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The Four Walls: Your Food Budget Is Important

Have you ever heard of the four walls concept? Take care of your four walls and you will have built your house. It’s a great metaphor and I highly recommend you spend some time in stand-still traffic to reflect on how your house looks.

Thanks for the photo, Dave Ramsey!

Here’s how my buddy, Dave Ramsey, sees the budget in terms of importance:

1. Shelter
2. Food
3. Transportation
4. Clothing

Every other budget line item is NONESSENTIAL. Entertainment isn’t on the list… and to be honest, avocados probably won’t make the list of essential food items when you dive into each budget category.
#1 most important budget item is Shelter. You have to have a place to live and the lights need to stay on (most of the time). But #2 is the food budget. 

Why is Food more important than Transportation and Clothing?

Your food budget is more important than the Transportation and Clothing parts of the Four Walls because if you can’t eat, you can’t live. Here at MacroEd we are not just about you living; we want you to live to your fullest potential. We want you to be able to eat like kings and perform like the world-class athletes we know you are.

Eating clean doesn’t mean blowing your food budget.

When I started my MacroEd journey, I was alread a “pro-amateur” at nutrition. I started Whole30 way back before my CrossFit days in 2010, and I learned diabetic nutrition education for all of my patients. I know a little bit about a lot of nutrition. I was eating super clean from 2010-2012. But, man, I was spending so much money on food (and entertainment) that I had no money saved. I don’t eat nearly as clean anymore; MacroEd allows me to eat dirty occasionally. Either way, a clean or dirty diet can be cost effective. 

How did I identify where I could cut costs to make my Four Walls stronger?

I have definitely cut back on my clothing, entertainment, and household decoration “needs.” I also cut back a ton in my Food budget. Just because the Food budget is part of the Four Walls doesn’t mean the budget can’t be trimmed. Here’s the thing: if you are spending $5 for lunch every day at work, that’s $30 a week and $120 a month. That’s $1,440.00 a year! Now let’s calculate a $2.00 coffee every workday: $40.00 / month = $480.00 / year. Picture an extra $2000.00 a year sitting in your bank account or going towards your student loans. Or maybe picture the higher quality food you can buy.

Do you really need this gourmet burger and drinks all the time? Probably not… save your money and when you do have the burgers occasionally it will be worth it!

But isn’t real food and MacroEd too expensive for regular people?

A couple of folks mentioned to me last week that it’s difficult to spend extra money on higher quality food sources… I challenge you to find areas in your food budget that you can cut because they are extraneous. For example: my food fits in my Food budget because I’ve told myself how much I can spend. I might not be buying red peppers, or avocados, or my Starbucks coffee each week, but I know I will get the best quality food my budget can buy within our MacroEd spectrum. My health and my waistline thank me. So does my wallet. 

So this week’s MacroEd #FrugalFriday challenge: log your COST in addition to your macros. Once you become aware of what you are spending, you’ll probably become just as obsessed with PPS (price per serving) as I am. It’s a game that I love playing and I hope you report back with your food cost for the week next Friday!

And as an aside – I love what you are doing with your Macros! Keep it up and stay strong through the finish!

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