It’s time for another challenge!
Several months ago we decided to set some challenges for ourselves and our readers. These challenges are to help motivate us do to a better job in a specific area of our lives.
Previously we had the finish everything challenge. The challenge was to finish whatever you start for an entire month. No leaving projects part way through. No starting if there wasn’t time to finish. This was hard, but it made us really think about how we were using our time and helped us prioritize our daily tasks.
No Eating Out Challenge
This month is the No Eating Out Challenge. Basically we have to cook all of our own food. This is not too much of a challenge, because we don’t eat out too often.
Think about how often you go out to eat or order take out in a single month. For some people this is at least five times a week since they buy lunch every work day. Plus some people go out for dinner a few times a week or month and there is the occasional brunch or coffee date.
That is a lot of money spent on restaurant food. Believe me, I know how easy it is to order a pizza when your super tired from a long day. If you’re a hard worker with a lot on your plate, you’re probably tired everyday after work. You can’t justify ordering take out every night that you’re tired after work. You’ll go into debt because you are tired.
We actually don’t eat out that often. Less than five times a month is normal for us. Some months can be more than that because we go out of town or we’re super busy or maybe we have more gatherings with friends. For the most part we try to keep eating out to a minimum.
There is always room for improvement. I don’t think we have ever had a month when we didn’t go out to eat or order take out. I’m sure we have come close, but most likely on those months we were trying to make up for a previous month of doing a little too much eating out.
Take an honest look at your eating habits. You need to know the nature of the beast. Are you living in denial and don’t know how out of control things have gotten? Perhaps things aren’t as bad as you had imagined. Whatever the situation you need to be aware.
For those of you that cringe at the thought of a whole month without restaurant food, fear not. I have some tips for you to make it a little easier.
If you have a daily Starbucks habit, plus you buy lunch everyday cutting those out cold turkey may be too much for you at once. Instead decide to ditch one habit or limit the amount to twice a week. You’ll notice the reduction in spending after just a few days.
Another option would be to allow yourself to eat out or order take out if you have a gift card. I get a lot of restaurant gift cards for my birthday and I save them for dates with Mike. Sometimes we have multiple gift cards to a restaurant and that turns into a really nice meal. You could also use any gift money you have received. As long as the price of the meal doesn’t exceed the gift card amount you are good to go.
If you’ve decided that you’re going all in, but you don’t have any restaurant gift cards or birthday money you’ll need to do some planning. You’ll need to make a meal plan each week and you’ll have to go grocery shopping.
Planning and shopping doesn’t help if you don’t actually cook the food. If you don’t like to cook pick easy recipes to double and then you can eat left overs for lunch or for dinner a few nights. You can always buy some frozen dinners for the nights that you are exhausted after work.
Never underestimate the power of a bowl of cereal. There is something satisfying about five second prep and five second clean up. It’s our go to when we are tired and need dinner. A bowl or two of cereal and a piece of fruit and dinner is served.
If you routinely meet friends for drinks or Sunday brunch you may need to get creative to keep up your social gatherings. Suggest meeting to do something free or invite everyone over for a signature cocktail or host a potluck brunch. You can still hang out, but spend less money in the process.
You can always let your friends know that you are doing a no eating out challenge. They will hopefully be supportive of your decision and you never know, maybe a friend or two will decide to join you in this challenge.
Plan your days accordingly. If you will be running errands for a few hours on the weekend be sure to pack some snacks and water. If you get hungry while you are out and about you’ll have something to tide you over until you get home to make a meal.
With a little creativity and some planning you will be set to make it through a whole month of eating your own home cooking.
Take this challenge and enter to win a $25 Amazon gift card. Click on the Rafflecopter link below and follow the instructions listed with the giveaway for your chance to win. Of course come back here after the challenge to let us know how it went.
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