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Frozen Yogurt is Crack

Food has always been a big part of our budget, but it has become a bit nuts.  I am sure this is a story you have heard before, but it has been on my mind.  It all started with an Orange Leaf frozen yogurt that opened like a mile away (aka, my dealer).

Our Addiction

Yep, we visited Orange Leaf one time about 6 months ago, self-served ourselves a couple of cups, and it has been our crack ever since.  I think they put drugs in the mix.  Especially the flavor named “Brownie Batter”…it is just too good.  And now they introduced Chocolate Covered Rasberry…they either love me or hate me.  Between that and the employees being so nice, we go at least once a week, but usually twice.  On really bad or really good weeks, they see us three times.  Let’s put it this way, we go enough that they have started squirreling away fresh waffle cones pieces for Mr. BFS just because they know he likes them on top.

At 43 cents an ounce and 5-8 ounces per person per visit, we are spending about $50-$100 a month on frozen yogurt.  That by itself isn’t busting our budget, but when we have $500 set aside for food and I started seeing $600-$800 a month food costs, I took a closer look.  You know what I found?

Our Dietary Changes

We eat out a lot more now than we did at the beginning of 2011.  We found places like Orange Leaf, a great Chinese place with awesome veggies down the street from there, and the yumminess of Chick Fila.  So our restaurant spending increased.

We also eat more expensive foods at home.  We seem to go out 3-4 times a week to get out of the house or because we are craving a specific food.  And at home, we used to be okay with grilled chicken and green beans.  Now Mr. BFS has started tackling more intense recipes like chicken pot pies, gumbos, fajitas, lasagna, and more.  And we are hosting more get-togethers like potlucks at our home.  It’s been absolutely awesome, but more ingredients cost more money.

Our Plan

So what are we going to do?  Honestly…probably nothing.  We are spending less on gasoline, less on toll roads, and less on work clothes.  We decided we are going to try to stay within our $500 food budget, but I am not going to play the enforcer on anything.  We aren’t gaining weight, are making enough to cover our expenses, are on track to pay off our mortgage by June, and are also saving a bunch for our future.  I think I am not going to press this particular issue.

So why did I bring it up?  Because it has been on my mind.  I started this blog to show that you can be financially responsible and have fun in life by prioritizing your spending.  I figured this was one of those times I am putting our priorities out there.

Do you have a splurge you are okay with?

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37 comments to Frozen Yogurt is Crack

  • I splurge on traveling. Although I always look for the best deal, I still like to leave the country every few months. I can’t wait until I am able to travel every month.

  • Faith

    The more social we are, the bigger our food budget gets. Mostly because I love to cook, and usually take a snack or dessert along to friends’ houses. Interesting to me, a lot of the more involved meals you mentioned I find to be very budget friendly. We keep our grocery budget down to below $240 a month (including toiletries), yet made-from-scratch pot pies, lasagnas, and burritos are on the menu at least once a month, often more.

  • Faith

    Oh, I should’ve added that we seriously splurge on cycling. Between the bikes themselves, the pedals, shoes, helmets, clothes, etc…it’s an expensive hobby.

  • No kidding that stuff is good. I was at Orange Leaf last night with two of my girls. Had pineapple with strawberries, blue berries, kiwi, and hot fudge on it. There is nothing wrong with enjoying yourself once in a while.

    I love golf and will try to get out a few times per month during the warmer weather. If I died tomorrow, my wife will be set with the insurance payout, so I figure I might as well enjoy a little bit of fun now and then.

  • My splurge is traveling. It makes me happy and I love trying new things.

  • Yes – chocolate covered marshmellows from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. 4 bucks a pop, but so, so yummy!

  • About once a week we go to Yogoberry, which I’m guessing is similar to Orange Leaf. It costs about $15, doesn’t break our budget at all and it’s totally worth it each and every time. They have those punch cards so every 6 we buy, we get one free. There are three of us so we get a free yogurt on every 3rd trip which is pretty good.

  • I have never heard it put that way before but I would have to say that carrot is my wife’s crack. She are actually one of the lucky few. Sure your food expense increased but fuel spending went down so you are almost balanced. For many others this wouldn’t be the case.

  • PFM

    Splurges? what’s that? ;)
    it’s way too easy to splurge with kids, they love Chick-fil-a and going to Panera (aka the bagel store), Panera is also my wife’s favorite stop for coffee & a lite lunch. A frozen yogurt place opened 1 mile from us recently, it is like crack, it costs about $15 every time we stop there so I’m trying to save going there as a special treat.

  • Even though I’m working from home now and my coffee pot is *right there* I still go and grab a coffee a few times a week. It’s just nice to have the reason to get up and leave the house, get dressed, etc. It’s such a small expense, I’m OK with it.

    And really, as long as you guys are healthy and can afford it, I don’t see any problem with you guys going out to eat more often. I mean, who cares? We all have our things, right, and life is to be enjoyed! :)

    Oh, and not that you *should* get off the frozen yogurt train, but in case you want a change, have you tried that one-ingredient ice cream recipe that’s been going around? It’s literally just pureed frozen bananas but it’s amazing. I’ve become completely addicted to it! It’s really similar to frozen yogurt or soft serve ice cream. Check it: http://www.broketo.ca/2012/02/recipe-raspberry-chocolate-sundae.html

  • This sounds like lifestyle inflation. :) I do not like to go out during the week, probably it conflicts with my schedule or routine. I also find that dining out too often conflicts with a a more routine diet. Two time a week (Friday & SAturday) is my limit.

  • our splurge is also food. We don’t eat out that often but we do spend money on quality food ingredients to cook at home. We spend on the things we love and that make us happy, and cut ruthlessly on the things that don’t.

  • Ramona

    Life’s too short not to enjoy. Just bump up your food budget & all will be well. Hmm…isn’t your blog called Budgeting in the Fun Stuff? Totally!

  • SO $500 covers groceries AND eating out? We use those as two different categories, but I think adding them is a great idea, because some months you eat out more and spend less on groceries and vice versa.

  • Hah.. too funny, Crystal.

    We all have our version of “Orange Leaf frozen yogurt”.

    Lucky for me, I’ve convinced myself that Yoplait Yogurts and “Think Thin” protein bars are my necessities. Great coupons are available for both of these right now.

    Coincidence?. Probably not.

  • I splurge on cars. I am in the top 1% of income earners in America so that’s how I justify it. http://www.iam1percent.com

  • Now that you’re both working at home, those excursions to the frozen yogurt place will feel like necessities so you don’t get cabin fever! One thing you could do is take a midday walk (either together or separately depending on whether you’re driving each other crazy) instead of making food the reason you get out of the house.

  • We splurge on eating. We also have a wine budget because that’s what my husband does for a living, and he needs to buy wine in order to study. (It’s true, as ridiculous as it sounds).

  • Frozen Yogurt is an okay addiction in my book! It’s sure beats my ice cream addiction.

  • I struggle with food-socializing at work. Lately I’ve been pretty good at saying “I brought my lunch but I’ll take a walk with you” but for a while I’d just go buy some nutso $10 burger “for the conversation.”

  • I discovered fro-yo on a recent trip to Wichita, and I wish there was a shop here. I settle with Coldstone Creamery, but I would much rather get a fro-yo fix!

  • I splurge on DD…OMG my wife and I love dunkin donuts.. WE also drink it while we drive around and hope the 2 little ones in the back go to sleep. I just started my personal finance blog to rid ourselves some of our vices and hopefully get our financial situation turned around!

  • ODWO

    A justified splurge? Hmmm.

    Ahhh. Dry Red wine (as Kris above mentioned). I comb the shelves in many places for the ones (and years) I like.

    And, Organic Teas from Arbor tea (mail order) … or teas from the local Farmers market (Georgia’s). I consider this a mini-splurge … since I don’t drink coffee, and stopped drinking soda’s (Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pep) many months ago. Especially Rooibus Red Tea.

  • Lattes and desserts. My HUGE weakness. That’s why I cannot lose weight!

  • We have the same sort of place here in Portland. I always describe it as “if Willy Wonka had a kid sister, it would be Tartberry!” Totally addicted. However, my real splurge would be gas money to get to the mountain for skiing or beer for after skiing…

  • FroYo as crack? That’s a hoot, but I know what you mean. I am almost convinced that carbohydrates call out to me from every corner, much like the ring in Fellowship of the Ring.

    I do like the way you have adjusted your budget in light of the change to you and your husband’s job situations.

    You may already be doing this, but you could walk the distance to Orange Leaf…get a bit of exercise in while feeding your addiction!

  • Hey! If you really enjoy these meals out and treats – then go for it! If it is more a matter of convenience because you are swamped under, there are alternatives you may not have considered. How about investing in a slow cooker – these are so easy – throw in the ingredients and 8-10 hours later you have a pretty decent (and nutritional) meal waiting for you! I have actually just invested in a vitamix blender, which is great for making raw soups etc. You could offset the going out with ultra-healthy food a couple of times a week :)

  • I’ve always had a place in my heart for Frozen Yogurt, since the late 80s when we had Penguin Yogurts everywhere. It’s hard to, because you think it’s healthy. I second Savvy Scot’s vote for a super blender. We have a blendtec, I’ve had a vitamix, and you can make great ice creams, fro yos, and blended drinks in there. Best of all you know exactly what goes in there.

    You actually have a pretty conservative food budget according to the government statistics, if you’re happy, healthy, and making your goals, I think a splurge is good.

  • If you can afford it and it’s not hurting your waistline, why not splurge?

    We eat a ton of fresh fruits & vegetables, lean meats, and dairy (two growing boys = lots of milk!). I do my best to keep our food bill under control, and we rarely eat out, but in the end, I’d rather spend a little extra on good quality, healthy food instead of going out to the movies (or someting similar).

    As for Fro-Yo, we don’t have the self serve ones here, but I read about them with envy… YUM!

  • Congratulations! Paying off your mortgage by June, saving for you and the Mister, and being able to enjoy the little things in life- you got it right! I guess it pays to be financially smart, in the long run you get to live the life you love, and love the life you live!

  • @Shondell, I love travelling too. I am planning at least 2-3 more trips this year to crash at fellow bloggers’ homes in other states. :-)

    @Faith, wow, $240 is awesome! And at least your hobby of cycling is uber-healthy. :-)

    @cashflowmantra, mmmm…kiwi…yummy.

    @Michelle, me too – my other splurge, lol. I have a bunch now that I think about it…

    @Ellen, sounds delicious!

    @Jana, buy 6 is awesome, we get $1 off for every $10 spent…yours is way better!

    @Thomas, carrots are a very healthy crack. ;-)

    @PFM, Panera’s cinnamon crunch bagels with that special cream cheese icing is yet another form of crack…

    @Melissa, and frozen bananas are actually 0 points on Weight Watchers…cool beans.

    @krantcents, not a wild child, huh? ;-)

    @DJ, I need to start cutting back on the not-so-importants more ruthlessly…

    @Ramona, lol, right on!

    @Newlyweds, it’s technically $300 on groceries and $200 on eating out, but as long as the total was hitting $500, we didn’t mind…now that’s about $700…

    @Jeff, maybe I need to convince myself that sugar free jello is crack…

    @Jake, that’s the second time you’ve pointed that out…I hope that is not the only interesting aspect of yourself…

    @frugalportland, I do sometimes just get up and walk the neighborhood…feels good. :-)

    @Kris, that is an awesome business expense though!

    @Mark, that is what I had before and yes, this is totally better. :-)

    @Nick, I did that too for like a year – good luck!

    @Christa, I am sure there will be one there soon. Yummy things spread fast.

    @Christopher, I miss my kolache and donut addiction. Every once in a while (like every 2 months or so), I will say “screw the Weight Watchers” and get myself a few treats from my favorite mom and pop donut shop down the street…

    @ODWO, I didn’t know you were into teas, cool!

    @Aloysa, do not get me started on what brownies and cookies can do to me…

    @Jenna, Tartberry is a cool name. Have fun skiing!

    @Thad P, we have walked it before, but it wasn’t very safe – no sidewalk and the shoulder on some parts of the way was crazy narrow. But I do make sure to play more at the gym if we go 3 times a week…

    And yes, sometimes carbs call me like in LotR too…

    @Savvy, we have a slow cooker we use for soups sometimes. We aren’t too swamped – just give into our cravings alot…

    @Andi B, I know this is bad, but I am one of the few people left it seems that really doesn’t care what’s in my food as long as I don’t get fat or sick immediately. I know that I should care, it just isn’t something I worry about. That may haunt me later in life…

    But I do love my uber-blender (our Magic Bullet) – I make smoothies at home with bananas, strawberries, milk, and Splenda. :-)

    @Kris, if a self-serve yogurt shop opens up near you, be careful…

    @Kelly, thanks! So far, so good. :-)

  • I love frozen yogurt! We go quite often!

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