No Restaurants in November 2011

Recently, I ran a poll about what challenges you the most about becoming debt free and I thought the results were great. There were 70 voters total and the results can be found here. Today, I want to talk about one of the TOP 5 challenges picked by you and am excited to bring back something I did last year that was very popular.

Of course I’m talking about my No Restaurants in November challenge! According to my EOD Poll, 37% of you picked EATING OUT as one of the five things that challenged you the most about becoming debt free. I can definitely relate and believe it or not, even though I had great success last year, this is still one of my greatest struggles.

Here’s a recap of just how well we did in last years challenge.

Last October we spent on average, about $263 per week ($1052.11/month) on food and $497.22 of that was on EATING OUT!

November’s challenge helped us cut our food spending to about $132 a week and saved us $524.25 based on October’s food cost.

This year I want to do as good or better! What about you?

Are you down for another EOD Challenge??

The Rules of the Road

  • Eating out consists of buying any food from any place that could have been made at home.
  • In other words, everything you eat or drink will have to come from the grocery store — no exceptions!
  • No snack machines, or convenient store foods or snacks. (For us this would include Starbucks Coffee, because we can make coffee at home much cheaper.)
  • Specifically track your grocery spending on paper. (Record EVERY dollar spent on food.)
  • Save as much as you can! Track and record your savings each and every week! (also on paper)
  • Editor’s Note: If your business meals and eating out costs are due to traveling with your company, it does not count against you in this challenge. If you are not paying for those meals, or are reimbursed, you can still take my challenge and succeed!

How much can you save for the month of November? FIND OUT!

If you’re ready to seriously challenge yourself and push yourself in the name of saving money I want to encourage you to do this with me. Last year I received many emails from people after this challenge letting me know that although they may not have completed it perfectly they still saved money.

Let’s save some money in November!! If you’re interested in giving this a try leave a comment below and look for my post coming on November 1st to launch this year’s No Restaurants in November Challenge!!

If you’re a fellow blogger and want to share this challenge with your readers please do. Let me know and I’ll link to your post on November 1st.


About Brad Chaffee

38 Responses to “No Restaurants in November 2011”

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  1. Kristen says:

    Awesome. Just last night my partner and I were discussing a personal ban on restaurant and fast food for November as a way to try saving money. I’m in!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      I know the feeling! Last week we ate out (we were out of town) so much and I just feel burned out from restaurants and how much it costs us. Looking to save BIG in November! Good luck and let’s save some money! πŸ˜€

  2. Jerri Lyn says:


    Sure, eating out is my #1 budget-buster, but now you want me to put my money where my mouth is?

    I’ll try, I really will. And even if I’m not 100% successful, every day I succeed is a bonus. I hope you blog often about it in November since that will keep me motivated.

    Thanks for the challenge! I’m looking forward to it.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Hahhahhaaa! <— That's my evil laugh. πŸ˜€

      The best part about what you said is that even if you're not 100% successful, each day that you are will be a bonus. Awesome way to look at it! Trust me, this isn't that easy for me either but usually the first week is the hardest. Try your absolute hardest on week one and I promise you will do better than you ever imagined possible. You may even surprise yourself! I'll be blogging about it once a week to keep everyone motivated and to allow you to check-in.

      And don't worry. Last year not many people did it perfectly but those thatr tried did better than they thought they would. You are going to do GREAT! πŸ˜€

  3. Ashley says:

    I would love to do this challenge. I’ll talk to my husband but I really doubt he will go for it. I’ll be cheering everyone on from the sidelines though!!!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      I hope you can do it Ashley! Figure out a way to give your hubby some incentive to at least try. It’ll be fun and maybe he could take 25% of the savings to get something he’s been wanting. Lol that way you’ll still have 75% left to use for Christmas. πŸ™‚

  4. Your no restaurant challenge last year was one of the first things I latched onto when I entered the world of Twitter and the personal finance blogosphere. I can’t believe it’s been a whole year already!

    I’m SO IN.

    I’m gonna try my absolute hardest to stay away from restaurants all month…if nothing else, I’ll greatly reduce the restaurant expenditures.

    In fact, I’m gonna sweeten the pot for me. I’ve got a desktop computer that I’m about to shut down because it’s literally almost 10 years old – it’s good for nothing but eating electricity. I don’t know why It took me this long to move my email over to my laptop.

    My laptop is newer, but also near the end of it’s life. The ‘8’ & ‘U’ keys are constantly comes off and the fan makes a horrible noise occasionally.

    The net is…I need a new computer. Can I save enough from not eating out to buy a new one????

    We’ll see!

    • Jerri Lyn says:

      What a great idea! I think I could easily fall into the category of “I need to replace this thing but I don’t have the money” and then cave in to the instant gratification of eating out instead of saving that money for (insert need here.)

      That sounds like a great way to keep yourself focused!

  5. Lisa says:

    Even if you indulge in Restaurant-brand frozen food you’ll save money! Actually learning to cook will not only let you save money, but will put you off ever paying for a lousy over-priced chain restaurant meal again in your life! Save the bucks and indulge once or twice a year on a REAL restaurant!!Better yet, have a fabulous meal at home and laugh all the way to the bank!

    Save with packing your lunch—once you get it down to a system you’ll question your sanity for ever eating anything handed to you thru a drive-up window!

    If you need help the internet is the world’s largest cookbook!

    Tons of bloggers also show step-by-step how to cook.

    And “Menu Plan Monday” and similar blog events help you learn meal planning and grocery shopping. “Money Saving Mom” and numerous other blogs match coupons to store sales. Use the Internet–it will help you cook and save money!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Great tips! thanks for sharing them. this year I hope to write about things to make this challenge easier and your ideas give me something to start with. thanks again. You doing the challenge too?

  6. but, but, but, but that docent include Jamba Juice right. I mean I can definitely cut out all restaurants and fas food joints but I can keep Jamba Juice a couple time a week right? I mean I just got the mayorship on foursquare…

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Haha! Ultimately you have to decide that. I’d say if that’s the only thing you allow yourself and you eliminate restaurants then you should still benefit from the money you’ll save. The more you give up the better. I just want to encourage and challenge people to save some extra cash and deal with one of the most budget busting things EVER. LOL (I know I spend WAY TOO MUCH eating out so this challenge is as much for me as the readers. πŸ˜€

  7. Jennifer says:

    I have decided to give up restaurants for November. Now this doesn’t include the college cafeteria, because I don’t classify that as a restaurant. I will give up the Java Joint in the library although. I just challenge all of facebook, google plus, and twitter friends also.

  8. Im most definately down. I just went over my budget gor october on my ynab ( and I lowered my budget for november so forget it ill lower it to $0 now. Game on!

  9. I actually did a food challenge for the whole month of September. I didn’t do the complete eating out thing like your doing here, but mine was “No fast food, and no sodas for an entire month”. It was a little rough at first, but after the first week I was thinking, wow I drink way too much soda.

    This is not only a great challenge for your wallet, but for your health too. Restaurants and fast food places cook with so much preservatives and sodium. Once you stop eating it for awhile you will REALLY begin to notice how salty everything is.

    This is a great idea/challenge! I can’t wait to hear how it turns out for you all.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Thanks for the support Carrie! πŸ™‚ I can’t wait to get started. Last year was a big success so I’m hoping this year will be even better. Sure you don’t want to give it another try? πŸ˜€

      I’d love it if you could help spread the word about this to people who might be interested in saving a little extra Christmas money this year. πŸ˜€

  10. This is LONG overdue for me. With moving twice in 6 weeks, my budget has been busted! Eating out was a HUGE chunk of that money.

    I’m totally in! I warned the kids today and they seemed to take it well. My 8 year old son’s concern was “mom does that mean no more McDonald’s Cokes?” *GASP* it so does! And I’m a total addict! I think it’s a good time to break the habit all together.

    Working on a blog post for this now. Hopefully I’ll have a link for you tomorrow Brad.

  11. Kathy says:

    I’m IN!
    Even though I just cam back from Starbucks this morning….
    I just now found your challenge and I’m in!
    Tomorrow is a new day!

  12. Kathleen says:

    I am disqualified before you begin… because WaWa is sometimes my grocery store… some things are some times cheaper there than Safeway or Giant. I rarely buy prepared, ready-to-eat foods at WaWa, but I do get milk, soda, a few other things. Also, 11/14/11 is a marathon doctor day and Mom and I are already planning our quarterly stop at Burger King between the visits. She’ll probably pay, but it is not in the spirit of your challenge!

    Good luck to all the challengers! Go forth and cook your own good food! πŸ™‚

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      I’m guessing WaWa is a convenient store? If so, I would actually say if you can get anything cheaper at a convenient store GO FOR IT! I certainly wouldn’t count it against you. this challenge is referring mainly to quick foods and snacks that you would buy instead of make at home, but also a convenient store is usually so much more.

      For the record, this isn’t an ALL OR NOTHING challenge. I would rather people go out to eat once and try to challenge themselves for the rest of the month than not challenging themselves at all. No one is really disqualified. I want to encourage people to do their best and save some money while their at it. πŸ˜€ join in it will be fun.

      • Kathleen says:

        WaWa is a convenience store, generally attached to a gas station – with the regular pick up and eat fare as well as a deli counter for subs and such. Six packs of soda and gallons of milk are generally cheaper there when there is no sale at a grocery store. They sell fountain soda and individual bottles, but I don’t get those. I buy two six-packs of Diet Pepsi periodically and get a free cup of ice if I wanted to drink a soda then.

        I’m up for the challenge. My savings will be small because I rarely eat out much anyway — an occasional McDouble for a dollar, perhaps a once a month deli sandwich at work. Working from home 2 – 3 days a week helps keep the temptation at bay as well! πŸ˜‰

        • Brad Chaffee says:

          Wow, that’s pretty amazing that a convenient store (who generally have higher mark-up) would beat out grocery store prices. I can honestly say there’s no way 7-11 (our local convenient store) would ever come close to having milk for under $3. haha!

          Glad to have ya giving this a shot, and even though you don’t eat out much the principles of sacrifice in the name of saving money expands to all areas of our financial life. I an think of a few things like this I could give up that would save me some money each month. for me, this one is the biggest though. πŸ˜€

          Good luck Kathleen! πŸ˜€

  13. P Murphy says:

    I’m in. I started the challenge yesterday. I’m going to try to blog everyday starting today about this challenge and about my adventure towards being debt free. Good Luck to all of the challengers.

  14. Ellen says:

    My friend and I were eating out every week, and were wanting to go do some fun stuff that was a little expensive. So I suggested that every time we ate in, instead of eating out, we could each contribute $5 to our entertainment fund–we already have $50 in about a month!

  15. Tricia Kolsto says:

    I am starting late as I just read it but I will take the challenge.


  16. Stacy says:

    We very rarely eat out. Tomorrow we are going to Applebee’s but it will cost us less than $5 because we are both veterans and we get to eat for free. That is about the only time that we go out. to dinner. I cook almost everything we eat from scratch. We don’t really buy meat either because we hunt for most of our meat. I actually got a moose this year so we have enough meat for about 2 years.

  17. Amanda says:

    Yesterday I finally tracked down where I am spending my money and I realized I WAS spending way too much on dining out and entertainment! I am a university student with one more year to go so my goal is to graduate debt-free, and No-Restaurant November is challenge #1. I’m in!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Awesome Amanda! Be sure to catch my updates each and every Monday! πŸ˜€

      • Amanda says:

        Thanks Brad! This is my first time visiting your site and I’ve already been on for a half hour browsing your articles – what an awesome resource! I’m taking a look at your budget spreadsheets to see if they can help me get better organized also… Time to get back in control and I’m so excited! Something tells me I’ll be on this site regularly πŸ™‚

        • Brad Chaffee says:

          That’s good to know Amanda and thank you for the wonderful compliments! I am in the process of making it so much better which explains the “mess” on my homepage. I have a lot of work to do but my goal is to make EOD the number one site for people who want to gain control of their money and pay off debt but also deal with the psychological aspects of money as opposed to just the math. πŸ˜€

          email me at anytime if you have any questions. πŸ™‚

  18. ok so…. I spent $7.32 so i failed technically. but i did save $216 over the previous month. so i will be continuing this for sure!!

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