, Date : 17 February, 2016

Free Food In February

Well, this first half of February has been rough financially on us. Making those last two monthly 7K payments on the mortgage doesn't leave us with much wiggle room outside of regular bills for fun endeavors. We're feeling the pinch and sacrificing a lot while picking up overtime and not being able to go out for fun or go to auctions, like we mentioned in our last post. It's downright depressing to work so much and never see those nice paychecks to spend a little on something fun or treat ourselves for all of our hard work. There's been plenty of days that would have been perfect for a day trip to go skiing, hiking, and more, but it all costs money and time, two things we're feeling rather short of this month.


One reason we're feeling so short is that we had a large unanticipated expense come up. That, coupled with oil changes due for both cars ($90), an inspection on one car ($100), and routine vet check ups and shots due for the cats ($140), it's like the perfect storm of expenses coming due during a month that's already short a few days and already has more expenses than anticipated.

Working so much overtime has a nasty side effect: eating out more. We're away from home longer, so we run out of packed food because we might not have planned to stay overtime that day. Then, we buy something prepared to hold us over, then we get home and we're too tired to prep for the next day. We go to work again and spend even more the next day because we were too tired or ran out of food to pack because we hadn't had time to grocery shop with all of the working. It's a downward spiral.

Spending excess money on food is a plague to us, especially since Andrew has been exercising more and needing significantly more protein and calories than before. I'll bake a bunch of chicken breasts at the beginning of the week to throw on salads or rice, and they'll be gone after 2 days! Luckily, Chipotle threw us both a bone with their text message promotions for a free burrito, bowl, or salad to win customers back, so there's two dinners that we didn't have to pay for!

Speaking of Chipotle, we recently sold off a bunch of mildly-performing stocks in our portfolio and bought Chipotle stock instead, which has been getting crushed lately with the e. coli outbreak. The price dropped from around $750/share to around $400/share, a steal in our eyes. We originally bought Chipotle a few months back and owned 6 shares, but now we're up to 33 shares. Our portfolio is less diversified now and we're making less dividend income, but we decided to take a risk because we feel that the market has punished Chipotle a bit too much and we feel that Chipotle will make a huge comeback as a growth stock. It's truly the fast food for millennials! Look at the demographic eating in any store or ask the nearest millennial what their favorite fast food is, and it's likely to be Chipotle. Not only do we love eating at Chipotle, we love investing with them as well!

Hopefully they can serve up more protein and profits to us for the rest of 2016 for some โ€œmad gains, bra!โ€ (That's a direct quote from Andrew, by the way)

Back on the topic of free dinners, one of the best perks of working in the healthcare field is attending pharmaceutical company sponsored dinners, which are typically held at some of the nicest restaurants in the city. The pharmaceutical reps recruit doctors, nurses, pharmacists, students, and their staff to come to these dinners to learn about the latest drugs and therapies coming out. Every time one of these dinners comes around every month or two, we try our best to clear our schedules to get a taste of luxury (and learn about the new drug they're presenting on, of course) ๐Ÿ˜‰ These are our favorite date nights because we get to dress up and go to fancy restaurants that we would never otherwise go to and enjoy a meal that we would probably never buy for ourselves. One of our favorite things to do on the way home from these dinners is to look up the menu prices online and tally up what the dinner might have cost us had we been there on a date. It's super money nerd-ish, but it's always a fun conversation. Usually the dinners will be in the $200's for 2 people after accounting for everything. These dinners unfortunately aren't as common as they used to be with new anti-kickback regulations and budget cuts, but if you're in any aspect of the healthcare field, keep your eyes open and snatch up a seat or two! There was a recent sponsored dinner around Valentine's Day, and I thought it would be very fitting for us with our thrifty ways to go and have a fancy dinner for only the price of parking. I was giggling to myself imagining the title of our next post: โ€œThe Second Hand Millionaires, cheapskates to the extreme, using a sponsored dinner as their romantic Valentine's dateโ€ LOL!

Unfortunately, no such post could happen because Andrew couldn't make the dinner. I went anyways with colleagues (all is fair when there's free food involved) and promised to bring him back something. As luck would have it, when the waitress was boxing up our leftovers for the night, she accidentally dumped mine in the garbage and came back apologizing and stating that she was having my entire dinner re-made for me to take home. Some people may have been annoyed, but I was pumped! That's one less dinner that I had to buy/prep/cook this month, and now he was able to enjoy the dinner as well. Perspective is everything :-)

Between Chipotle and the sponsored dinner, we got 4 free dinners this month! That may seem insignificant, but it really helps when you have a financial goal to meet, a husband with an endless appetite, and unexpected expenses that keep piling up like they have been so far.

We have 12 days left this month to pull through for another hard-hitting payment, but the numbers aren't adding up and we might fall short of the $6,400 goal. Stay with us to see if we can either pull it off or fall flat on our faces. Either way, we're not turning down a free dinner anytime soon :-)

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6 Comments on “Free Food In February

    1. Nice! We hoard gift cards for times when we’re feeling like we want something nice, or we just buy them when our grocery store is giving us 20 cents off gas for every $50 spent. (Most of the time it’s 10 cents) What would your date night have cost otherwise? Around $100 or more?
      I’m glad the vet visit for the year is over-I get as stressed as they do due to the wrangling into carriers and the yowling the entire drive there. :-/ I wish pet vet bills were tax-deductible!

    1. You got it, Josh! The little victories and silly fun things are what we remember, and it’s part of the fun! I honestly have more fun and feel more proud of us when we find a frugal way to enjoy something that I would feel if we just paid for it and spent the money outright. The challenge makes it more enjoyable!

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