Foodie On A Budget

 
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Foodie on a budget? Can those words even coexist? It occurred to me recently that my foodstagram may lead people to believe that I spend the majority of my days dining at all the swanky local eateries as I collect income from, well...being swanky. That's a thing, right? I assure you friends, that couldn't be further from my reality and certainly not the complete picture. 

While I probably eat out more than the average person, it's not without regard to our bank account and certainly not because we're living a glamorous lifestyle. Like most of you, we're a dual income family. I'm a wife and full-time working mother. Most days I'm calling my husband mid-work-day to ask him to take "dinner" out of the freezer, since I forgot on my mad dash out the door. In my ideal world, I would have a personal chef but to my dismay, it’s not quite in the budget…yet. Hey, a girl can dream. 

So how do I manage to capture all those pretty foodstagrams and experience all those delicious eats as much as i do? I'm ready to share some of my secrets:

WE'RE DEBT-FREE
Thanks to Dave Ramsey's Financial Peace program and a lot of hard work, we became debt-free in 2009. It took 18-months to dig our way out of debt, but that season of short-term sacrifices changed our entire lives and has given us freedom to do more of the things we love. And do you know what being debt-free means? It means no payments, and that the money you earn is actually yours instead of going right back out the door to payments. I won’t pretend that 18-months was easy or fun, but it was the best thing we ever did for our family. If you haven’t taken Financial Peace, you simply must. 

WE (still) BUDGET
After becoming debt-free, we decided we'd never go back to living in debt. That means that we make a plan for our money each month, before the month begins. And if I’m being honest, that plan looks a lot more fun today than it did while we were getting out of debt, because part of today's plan includes more of the things we love, like travel, food and entertainment. And since we paid the price to become debt-free and we plan for it, we get to do those things without fear or guilt. 

WE (still) SACRIFICE
If you’ve already dismissed me because you can’t quite relate to where we are on our financial journey, please come back for a moment, because this is something you can do no matter where you are in your financial journey. Are you back? Okay, here goes...Everyone has an area of their lives they value above another area; something they’d prefer to dedicate their time and money to. For us, food and travel are things we value, so we prioritize it in our budget and sacrifice in other areas. For instance, clothes are not that important to us. I've created a capsule wardrobe (which I’ll share about in an upcoming post) for everyone in my family, including my 6-year old. I also buy clothes secondhand or only when I find something on clearance. By doing all these things I am able to keep our clothing expenses low, which allows us to put our money towards the things we value more. 

So it’s true, I really am a foodie on a budget, and the two words can coexist. It’s not magic or perfect, and it’s probably not as glamorous as social media would have you believe, but the secret really isn’t a secret at all. It’s simply hard work and sacrifice that lead to a much greater reward. We certainly don’t have it all figured out… I mean, I am still working towards my dream of having a personal chef. But we are getting to do some of the things we love most, now that we have figured out how to prioritize the things that matter to us, and my hope is that you and your family will be able to do the same. 

Mia Higgins is a mom of two boys, one in heaven and one here on earth. She and her husband of 10 years relocated from Tampa, FL to Nashville, TN in 2012, in pursuit of new beginnings. Mia's story is one of transformation and hope, from broken to restored. Her passions reflect her story, as she loves creating space for people to encounter God's peace and beauty through atmosphere and experience. Her greatest joy is deep connection and stories of redemption. You can follow Mia on Instragram @miabellawrites