Although it’s not the true end of the month, I thought I would check in with my experience of my self imposed challenge not to eat out for a month!
1. I was innovative, with packing everything for a two day road trip. So I know I can be ‘frugal’ and skip eating out. (I will summarise grocery costs at the true end of the month, and see if there’s been a noticeable increase, and probably update this post with more info).
2. I did cheat. There were a handful of take away coffees (some even in single use take away cups!). There was one breach in the first weekend, and then two breaches the following two weekends. I also went out with my next door neighbour for Vietnamese. I didn’t want to reject her suggestion (it’s our first ‘date’), and cooking at home wasn’t practical with going to open houses on the same night. Last night I got sushi from the sushi place outside the grocery store – so it’s sort of out, and sort of not?!
3. My boyfriend was on board (but bored!). He encouraged me to stick at it (like last night! He cooked nachos, but I didn’t want nachos). Though it’s become a common placeto say ‘we’ll do that/go there in August’. Bring on August and some dates!
4. I did buy some ready made meals from the grocery store, such as garlic bread, soups and (freezer) pizzas. I’d like to move away from processed foods, as I’ve mentioned before, but it’s just too hard sometimes to balance all the things you want to do, with LIFE! So I gave myself leave passes.
5. I’ve certainly spent less money, with every week having some of my weekly allowance still in my wallet. That being said, I’ve spent way more than a usual month as I outlined here, and more recently with the rental bond and that sort of thing.
Overall, it was an interesting challenge. I proved to myself that I can cook at home, and eat at home, and it’s not all that taxing, though I do occasionally take short cuts with ready made meals. It is a little more socially challenging to not eat out, and my relationship with my colleague seems less strong after missing our weekly lunch date. Actually, in light of my role change, a few one on one lunches might have been better to keep the relationship strong, even though I’m ‘jumping ship’.
On the whole, I don’t think I’ll re-do this challenge for the sake of it. It’s good to know I can tighten the belt, but it’s all been a bit too much of a challenge in these later weeks of the month, with all the moving plans.
13 Replies to “July Challenge: No eating out”
I agree with you that it would be a good challenge and nice to know you can do it, but life intervenes! As you've seen, food is the basis of a lot of social contact (bf, neighbour, coworker) and you could feel unfriendly or out-of-the-loop if you don't participate. On the other hand, it makes me empathize with people who can't afford to eat out, and what they are missing out on.
You nailed my whole post in a comment!
The thing I like about this challenge is that it's strengthening a skill-set, so you'll have it if you need it (e.g. if you do ever want to tighten the budget to meet a goal etc.) But that said, being in your 20s is a time you can eat-out without excessive costs, compared to say, a family with 3 kids eating out. Enjoy!!
I do agree that 'now is the time' and I've also met a lot of my savings and money management targets I'd set myself. But it is good to know I can cut out eating out if I need to (not that I'd ever WANT to!)
Great job! Cooking, eating at home and packing lunches all the time can get a bit boring and I know the feeling! I stopped eating out completely, I've never been into take out food so that's an easy one to skip on, but I am guilty of occasionally buying ready made meals on my lunch breaks… packing lunches every day is no fun!! 😉
I think variety is the key! It's certainly financially beneficial as well as better for your health to eat out less though
I'd also like to move away from processed foods, and sometimes I really, really don't want to eat frozen meals, but am left with no choice. I still have to get the hang of cooking after being spoiled by my mom for so many years. We're making decent progress, but I want to eat healthier and spend less.
I am pretty sure I have gone a month without eating out for the most part, as I've been trying to avoid fast food. When my boyfriend is hungry his usual solution is Burger King or Wendy's and I pass. Pizza is my weakness, though. I think you did a great job all things considered – while moving, preparing meals is the last thing on your mind!
Getting the hang of cooking quick and easy things is the key! I still follow recipes largely, but it means I get to cook and try a variety of things. The bf on the other hand, is great at just 'whipping something up' (so pleased to have this skill in my house!!). But some days, prepared meals are a saving grace! He's adamant we'll get to the end of July without eating out, but once Aug comes, it's on like Donkey Kong!
I think you did a great job. You are young and eating out has social implications for you that aren't as big as for someone my age. I do have to wonder about your co-worker who you say your relationship has changed as a result of your challenge, is there another activity the two of you could enjoy together that wouldn't have to revolve around a lunch date?
I did ask the colleague to come with me as I walked around the block to mail a letter. We talk a lot about our lives outside of work, so this gave him a chance to 'download'. We used to go to site together (back when we had little work, and lots of time on our hands) but now days that might seem weird, seeing we can confidently work alone… I suppose I just feel mindful of my job change + not eating out making things less transparent as I'd usually be.
I think you did a great job 🙂 It is hard to avoid eating out socially – I find that I'm eating out more now that I live alone, just to see people.
I totally agree with you – and I lived alone for about half of the time I've had my place! But I think eating out can also be a challenge with food restrictions, which I'm going to post about soon. I'm going to try and get serious about being gluten free, amongst other things.