I’m spending $500 a month on food and I have to stop

This is a repost blog.

Original posts by u/mits66 on r/EatCheapandHealthy and other subs on Reddit

20 Dec 2021: I’m spending $500 a month on food and I have to stop

I’m trying to join this subreddit for motivation and ideas on how to kick a fast food addiction. Thanks to a recent medical bill (my appendix is shit) I’m in debt with medical bills and $300-$400 in drive-thru food is a problem, let alone the change my doc wanted to my diet to combat the problem that caused my appendix to peace out. I’m committed to stop but I am realizing what kind of addictive behavior I’ve landed myself in. My favorite drive-thrus are all on my way from work and I’ve caught myself a few times auto-piloting in and not realizing until I’ve got the food in my car. Any ideas/encouragement is welcome as I try to get back into a good diet and pay down my bills.

Helpful comments:


All of the other comments suggest ways to cook for yourself and they are all good to make the landing softer once you kick the fast food habit, but I think the fast food habit is your biggest hurdle.

I suggest dramatically changing your home from work routine. Depending on the distance, maybe you could bike to work or take public transit. If these are available, it would be healthier and short circuit the autopilot aspect of your habit. You could also consider taking some extra food to work with you to eat just before you leave. This might prevent the hunger craving before it starts. Even a small amount of calories can tell your brain that food isn’t needed. You could try something as simple as chewing gum while you drive. Having something in your mouth might subconsciously prevent you from getting food. Try to outsmart your brain to break your habit. Pair this with good recipes and you should be successful.


Congrats! You’ve already succeeded in the first step which is finding out how much you are spending each month on fast food. That’s a great piece of data to have because you can’t manage what you don’t measure.

You can tackle changing the behavior from a few directions:
- change your current routine: can you take a different way home from work? can you leave your money at home so you can’t buy fast food? put notes in your car listing the reasons why you no longer want to get fast food as much
- create a new routine: start cooking more at home, look for replacement recipes of your favorite fast foods items, look at blogs like Budget Bytes to find new recipes you might like, etc.
- feed your brain too: read about changing habits and find a system that will work for you, try mindfulness or visualization, reduce any negative self talk you have, find a way to remember that you’ve got one body to get you through this life so treat it kindly

You have it within you to improve your life in any way you see fit and there are so many ways to make it happen. Try a few things and see what happens, if you don’t like the outcome, try a few other things. Imagine you’re a scientist experimenting to find the best way to change.

At the end of the day it’s about trying new things to make new habits while you make the old habits harder to do each day. Eventually you find yourself doing something new and healthy. Best of luck, let us know how it goes!

20 Nov 2022: It’s been a year since I realized I needed to change my eating habits, thought I might share an update

Hello all. A year ago, I posted on this sub that I was spending $500 a month on food (mostly fast food), and was looking for advice. I thought I might give an update on my (bit of) success.

My food bills are down to around $250 a month. I have taken a lot of recommendations from that post, and have reduced my fast food to twice a week (breakfast and dinner on Fridays). I know it’s not perfect, but believe me, it’s a huge improvement from where I was before.

I took a lot of your home-cooking suggestions, and now have actual fresh vegetables and a bit of meat in my fridge. I’m not making healthy meals every night, because if my brain had to decide between McDonalds, pizza rolls, and a healthy home cooked meal - it wants the McDonalds lol, but I have managed to instead go with pizza rolls on those days. I am slowly upping my skill with cooking to phase this out though.

I have started prepping breakfasts for the week on Sundays so I don’t grab breakfast on the way, and I now have a snack bag at work so I don’t get tempted by fast food on the way home. So I just need to work on prepping lunch and dinner more now (I have instant meals at work at the moment, but I’ve been experimenting with freezer prep).

I’d like to thank everyone who commented on my post a year ago, and I appreciate that it was all supportive and really trying to help me with this problem. I am still working to improve both my diet and my budget, but at least I can say that I’ve made progress.


Remember, this is a repost blog! If you comment here, the original poster is not going to see it.

September 1, 2023