Last month we were pretty successful with the whole "no eating out" thing. At least in that we did not go out to a restaurant and sit down to a meal. We ate lunch out once or twice and we picked up takeout twice. Not bad for a whole month! After talking it over, D and I decided that we like cooking at home better. And by "we" I meant D does all the cooking and I clean up afterward. It's such a great system. Sometimes I play the part of sous chef but mostly I lounge on the couch with a book while he prepares me a great feast. Then he stands around and talks to me or serenades me on the guitar while I do the dishes. I'm a big fan of this system. Anyway, we're going to try to continue the challenge through March. We went out to dinner last weekend because there was a place right around the corner from my apartment that we'd specifically been wanting to try for a while. It was delicious, make no mistake, but not any better than something D could have whipped up. It was also oodles more expensive. I know we'll eat out a bunch while we're in Texas (I have a LIST of places I want to take him) but other than that I think we're going to continue with the current theme. Eating out will only be a once-in-a-while special-occasion thing.
I'm considering trying the Debt Snowball Method for paying off my student loan debt. I've managed to pay off an extraordinary amount of my student loan debt since I graduated last June (because I live like a pauper and put every spare cent towards loans and savings) but I still have what feels like so far to go. I have two loans, a Unsubsidized Stafford Loan and a Subsidized Stafford Loan. There isn't that much of a difference, but as far as I can tell, Subsidized loans are awarded on the basis of financial need. You don't get charged any interest before you begin repaying the loan because the federal government subsidizes the interest during this time. Unsubsidized loans charge interest from the time the money is first disbursed until it is paid in full. The interest is capitalized, meaning that you pay interest on any interest that has already accrued. One way to minimize how much interest accrues is to pay the interest as it accumulates. So I feel like if I pay off all my interest on the unsubsidized loan (which so far is only like, $50) and then work on paying that one off ASAP, that I'll feel like I have made actual progress towards paying off my loan. I mean, it's hard to put one's entire damn tax refund towards student loan payments and still feel like you have so far to go. Does anyone else have any suggestions? Navigating loan repayment is so complicated!