I found after tallying up trips to the store and restaurant items on my bank statement that I was spending a lot more than I thought in that area. Nothing provides more clarity than journal entries or bank statements!
It occurred to me that we can "nickel and dime" our way into the red, just as, bite by bite, we can loose awareness of what we're eating. My resolve was to change that pattern, so on my way home from work I purposely avoided a stop at the supermarket. I knew by walking in for one item, I'd come out with three or four more.
In my car, I already had a Japanese eggplant, an onion and a zucchini that I had picked out of a box of veggies harvested from a co-worker's garden. I had stir-fried some veggies the night before and spooned them over rice, so tonight I'd do the same thing but use linguini, instead of the rice. Here's what I love about this: to the diced vegetables, I added a can of diced tomatoes (Italian seasonings included) from my pantry and a few black olives and mushrooms from the fridge, cooked them for a few minutes, and then spooned it all over a bit of the pasta. A dash of Parmesan cheese and it was perfect!
I'm careful to save "a bit of this" and "a handful of that" in the fridge rather than tossing them down the garbage disposal for just these kinds of preps.
Turns out it didn't take much time, energy or money to make that meal!
That translates into money in the bank, not to mention the huge health advantages of eating simply!