It’s funny how easy it is to spend too much money. Ever since my wife and I finished paying for our wedding, we have felt like we have all this extra money and we didn’t have to be so careful with our spending.

Then we decided to buy a new house and we had to get back to saving as much money as possible. We are in the process of taking the first steps to saving money, which for us always starts with spending less money eating out.

It’s funny how easy it is to get in a mindset to eat out, particularly at lunch. Here’s an example of what might go through my head at the grocery store:

My Grocery Store Mindset

In the fresh veggies isle: I don’t want to buy any of this stuff, it’ll go bad before I eat it all.

In the meats isle: I could buy some ground beef, but I’d probably just make spaghetti and all those carbs aren’t healthy.

In the frozen dinner isle: If I eat these every day my heart will explode. No way I can have these for lunch.

These are all very valid reasons not to buy certain things at the store. At least they appear to be. They certainly had me convinced for quite a while. This type of reasoning has resulted in me buying only enough food for the meal I’m planning to make the next day, and invariably leads to me spending $8-$15 on some kind of unhealthy fast food option.

Why would I turn up my nose at a $2.50 TV dinner or homemade spaghetti for being too unhealthy, but then spend $5.00 at McDonalds?

Why would I be worried about spending $4 on some fresh veggies that might go bad, when I would spend $12 on a “healthy” meal at a sit down restaurant.

It’s important to pull back the curtains on the excuses and find the real motivation behind my grocery store trips. Here it is:

I don’t want to buy food for lunch because if I don’t have food to bring for lunch then I can just go out to eat.

Once I recognize the true motivation for avoiding grocery store purchases, I can ignore that voice inside my head and start making the right choices for my wallet and my waistline.

My Money Saving Mindset

Now at the grocery store I have a very different mindset. It goes something like this:

Is this relatively inexpensive? Is it healthier than McDonalds? Will I eat it? If the answer to all 3 questions is “yes”, then buy it.

This mindset is much more simple.

Readers: What kind of crappy reasoning have you used to convince yourself a poor financial decision is actually a good one?