Photo Credit: scott.eyre
Well November has come and gone! As most of you already know, I wanted to challenge myself — and you — to commit to not eating out at any restaurants at all for the month of November. So I started the No Restaurants in November Challenge.
Some were excited, some were pessimistic, and some even questioned the reality of doing such a thing. While I definitely consider it to be more realistic than some claim, I still see how different lifestyles could make it more difficult for someone to accomplish this. With that said, I say anything is possible, even if our normal day to day lives have to be reordered to make it possible.
For the most part, this challenge was only difficult the first week, mainly because it was a complete shock to our system. Quite frankly, we learned that we became lazy! Secondly, as with anything, when you see the direct benefit of your actions, it becomes much easier to manage the struggles.
You Can’t Please Everyone
I got an email recently, via contact form, from someone who apparently is not aware of my candid approach in sharing my opinion. As anyone who has spent any time at all on this site knows, I do not mince words, nor do I sugar coat my opinions because I think someone might get offended.
My goal is not to offend, it is to ignite a desire for you to try something different as well as to get you to realize the reality of your situation.
Most often, people are in denial about their situation because people, NOT like me, feel it is better to coddle a person so that their mistakes don’t seem as bad as they really are. It’s like they say: “The truth shall set you free!”
I feel I have learned the most when hearing what some consider offensive –the truth.
Here is a late email response to my post Two Weeks of No Restaurants and I’m Still Alive. I honestly do not see where I said anything that outrageous, other than pointing out that I didn’t think this challenge was unrealistic or extreme.
“Your last post struck a nerve with me. I feel you acted as if people who could not possibly do such a thing were stupid or lazy. I am a busy person and I know for certain that I could not go a whole month without eating out one single time. It is NOT realistic!” – Name Withheld
My response to Mr. Anonymous: Relax dude! Take a breather.
As you will see from most of my responses during this challenge to people who messed up, I simply wanted to motivate them to give this a try. I didn’t condemn them to hell for messing up, instead I encouraged them to continue on, and if anything by the end of the month, they would see a difference in the amount they saved because of it. That’s it.
Final Results Revealed
My results have been amazing. I knew we could do it because we did it when paying off debt, but to actually see the savings again was very motivating! As you will see, we went over our food budget by $27.86, but I would say that is pretty minor considering rising prices and possibly over compensation for not being able to eat out.
Either way, I am very happy with these results and I hope you were able to see some results as well, even if you fell down a few times along the way.
Grocery Budget for November- $500
October: Spent $249.74 — November: Spent $134.14 SAVED: $115.60
October: Spent $364.28 — November: Spent $129.05 SAVED: $235.23
October: Spent $226.64 — November: Spent $121.42 SAVED $105.22
October: Spent $211.45 — November: Spent $143.25 SAVED $68.20
October: Spent $1,052.11 — November: Spent $527.86 SAVED: $524.25
So for the month of November we will be adding $524.25, plus an extra $700 we were able to save to our Emergency Fund!
Total saved for November: $1,224.25! That totally rocks! 😀
I will say this though. My wife and I are going out to eat tomorrow and we are going to enjoy every second of it! Haha! 😀
Going an entire month is somewhat hard because there are times when it is more convenient to eat out. That still doesn’t mean that taking the convenient way is the smartest way, it just means it’s the easiest.
Reality is that eating out shouldn’t be the default option, it should instead be a novelty. When you look at how much money can be saved, invested, or used to pay off debt, the answer is clear.
How you handle your finances should depend on what your financial goals are. If you are willing to sacrifice reaching your goals so that you can eat out, don’t be surprised at the amount of time it takes you to reach them.
I hope you have enjoyed my challenge!! Look for more challenges like this in the future and I hope I have at least shown YOU that what’s possible is more about what you’re willing to do and less about the what’s actually possible.
As I like to say; IT’S UP TO YOU!
Did you participate in the No Restaurants in November Challenge?
If so, I would like to hear your thoughts and comments about your own personal experience in taking my challenge.
- How much did you save?
- What troubles did you face along the way?
- Would you do it again?
- Did it inspire you to watch your spending a little closer than before?
- Do you have any tips that might help someone else accomplish this challenge in the future?