Here's how my time crunch sprinted into a money crunch:
Step One: One night, low on time and energy, I fixed a frozen pizza and made a fresh salad for dinner.
Step Two: Running even lower on time and energy, I bought a bag of pre-washed, pre-cut salad and a frozen pizza.
Step Three: (Weeks later) I called the neighborhood pizza place and ordered a takeout meal: a large pie and a gourmet salad.
Step Four: Too exhausted to stand in line for takeout, I had a pizza and salad delivered to my home. The bill included a delivery charge and a tip for the driver.
Step Five: Six weeks later: I was eating out or ordering in several times a week.
My personal finance intervention has involved a slower pace and deliberate meal planning. Slowing down gives me time to plan frugal menus based on weekly supermarket sales.
Here's my new process:
Step One: Write a one-week menu plan based on ingredients that I already own and the sale items listed in the weekly flyer.
Step Two: Shop for groceries on Sunday afternoon.
Step Three: Cooking marathon. Yesterday, for example, I prepared several main dishes for the work week ahead: spaghetti and meatballs, a large pot of vegetable-and-bean soup, rice and beans (from scratch).
Victory at the finish line: Tonight -- one day after my cooking marathon -- fixing dinner was a snap. I even had time to blog and bake cookies.
Lesson 2 from my frugal recovery: Time is worth way more than money.