Tuesday, April 14, 2009

So, what happened to our


30 Days of No Fast Food Challenge? Honestly? It didn't last 30 days. At about two and a half weeks we quit for Buttercup's birthday and, frankly, didn't want to start it up again. Why? Well, we quickly figured out our fast food habit wasn't because of the food. (Some of you are saying, "Duh!", but hey, we're slow learners!) This challenge was awesome, however, and we learned a lot about ourselves and our family.

Firstly, we realized that Superman and I really, really counted on our weekly breakfast date and missing two of them in a row made us cranky. My friend at Generations Gone By knew this was going to happen (she's so smart) and warned us to be on the look-out. With three children (even with one in the dorms now), me homeschooling the younger two, and Superman's stressful job, our weekly dates were special time for the two of us. We needed them. I lay in bed one night talking with Superman and I said, "I just really miss you." Well, that was that...we ended the challenge right there.

Secondly, as homeschoolers with cabin fever, the kids and I were using a fast food run as a way to get out of the house during the grey days of winter. The challenge caused us to stop and think, "Why is it I want to go to McDonald's? Do I just want to get out of the house?" By stopping and asking ourselves the question, we have been able to redirect our energy to healthier alternatives.

Finally, the fast food hiatus gave the kids the time to calculate the opportunity costs of the fast food meals they were having. Quickly they began to notice things in a quantitative manner. From the simple: "Wow, if we don't go to McDonald's for lunch, we can go to the roller skating rink for the same amount of money," to the more complicated: "Mom, if we only spend $100/mo going out, including your dates, we could have a Wii in 4 months and it wouldn't cost us any more money than we've already been spending!" My kids truly became conscious spenders. Maybe, just maybe, this will help set them up to be good stewards of their resources at a young age.

So, since the first week of April, we've semi-quit the fast food habit. Superman and I still go on our dates once a week, but the kids and I aren't going out the same way. Instead, they are being smart spenders. Valiant figured out that a frozen yogurt at Costco was $1.50 and we could easily share one after our shopping trip. We're all being conscious of why we want to go out and that has helped us get rid of the craving and feel better when we do have a little treat.

All in all, I think the No Fast Food Challenge was completely worthwhile. We learned a lot about ourselves and our motivations and, in so doing, have been able to redirect our efforts towards healthier attitudes. If you're stuck in a bad habit rut, I encourage you to try a challenge of your own: No Oreos for 30 days, No potato chips for 30 days, whatever...you might be surprised at what you learn about yourself.

8 comments:

generationsgoneby said...

I think you did a great job. (But then I am the smart one. LOL) You learned to make eating out special again. Superman and you can go out once a week to breakfast and have a special parent's time without breaking the budget and it will greatly save on marriage counseling.

The kids have learned that other things are fun too, but when they do eat out they are learning to make the time worthwhile.

I think that is what the challenge was about. Making the money you spent on fast food be for a special occasion and not because it's 5:30.

Now the real secret is to not let eating out become the main event again. But rather to keep it special and only do it when it's planned and budgeted for.

Alicia, The Snowflake said...

Good for you! I have been trying to cut down on the Fast Food too. I have been buying other things for lunch so that my son and I don't get tired of eating sandwiches all the time. So far it seems to be helping.

Have a great day my friend!

Bobbi Jo said...

I am impressed with all that you learned. I am not contemplating what I want to give up. There are so many things. I am also very proud and happy for you and your family. Great accomplishment in the lessons learned of yourselves. Hugs, Bobbi Jo

Erin said...

Thank you all! It was a worthwhile endeavor...Gens, you have my permission to say "I told you so"... Alicia, you are on the right track and I'm doing the same thing these days. I just think the hard winter weather that kept us housebound played a role in our bad habit. Bobbi Jo...just one thing at a time! Progress, NOT perfection...

Melissa Henning said...

pretty funny about the Wii lol. So the question is, are you going to get one for them? lol.

We stopped eating fast food because I am still in that "temptation stage." There are certain places that we can go, that I am ok with, when we can afford it, but it's just cheaper (and easier with Logan) to just stay at home :).

Erin said...

LOL! No we're not buying the kids a Wii (they're a fortune)...we have said that if a) they save half the price of a Wii plus whatever accessories they want and b) they are willing to only have a joint Christmas present from us, that we would considered buying our half as a present to them. We're trying to teach them to save money for the things they want. We'll see how it goes...

Clark said...

I am glad that we are back to having our weekly dates! We didn't get to go today because there was snow piled up everywhere and I didn't want Jessica Rabbit to drive. We are on for tomorrow!

Erin said...

Tomorrow morning has come and gone and I still didn't get my date...work crisis, this time...sigh.