I’ve been writing about personal finance for over two years now. I’ve been running numbers, finding out the smartest ways to pay down debt. On multiple occasions I’ve identified places where I spend too much money (like on eating out). And in many instances I’ve recognized a problem and done nothing about it.

Why worry about spending too much money on eating out? I was still paying all my bills, contributing 6% to my 401k, and saving a heck of a lot more money which was used to pay off student loans and then to save for a theoretical house.

Then I got engaged and everything changed.

Now I know I need to save money because I have a wedding to pay for. I may be buying a house in the near future as well, which means I need to pay for the down payment, repairs, updates, and anything else. If I get a house then I want to adopt a dog, which also costs money. And then after Tag and I are married we will eventually start having kids which (you guessed it) costs money.

Spending a hundreds of dollars a month at restaurants and fast food places wasn’t a big deal 8 days ago. It all changed when I got engaged.

We Are Shedding for the Wedding (and the rest of our lives)

Tag and I made a decision after we got engaged that we can’t eat out anymore. Not only is it too expensive, but we can’t do that to our bodies. Our wedding pictures are going to last forever. We’re going to have those pictures in our house for the rest of our lives, and we darn well better look good in them.

The more we eat out, the harder it will be for us to get to our ideal weight for the wedding and the harder it will be for us to save up enough money for the wedding and the house.

Then once we get married and have kids, the costs of eating out (both financial and health related) are multiplied even more.

That means I actually have to start cooking. This past week I’ve cooked Mexican (shredded chicken with taco seasoning, great for tacos, burritos, and salads), Italian (ground turkey with arrabbiata sauce, served with wheat pasta), and Beef Stew (I added garlic, took out the mushrooms, and substituted beef broth for water in this recipe). Overall I had delicious and relatively healthy meals at a fraction of the cost of what I usually pay to eat out.

my beef stew

Here are the leftovers of my delicious beef stew.

True Motivation Changes Your Life

I was never really motivated to change my habits because the only reason to change was theoretical. I knew I would get married and have a house one day, but that stuff wasn’t tangible until I got engaged. All of a sudden I really have a family and a house to prepare for, and I need to start preparing NOW!

Readers: Do you have true motivation for your financial and life goals?