Final Results: No Restaurants Equal Big Savings

What is your definition of EXTREME?

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 Iโ€™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

Week One

October: Spent $249.74 — November: Spent $134.14 SAVED: $115.60

Week Two

October: Spent $364.28 — November: Spent $129.05 SAVED: $235.23

Week Three

October: Spent $226.64 — November: Spent $121.42 SAVED $105.22

Week Four

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! ๐Ÿ˜€

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! ๐Ÿ˜€

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?

About Brad Chaffee

23 Responses to “Final Results: No Restaurants Equal Big Savings”

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  1. Eric says:

    Great job, Brad! That is awesome that the family and you were able to accomplish it. Enjoy the first meal out, make it a nice one! Keep up the good work!


    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Thanks Eric! We did enjoy it very much. We decided to check out this new Hibachi grill in the area. So delicious and it was probably more enjoyable since it had been so long. It was nice!

  2. Geoff says:

    That’s awesome you were able to do it and I hope some of your readers were able to also. I can’t imagine what finally eating out after a month will be like. I bet it will be as memorable as it is enjoyable. I still would like to try this challenge at some point in my life.

  3. Cindy says:

    I came on board and fell off the bandwagon a few times but, it was an enlightening experience to be able to not only see what I am saving but, for me more important than anything to take my health back by preparing my own meals. I cannot speak for others nor am I trying to hinder others. What I am saying, is for me it was a necessary challenge with my health issues. So, it made me research the nutrition in the eating out meals I was doing and made me change the places I do go to eat out and what I choose to eat when I do go out. I am happy I signed on and would try it again, though I may have slipped a few – I still learned some valuable lessons throughout the month. Thanks Brad for as you say, we can join you or think you are crazy but, the one thing we cannot say is that you have not given us meat on how to do the little things to be DEBT FREE.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      No problem Cindy, it sounds like even though you fell off a few times you still learned some very valuable lessons of your own. Congratulations!

      Expect to see more challenges like this from me here at Enemy of Debt in the future! ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. Den says:

    Congrats – you guys did great! Very inspiring!

    We did pretty well – except for an anniversary dinner, an unexpected visit with family, and a coffee thru the drive-thru, but overall we saved about $200 this month. Even better, we have stopped mindlessly eating out – if we go out to eat this month, we’re going to plan for it and really enjoy it! A great reminder that eating out is a treat.

    Let’s do this again in Februrary:)

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      I’d say the anniversary dinner was over the top Den! LOL seriously though I wouldn’t count that as a failure at all. I can’t even remember a year that my wife and I didn’t go out to eat to celebrate on top of whatever else we did. It’s a part of the celebration! It’s like a date! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Congratulations, you did very well!!

  5. This is so cool, Brad. Altho I should say we hardly eat out as a family, no matter which country we lived. The boys take in a good mix of American and local dishes outside of our home. But since we lived here in Phnom Penh, and the frequent trips to Philippines, meals meant family time. So we did save a lot, I think. Even when they’re dad’s home, the more we eat at home. Makes me wonder now if hubby just misses my cooking. Or is it because he’s too tired to eat out? LOL. Really, we get to spend more time when we have home-made dinner. We spend less. And it makes me gloat about my cooking. Hahaha.

  6. Corina says:

    Good for guys, I had to break that same habit myself. It’s tough but now it has become an occasion for us, which is a good outcome too.

  7. I couldn’t do it yet; but I’m having a no-spending month in January and will put this to the test.

    Congratulations on great results AND doing the hard work!

  8. Steven @ The Real Debt Solution says:

    Brad you’re so right about saving when not eating out! The past November we have been so busy and we’ve eaten out a lot. I use quickbooks to track all of my spending we only spent $202.00 eating out in November that’s not to bad considering we could have eaten out a whole lot more.

    My Nov. grocery expenses was only $1,068.79 which is a lot better than I thought it would be. Our grocery expenses have went way down since I’ve instituted the “Eat it all up rule” that’s when me, my wife or my daughter ask for something from the store we make sure it doesn’t go wasted.

    The first key to saving on groceries of course is to always have a budget and a grocery list. I still make one when I go grocery shopping.

  9. It might be hard only because we get used to it. I love when people get riled up as if you are speaking directly to them and take things to heart. Perhaps you struck a nerve?

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Haha yeah I know I learn the most when I get my feelings hurt a little bit. I actually enjoy people being brutally honest with me! ๐Ÿ˜€

      Don’t beat around the bush because you might hurt my feelings, just tell it to me like it is. I then have the choice to brush it off or take serious the valid comments.

  10. Kim says:

    Love your challenge – I’ve never even contemplated. But we only spend about $75/mo eating out, and that’s living in the Big City. I recently found that it helps to plan for evenings when I’m lazy. While growing up, my mother always kept a frozen pizza in the freezer to combat the “too tired to cook” feeling. Not incredibly healthy, but healthier, cheaper, and quicker than eating out. We have a side-by-side (not by choice!), and can’t fit a frozen pizza, so instead I keep bratwurst & hot dog rolls in the freezer, and cans of soup in the cupboard. It has honestly saved us many a time!

  11. Steffani says:

    I have just recently started reading your website. I have found it very inspiring. Most of your advice seems to be geared towards families and couples. I am divorced with grown children. Staying home without cable and never eating out with friends could get a little lonely and boring. I already take my lunch to work everyday and find that groceries have a tendency to go bad with only one person in the house to eat them. I do try to eat at home sometimes before meeting friends out. I would love to get some advice about budgeting and reducing debt geared toward the single person.

  12. John says:

    I paid for dinner four three people last night, it costs $100.00, can’t do that often.

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