicated on going out to restaurants.

Lillian Karabaic: So let’s take a quick break and we have even more ideas.

Lillian Karabaic: Our show is supported by listeners like you and sponsors. We’re gonna take a quick break to hear from our sponsors.

Lillian Karabaic: And we’re back from break. We are talking about how to save money on restaurants and food food and general business lunches. All the things. So this one might seem kind of obvious but we talked about the planning ahead.

Lillian Karabaic: If you know that you’re going to go to certain restaurants on a regular basis like, for example like your family always comes over during the holidays and you all go out to Olive Garden or something. Check gift card discount and coupon Websites – like there’s a ton of them for national and local chain restaurants, like pizza is one of those things where, if you plan ahead you should like never have to pay full price for pizza, especially delivery pizza. So just check the gift card discount Websites you can often get like an olive garden, you know, gift card for like, 20 percent off or something which can be a big deal. More breadsticks for you.

Lillian Karabaic: And then I think the big one so for me a big driver for me in eating out second to social pressure, is convenience.

Will Romey: For sure.

Lillian Karabaic: So just being like I don’t want to cook like, I don’t want to deal that especially when I’m stressed out or I’m depressed or.

Will Romey: You worked all day, you’re Tired.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah. And you’re like.

Will Romey: Oh you just need food in you.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah. I’m not even going to be that satisfied with a restaurant meal but I just don’t want to cook.

Lillian Karabaic: So I am a big fan of setting up systems for cooking dinner that make you make it so that you don’t want to rely on postmates or Door Dash or getting takeout. So this is one of the big things here – like find what your lazy meal – that isn’t eating out is so a slow cooker recipe that works for you, that like, oh you know you’re gonna have a long day at work set up that slow cooker before you go to work. Or things that you can always have in your house that make cooking dinner easier than going out so. Or make eating a packed lunch at work instead of going out like even things that you could bring in on Monday to your office leave in your work fridge, if you have one, that just is there.

Will Romey: The quick PB&J is a staple for me.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah. Yeah I’m a big fan of hummus and some like pre chopped veggies just in, in the fridge at work means that like I will probably not gonna eat because I eat at the very least.

Yea, you have have calories there.

Lillian Karabaic: So for me like it depends on what it is for you and like what your level of cooking and interest in what access to like what facilities you have. But like at home this could be microwave meals or like mac and cheese or just having pre chopped ingredients that make it easy to throw together a stir fry or like some kind of batch cooking that you do on the weekend – so going and grocery shopping with the intention of setting yourself up for those lazy nights, ahead of time is really great because obviously like if you’re like “oh I don’t have any food in my house and I’d have to go to the grocery store and then I would have to cook something that creates- “.

Will Romey: too many steps.

Lillian Karabaic: But if you’re like OK Sunday I’m at the grocery store, I’m in a shop for the week and like “hey, I am gonna get that like pre you know pre chopped stuff from from the deli because I know that if I have that in the fridge I’ll throw that together.”.

Will Romey: Yeah yeah. A quick sandwich or whatever.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah food for me. Mine is if I always have like pasta and ingredients for a quesidilla in my fridge like I can make a quesidilla and like I have quick. Yeah. Like if I chop veggies on the weekend or if I just want to throw together tasty I can have a plate of food in front of me in less than 15 minutes which is like less time than it takes to walk and order from a restaurant. It’s way less time than it takes for a postmates delivery to show up and I can be done. I can just have food in me right now which is really great.

Lillian Karabaic: And if you struggle with cooking due to like health or family reasons or you’re just like never learned – try to figure out what that best easy home meal is for you it might be like a microwavable dinner. It might be like you know reheatable pizza. Quesidilla, some like that and just make sure that you’re set up for that if you’re trying to like learn how to cook more. There are two websites that I use sometimes one is called supercook and that one will like let you type in the ingredients that you have in your house and then provide you with a recipe.

Will Romey: Cute

Lillian Karabaic: Is very fun. And then the other one I can’t say the full name on air but it’s wtfshouldImakefordinner and it will give you recipe ideas just randomly and “you can be like I don’t eat meat” or “I eat meat” and that’s it and it’ll just keep generating recipe ideas which is good if you I tend to just get stuck in ruts and that can be good if I’m trying to like decide.

Lillian Karabaic: My biggest recommendation is if you’re hungry and you’re trying to decide on recipes stay off BuzzFeed or Pinterest perfect looking meals or like those Instagram life hacks or they show you how to make something out a mason jar, because they all tend to be more complicated and just head to a Web site that focuses on practical cooking.

Lillian Karabaic: So something like Mm hmm. If you are trying to plan ahead or like learning cook I cannot recommend the library enough. Like almost all libraries public libraries have great sources of cookbooks and you don’t have to spend money on them. And in reality you probably just need to go through them find some recipes you like get used to cooking them rather than like ordering a bunch from Amazon because you’ve convinced yourself that you’re going to never eat out again.

Will Romey: So you don’t even need cookbooks to swing it. It’s always good. One of one of my favorites lately has been every time I go to make one pizza, I’ll make two or three and then freeze the other two. So it’s kind of a quick DIY frozen pizza batch.

Lillian Karabaic: Cooking is like amazing. If you take anything from this is leftovers can be your frickin Savior which is like it doesn’t take that much effort to double your quantity usually because once you’re like chopping things or sauteeing or baking things then it can just make a huge difference. I even like to make large quantities of stuff and freeze it. So in the summer when we have tons of zucchini we will just pump out batches of zucchini bread and throws you zucchini bread like muffins in our freezer. And they’re great because like two of those is essentially a perfect mid-morning snack. And I I’m never gonna like go buy a zucchini muffin at the store but if it’s there in my fridge I’m going to heat it up and it’s gonna be great.

Lillian Karabaic: So all right.

Lillian Karabaic: Figure it out. So that’s just trying to figure out what you’re lazy but not takeout or restaurant option is it’s going to be different for everyone based on where you’re at in your life and your cooking skills and everything but figure out what it is for you and plan ahead for it.

Lillian Karabaic: All right here’s another one. Taking cash to bars and not bringing your card with you – bring your ID – especially if you live in Oregon. But there’s a huge one for me. Here’s the thing. If you’re going to bars to drink, alcohol reduces your willpower. So decide on your budget for bars when you’re sober and clear minded. And don’t bring your you know non-stop card that you can just you know keep racking up a tab on it. Yeah. Force yourself into it so if you say “I’m only gonna have one drink and you only have a ten dollar bill” then guess what you’re only gonna have one drink. So take out cash or if you get paid in cash take a 10, 20, 30 whatever your budget is and just that’s it. When you run out of money you run out. This is hard.

Lillian Karabaic: If you have that friend that’s always like I want you to have another drink. Just I’ll cover it. So you know watch out for that friend. Watch out for their friend anyway. All right. What about coffee? Will you work in coffee- Do you still go out and get coffee?

Will Romey: Hardly. I spend probably 10 bucks a week in coffee and I think I’m consistently drinking some of the best coffee in the world. Nice nice. Yeah. Really really. Just make pour-overs at home. I buy you know how to coffee every two weeks ish.

Lillian Karabaic: That’s about what our consumption levels are per person.

Will Romey: I think about twelve oz a week is probably a best bet right. I’ll still buy a shot of espresso here and there but I mean otherwise they usually just make coffee at home. We also have office coffee which isn’t you know I won’t brag about my office coffee as much as I’ll brag about my home coffee but it’s still good.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah. Free coffee is you know like I feel like I’ve worked on a lot of non-profits that have never had coffee budgets. And so I worked in office for free coffee and it took me a while to be able to be like “stop drinking it just because it’s free” Because the part of me that want to optimize was like what you get for coffee. Yeah.

Will Romey: And we’ve got a good coffee sponsor, too, at XRAY. So.

Lillian Karabaic: That’s nice.

Will Romey: We do well for ourselves.

Lillian Karabaic: So here’s here’s my recommendations right. Like I we’ve talked before on the show how I kind of think this like Latte Factor is crap. If you value coffee, spend money on coffee. Right. Just put it in the budget. But if it’s something that you want to change like it’s a big issue for you where you’re like I spend a lot of money on coffee and I don’t like feel great about how I’m spending money on it. I noticed that usually coffee spending, especially like convenience coffee spending has to do with your routine and planning ahead. So it could be like one thing that drives me is that when I was really stressed at work I would want to go get coffee because I want to get out of the office.

Lillian Karabaic: And it turned out the walk was like 90 percent of it but it was also that feeling of like I’m stressed out and I want to treat myself and this is like a treat that is like an attainable treat right. Like it’s like an easy treat rather than like I don’t know – One of my co-workers would just go onto eBay and start buying Kate Spade bags when she was stressed out.

Lillian Karabaic: And like obviously I was like well I can have a coffee every day and spend less than one Kate Spade bag.

Will Romey: If you pick a purse.

Lillian Karabaic: Like see if there’s a way to change your routine so it could be bringing a french press into work to make a nice cup of coffee in the afternoon instead of going out for a coffee run. Or it could be like just going on a walk around on the block with your co-worker instead of a mid-morning coffee run. I had a lot of walking meetings at my old job and it was like Awesome. Another thing I did was that I started bringing a thermos of coffee to my job that was next to the fancy coffee shop. And I knew that I would want coffee by 7:00 a.m. I started work at five thirty A.M. and inevitably I would want coffee by 7:00 a.m.

Will Romey: and they opened at like six thirty at the coffee shop and so I would just be like oh so I finally just got to the point where I would set up my coffee maker the night before to make me coffee, fill a thermos and it was like a delight every morning “when I’d be like I want coffee because I smell it coming from next door.” And then I would have a thermos of coffee it was great. It turned out I didn’t want their coffee I just wanted I wanted some coffee.

Will Romey: Yea, a coffee.

Lillian Karabaic: And it was it was a lot. You know it cost me a lot less. So another thing to consider is just try reducing the days that you stop for a latte. So like maybe right now you start you stop Monday through Thursday try to only stop on Wednesdays or only stop you know on the day before the staff meeting when you know you’re gonna be really stressed out and that makes it a special day rather than an everyday occurrence. And like you cut your spending down by 75 percent if you can go from four days a week to one.

Will Romey: here’s some barista insider knowledge stop putting b*llshit in your Lattes.

Will Romey: Cuz that adds up. Like if you’re getting like almond milk and vanilla latte, You’re adding on average about a buck twenty five depending on where you’re going.

Lillian Karabaic: I so I will say as someone who doesn’t drink dairy I am so frustrated that soy milk which is cheaper in the store than fancy dairy milk which is like I go to fancy coffee shop so they all use like fancy milk. They they charge me like a dollar.

Will Romey: Well it’s a bulk purchasing thing probably but still the vanilla adds up. Your size adds up and you’re really just getting extra milk when you’re getting a large latte versus the small latte. You’re really paying that premium just for the extra liquid that doesn’t even make you more wakeful

Lillian Karabaic: More caffeinated.

Lillian Karabaic: This is a here’s our barista approach. You know what I mean. The other thing I would say is if you are so excited about like those seasonal drinks or whatever. Like if you have a Starbucks habit and I’ll call them out because they’re everywhere right.

Lillian Karabaic: Believe you have Starbucks have it. This is where those gift cards can really come into play because you can get Starbucks gift cards for like quite a lot less. And so you just plan ahead for it and you know that it’s your treat it’s part of your budget right. Like it’s it’s okay to spend money on coffee and I don’t want to like shame people for spending money on lattes. But if you feel like you want to change it or you want to reduce it see what you can do. Try changing your behavior. Try gift cards. Any of those things.

Will Romey: Punch cards punch cards if you’re not using punch card use the punch card thing 10 percent more assuming those 10 punches.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah they vary but yeah I I used to not drink coffee or caffeine at all until I spent a lot of my time at one particular tea house. And I have a punch card that is so filled that they had like it was a punch card for all the different kinds of tea you would get like if you got like a latte it would be on like a certain line or regular part of tea you would be here. But I my card was so battered because they had filled every single line and they just like rewritten because I would only get one kind of tea.

Lillian Karabaic: They like rewritten and it was like completely destroy.

Will Romey: Lost its Structural integrity.

Lillian Karabaic: I had fallen apart.

Will Romey: Did you trade it in for like a bag of tea leaves?

Lillian Karabaic: I mean I just kept getting my extra card and then we were like use it. And it was great. It was great. I get my extra tea. It was wonderful. It was wonderful. They also had an arcade in their basement that only the staff were allowed to go to. But I was there all often enough that I went to the arcade in a basement cool. They were thanked in my thesis acknowledgments. So that’s how much time I spent at that tea shop.

Will Romey: This is drifting but I’m so curious.

Lillian Karabaic: It was a weird couple years in my life anyway. All right. And this is like. I hate that this is my final piece of advice but this is like the dorkiest piece of advice that I can give. I’m a big fan of working out after work as a substitute for happy hour. Yeah it’s like I like it because it kills two birds with one stone but like that is the part of the day where my willpower is the worst. But like it turns out in the endorphins you get from like hanging out with people are pretty similar to the endorphins that you get from like doing hard cardio for 60 Minutes.

Will Romey: That makes sense.

Lillian Karabaic: I love going to things that all like look forward to but have trouble making myself go to. So, like dance class or like a group lift to lifting weights class. And it works out even better if I have a class scheduled through like classpass which I’ve talked about before on this because you can’t cancel without a fee less than 12 hours in advance. So the night before I’ll be like yes, tomorrow I’m going I’m going to go to the gym and usually like at 8 a.m. I still feel fairly confident that I’m going to go to the gym.

Lillian Karabaic: And by then I know that it’s going to cost me twenty dollars to decide to go to the bar instead of the gym.

Will Romey: You’re penalizing yourself. Yeah for your.

Lillian Karabaic: it’s pre-commitment. It’s a it’s a pre-commitment negative reward. And instead of like having co-workers be like oh you should come out for drinks with us I can just be like “Oh I actually have to go to this class, like I have something scheduled and like it’s gonna cost me money.” So instead of just this vague idea that I should hit the gym as opposed to go out for happy hour with co-workers and it’s totally dorky but it’s true.

Lillian Karabaic: And then it turns out like when I got out of the gym I just want to shower and I don’t want to go out to the restaurant.

Will Romey: Kind of forcing the issue in a good way.

Lillian Karabaic: Yeah. And that could go for lots of different things you know. So this also helps like if you have kids and you have to pick them up or take them to activities then suddenly the bar is less interesting.

Will Romey: Or more interesting.

Lillian Karabaic: Maybe more just more logistically challenging anyway.

Lillian Karabaic: Wow that was I mean there was a lot but hopefully you found some advice and I think the advice can mostly be summed up to plan ahead and leftovers. Does that make sense? That’s that’s it.

Will Romey: Know when you’re gonna be hungry.

Lillian Karabaic: And if you like going to restaurants and it doesn’t bother you then just budget for it. The end.

Lillian Karabaic: And now all I really want is some I think this recording this episode has had the opposite effect on me. I think I want to go out to eat for lunch now because we’ve been talking about it for so long. Reminder that we love hearing from you.

Lillian Karabaic: So are you trying to spend lust at restaurants? How much do you spend you know? is this an easy, easy thing for you?

Lillian Karabaic: Like both Will and I were like you just don’t go to restaurants but or is this something that’s really challenging for you do you do a lot of it?

Let us know at or tweet us @anomalily @ohmydollar.

Will Romey: That wraps are show for today. Our producer is Will Romey. Our intro music is by Aaron Parecki, and your host and personal finance educator Lillian Karabaic. Thanks for listening. And until next time, remember to manage your money so it doesn’t manage you.

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