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In tackling our budget project this year, we’ve been able to assess the areas where we could should cut back. Many of these we knew about already, but perhaps turned a blind eye because we couldn’t bear to go without. Others are a little more surprising (we spend that much on toiletries?!). Whatever the case, my competitive nature kicked in and we quickly looked for ways to pare down across the board.

Here are some of our “budget busters” and how we’re addressing them

Restaurants
For most of the time we’ve been in New York, our biggest weakness has been going out to eat, and we’ve justified it by saying we’ll only live in Brooklyn for a few more years and have to take advantage of the amazing local food scene and celebrity chef creations. We’re those people who try out all the new neighborhood places within weeks of them opening. Believe me, it has been a delicious experience, and I would venture that all those candlelit dinners for two have been great for our relationship! But going out to dinner 2x a week, plus buying our lunch at work on occasion, does not a happy budget make. So, we’ve cut it to a number that lets us eat out 1x a week (we want to be frugal, not depressed), or at less expensive places more often. We did go over a tad in January and February, but have readjusted for March and think we’ll make it with room to spare. In which case we’ll order an extra glass of wine.

The Gym
As previously mentioned the gym was a relatively big expense for us, and we justified it as a necessity for our health. But when life got busy, or the weather got nice, soon we found our monthly fee essentially breaking down to $15 per visit. That was NOT okay. So, husband suggested we join the local Y. To say I was hesitant is an understatement. But to save $60/month, I knew I needed to try it. So we’re Y members. And after two weeks, I can say the “sacrifice” has been worth it. (I’ll reserve final judgement for another few months, however).

Starbucks
This one comes with a caveat. When I say I spend too much at Starbucks, I mean I buy too many plain tall coffees at Starbucks. Yes, I was laughed at the first time I placed this order, amid a sea of skinny-venti-mocha-latte-no-whip. Also, there’s a Starbucks in my office building and 10:30 am seems to be the witching hour for me when I need a little break and a jolt of caffeine. Still, $10/week on coffee adds up fast, so I’m trying to cut back to 3x/week, and supplementing with tea at my desk the other days.

Can anyone relate? And if you have Brooklyn restaurant recommendations, definitely drop me a line :)

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