No Restaurants in November 2011 – Do You Have a Checklist?

Hello guys and gals!

So here we are two weeks after starting my “insane” challenge of avoiding restaurants for the entire month of November. I’m excited to see where each of you are and how you’ve managed to do so far.

It’s been fun no? LOL I have done perfectly so far but surprisingly had a hard time last week. It wasn’t even because I “wanted” to eat out. It was more of what I referred to in my last post where I talked about not planning meals and being out and about around meal time. Needless to say I still held strong! I even met up Jacob from My Personal Finance Journey and Eduardo from Finanzas Personales for drinks on Saturday.

My mouth was literally drooling over Santa Julia but I drank my water and enjoyed the conversation. For anyone out there that thinks spending money translates into fun, I had just as much fun without spending a single penny. ๐Ÿ˜€

With that said I would have been okay having a glass of wine without guilt under normal circumstances.

Last week I decided to ask people on Twitter how they managed to stay away from restaurants on a regular basis. It inspired me to create a checklist based on some of the answers.

Here’s what some of my followers on Twitter had to say:

One person on facebook suggested using a crockpot. I think that’s an excellent idea but I wish we wouldn’t have sold ours. Perhaps with the money we save this month from not eating out we can invest in crockpot to further encourage eating at home after November is done and gone. Something I like to do, but don’t do nearly enough, is getting the family involved. Not only is it a good way to save money but it’s perfect for making dinner extra special. I’ve also found that when we do that it encourages healthy eating habits because the kids get to choose healthy things they like and are excited about cooking them up.

How did your week go? Share your story in the comments section below. feel free to share any tips or strategies you may have that make this challenge easier. Not participating in this challenge because eating out is not a problem for you? YOU are who IO want to hear from the most. Your story can help all of us gain control over something we struggle with. Don’t be shy! ๐Ÿ˜€

Be sure to check out other No Restaurants in November updates.

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21 Responses to “No Restaurants in November 2011 – Do You Have a Checklist?”

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  1. Travis says:

    Day 14. No restaurants….haven’t missed it one single bit. The best thing Vonnie and I did was to approve an increase in our grocery budget. Not a huge increase, but enough to make one or two meals just a little extra special – something to look forward to. If we spend $30 more a week in groceries, but it keeps us from going out to eat twice….well, that ‘s a win!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Hey dude that’s a really good idea!! I love it!!

      Being that we have been known to spend well over $500 in one month just in eating out I’d say that would work for us quite well. I’ll have to give it a try. Thanks for sharing man, you always have great ideas! Tell Vonnie I said WHATTUPPPPPP!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  2. Serena says:

    Hey, guys! Two weeks in…..and as you know, I’ve only bought the girl scout cookies ($4), eh eh eh…..and last night, made a “splurge” purchase of a Mr. Goodbar ($1) while out at Hobby Lobby. Other than that, I have not bought one lunch out… dinner out….or any snacks while at work. So proud of myself! The only problem I see, however, is that I am not seeing the savings in my budget. I basically pay my bills, and then figure out what I have left, and try to live off of that. I’ve been on a cash-only system now for about the past month. I would possibly see more of the savings if I have categories budgeted out.

    But actually, I could tell you where some of the extra money has been going on–thrift store shopping! In my quest to find an inexpensive dresser for my newborn (expected to deliver this week!!), I have been finding lots of OTHER cool stuff, and have been “racking up” on furniture items, cool things for the kids, etc. (If you’re interested in some of the stuff I’m finding, check out my blog: I also bought a much-wanted Ikea Expedit bookcase from a coworker (only $40! Regular $129) so that when I get my crafting room set up while on maternity leave, I will have a place to store all of my crafting materials.

    So, in a sense……I don’t know if I have really “SAVED” anything by not eating out. But I know it’s definitely allowed me to fund some of the other things that I have bought from thrift stores, coworkers, and yard sales– things that normally I probably would not have had money for. We bought our house a year ago, and we are not the type of people to rush out and run up credit to furnish a home. So, buying the thrift store items is not only my “DIY passion” and hobby, but it’s also a really inexpensive way to furnish a house for less.

    I guess maybe December will be my “No Thrift Stores” challenge. LOL….I just hope I’m not simply replacing ONE habit (eating out) with another habit (thrift shopping)!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Hey Serena, first of all congratulations on your upcoming bundle of joy! That’s great news!! My wife is almost done with her maternity leave but we have really enjoyed the time we’ve had. ๐Ÿ™‚

      As for your thrifty new habit, did you know you can have your cake and eat it too? It’s a way for you to turn something you enjoy into a way to earn extra money. My wife has seriously been killing it and has made a lot in the last few months alone. Yesterday she made almost $200.

      It takes a little work but if you have a smart phone it makes the research (before you buy) a lot easier. So not only can you still enjoy getting items you need and want for much less but you can essentially get those items free with profit from other items. My wife will go yardsaling and buy me 2 pairs of really nice shoes (like new) for $2.00 a piece, buy a bunch of other stuff and usually one of her items pays for the entire amount spent for the day leaving a nice profit left over.

      My wife loves love loves shopping at yard sales and thrift stores so it’s been nice that she has been able to turn something she enjoys into a money maker. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Serena says:

        Brad, you’re inspiring me……SERIOUSLY! I think I just invented a new challenge: To take $100 and see how much I can turn that $100 into just by reselling the things I find at the thrift store or yard sales. That would be awesome! This, of course, would be dependent on what I find….and whether I can hit the thrift store when they’re having their promotional 50% deals, etc. Or even finding FREE stuff on Craig’s list, fixing it up, and reselling. Hmmmm……..Inspired, I tell ya…..

        • Brad Chaffee says:

          That is a great idea! ROCK ON Serena!! My wife just spent about $100 last Saturday (yard sales) and we’re anxious to see how much she makes from it. Yard sales are the BEST place to go because there you can get most things VERY cheap and can negotiate the price. My wife is REALLY good at negotiating a good deal! ๐Ÿ˜€ Aren’t I a lucky man? ๐Ÿ˜€

          My wife (@AlanaEOD on Twitter) and I have been talking and we’re considering expanding her little empire by adding auctions to the list of places to get stuff. Auctions will take some time to learn and get good at but our hope is to replace my wife’s nursing income so we both can stay home. We have a long way to go to reach that point mostly because we’d then have to pay for our own health care but our ultimate goal is for us to both work from home doing what we love. ๐Ÿ™‚

          Let me know when you post the $100 challenge and I’ll be sure to share how much Alana makes from her most recent $100 expenditure. ๐Ÿ˜€

          • Serena says:

            Brad, that’s awesome. I’m curious to see how much she makes, as well. I told my husband and I am going to do this, and he just sighed. LOL Poor guy….. But if I can make some money at it, I doubt he will roll his eyes every again! Anyhow, working from home doing things you love sounds like a dream come true! I strive to be there, too!

          • Brad Chaffee says:

            Well I just asked her and she’s already made the initial $100 back and then some plus has listed some other things she bought that day.

            We also just had a MORE serious talk about where we want to be and how we want to get there too. We are considering the possibility that my wife would be able to at least go down to half time much sooner than originally projected. The bottom line is that we both want to be home with the kids and if we can swing it (especially since we are debt free) why not? ๐Ÿ™‚

            Maybe as early as the beginning of 2012. ๐Ÿ˜€

  3. I seem to be getting really crafty about getting free food by making other people pay for my stuff. Lol ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m just kidding….

    The only times I’ve eaten out, was when my sister bought me a breakfast sandwich and then I bought some donuts at the convenience store for $1.

    I’ve been doing relatively well considering I thought it would be a really hard challenge. I’ve done the suggestion from Twitter and have been using the grocery store as a “drive-thru” for things I forget or to pick up some ingredients for a quick salad.

    So far so good! Keep rocking it ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      LOL Carrie!!

      Yeah I’ve used your method a few times to pick up a few things here and there especially if I have the urge to eat out. LOL

      Keep rocking out November! ๐Ÿ˜€

  4. I think having food at home that you are excited about it is the best way to avoid eating out. I often eat out because there just isn’t anything “fun” to eat at home. A meal plan is key too, but it kind of goes along with that same point… be looking forward to your at home meals.

    Although, I’m the last person who should be giving tips on not eating out.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      That’s a great tip Ashley! ๐Ÿ˜€

      I’m working on a two week meal plan that excites me. Fun and easy recipes and Travis gave me the idea to make one of them EXTRA special each week. ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Something else that makes cooking fun for me is to spend a little money on something that gets you in the mood to cook. Nothing gets me in the right state of mind than putting on the apron Vonnie and the kids gave me for Father’s day that says “Extremely HOT” on the front. ๐Ÿ™‚

        • Brad Chaffee says:

          Dude, you may have just given me an idea for a line of aprons — EOD themed and related to my No Restaurants in November challenge. Perhaps next year I’ll make the challenge more official and give one of my “apron creations” away to all who participate as a consolation prize! ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. Using a crockpot is a great idea for saving money! Tons of leftovers for days!

  6. Hey Brad… I know it was tough for you to be the only one not spending during that night out, but that speaks a lot about your commitment (to yourself, to the blog challenge, and to your readers) and it was really admirable!
    I personally LOVE eating out (more about the experience than the food, though). But my own personal financial journey and both my own and my wife’s love for the kitchen has pushed us to eat more and more at home. There’s amazing things that you can do with a low budget, sharing a nice experience with family and friends, and (for those of us with health concerns) knowing and controlling what’s going in your dish. In short, a win-win experience!
    You’re already half way thru the challenge and I’m sure we’ll hear good news when November comes to an end! Keep it up!!!

  7. CrystalH says:

    I love the croc pot idea! I’ve used mine twice this month already! I also just read your turkey talks submission at Impulse Save. I’m SO glad that was a dream-totally didn’t see that coming. Very cool story!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Alana and I were eyeballing crockpots just the other day! We are likely going to add that expense to our December budget. One thing I remember about having a crockpot before was the smell that built up during the day was so good. There’s no way you can smell something like that and then make the decision to eat out. Lol

      Glad you liked my nightmare. Lol I seriously woke up sweating that morning!! It was so real I just knew it had really happened. Thank God it didn’t but it did give me a creative way to tell our story. I’ve told our story a million times so i just thought it needed to be told in a unique way. ๐Ÿ™‚ I hope you vote for It in the writing contest. ๐Ÿ˜€

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