No Restaurants in November 2011 – Final Results

Hello everyone. First let me apologize to you all for the delay in getting this post up. Last week was a beast of a week and Friday was probably the most insane day of them all. My wife went back to work after 3 great months of maternity leave. ๐Ÿ™

We did learn some things and feel very blessed to have been able to share that time together. For starters it inspired and motivated us to develop a plan to bring my wife home so we’re both stay-at-home parents.

My wife is a great nurse and loves her job but who wouldn’t want to make that happen if they could. We do and we will and because we’re debt free…it’s more than possible. ๐Ÿ˜€

Now for the results of my second annual No Restaurants in November.

As I stated in my last post we did perfectly. We ate out ZERO times and really didn’t miss it all that much. I even went out to a place called Beer Run with some fellow bloggers and didn’t order anything but water. I made up for it recently as Jacob from My Personal Finance Journey and my friend from Well Heeled Blog met for dinner. We chose a nice local pizza place and it was definitely a novelty.

So here is what we spent in November on groceries. I mentioned in my last post that we spent $137.05 right at the very end of October to prepare for November’s challenge. I was surprised to learn we only spent another $285.69 the rest of the month. Our grocery budget is usually about $450 each month. So to spend almost $1000 on eating out and grocery store trips one month and then spend less than budgeted the next is pretty awesome!

October – we spent $995.55 (652.26 eating out and $343.29 on groceries)

November – we spent $422.74 (groceries only)

We saved $572.81 in the month of November by NOT EATING OUT.

As I stated in some of the comments during November we plan to continue the savings through December. With our new goal of bringing my wife home we’ll need to save hardcore to make it happen faster. Of course it also means I need to build my new company Virginia Printing Company to replace her income and we have a plan to make extra money by buying from auctions and yard sales ad reselling on eBay.

Some people say “we can’t, it’s not possible”, we’re saying try and stop us!

Stay tuned in January for my $100 challenge where I will challenge you to turn $100 into a profit. For those of you who can’t quite afford to do it with $100 I am going to offer smaller challenges too. My wife and I are going to be doing this on a much bigger scale and it’s going to be fun. I will be sharing articles about the process my wife uses to make a profit each month to earn us extra income.

It’s true, she’s a rock star but you can be to. Tomorrow I’ll be posting about our latest auction experience and why we think we’ll easily double our investment. Like money? for the last two years my man J Dinero and I have been doing Brad & J’s Christmas Stimulus. This week I’ll also be posting our third giveaway and we’ll both be giving away $100 each!

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22 Responses to “No Restaurants in November 2011 – Final Results”

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  1. Brad, it was so nice to meet you in person! Next time you are in LA the pizza’s on me. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Definitely a pleasure to finally meet you. ๐Ÿ˜€

      The pizza was delicious and hopefully you’ll end up moving to Charlottesville before I have a chance to get to LA. LOL Not hopefully because I wouldn’t want to, but because I wouldn’t be able to. Haha! If I do though, pizza is on you. ๐Ÿ˜€

  2. Wow, that’s pretty amazing savings! I’m glad you’ve decided to do that because, honestly, it seems a little crazy for an Enemy of Debt to spend $650 a month eating out ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Well to be fair, I’m not running up debt when I eat out but yes, it’s as wasteful as thoughtlessly racking up interest payments. ๐Ÿ˜€

      It’s probably the ONLY really bad habit we still have from our “rapid debt accumulation” days, at least the most costly. We’ve allowed ourselves to succumb to the convenience of eating out for far too long and really want to get back to where we were when we were radically attacking our debt. It’s not hard to rack up so much eating out when your feeding a family and if we were loaded (which we’re not) I probably wouldn’t mind it so much but the truth is we still have lots of financial goals to reach and eating out irresponsibly isn’t going to get us there, nor is it going to help me reach my other goal of losing the weight I want to lose. ๐Ÿ˜€

      Now we have some fresh new goals and a desire to make it happen so I feel pretty good about where we are headed.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Another thing. With our savings we were able to step up our purchases for my wife’s hobby making it easier to buy at auctions. After the last auction she went to we’re pretty pumped about the possibilities for officially launching her upcoming company. ๐Ÿ˜€ That’s some motivation right there! It’s pretty exciting!

  3. Wow, you saved a ton of money compared to the month before. That’s some major Christmas money right there! Congrats on setting a goal and completing it. You’re a real inspiration. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Thanks so much for the mention Brad! It was great meeting up for pizza as well.

    Great recap on no restaurant November!

    I can definitely imagine how it would add up pretty quickly eating out with a family of 4 instead of just one person. Several strategies that work for me in reducing the amount that I eat out are to 1) only eat out when I am making “an occasion” out of it by meeting up with friends and 2) to try to restrict eating out to about 1x per week.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Yeah it definitely adds up very quickly. I must also add that I generally tip very well since I used to work for tips so I hardly ever tip less than $5. When we eat out at nicer places it’s not abnormal for me to start at $10. At a place where we leave a tip our average ticket is between $40-$50 plus tip. Even at somewhere like Sticks Kebob Shop (which we LOVE) we spend over $30 for 2 adults and 2 kids. I think I mentioned in the last article that we spent approximately $22 a day. It makes me queasy just thinking about it. Haha!

      My wife and I talked about this recently and decided that 1 time per week MAX would be a good boundary to set. It’s just not sustainable for us to continue to eat this way especially if we want to reach our financial goals. ๐Ÿ˜€

      • Agreed. It’s soooo tempting to go out to eat sometimes when I don’t feel like cooking. But, it really does have a benefit in the long run to eat at home the majority of the time.

        Another thing that I see alot with the people I work with is that they’ll go down to this little cafe near our lab to buy lunch EVERY DAY. Each day, they spend about $8. This can add up in a hurry!

        • Brad Chaffee says:

          Your right about that my friend! There are many MANY benefits indeed!

          Yeah your co-workers are essentially spending about $240 per month for ONE MEAL. It’s so much easier to see how crazy that is when you’re looking in from the outside but it’s so easy to ignore it when you’re the one doing it.

          I hope to keep our awareness of our food spending front and center this time. Last year after the challenge we went right back to our old habits.

          I think our new goals will give us the motivation we need to stick to something reasonable this time around. The money we save each month could go a very long way! ๐Ÿ˜€

  5. Ashley says:

    Oh, I’m excited about the $100 challenge. I already know what I’m doing. :)~

  6. Serena says:

    I’m excited about the $100 challenge, too! ๐Ÿ™‚ I also wanted to add to the woman who said several posts ago that she doesn’t have the $100 to do the challenge, I was thinking it might be good to have a variation for people that may not have the $100 to cough up–they might challenge themselves to see how much extra money they can EARN. For example, by selling something from their junk collections in the basement and see how much money they can make from that, without actually having to SPEND $100 to be a part of the challenge. Just an idea ๐Ÿ™‚

    First off…..WAY TO GO, Brad!! That’s a helluva savings! My question is, did you actually realize these savings?? Meaning, can you physically account for the savings? Because, although I saved money in November, too, because of the challenge (more on that in a sec), I haven’t actually realized the savings. It wasn’t like I took that money and was able to see it increase the amount in my savings.

    Anyone else challenged by how to actually SEE your savings??

    Now, on to my numbers! So, I’m a nerd and I have forever been accounting for my expenditures. So, let’s just compare Sept and October to November’s numbers:


    Sept:….. $191.62
    Oct…….: $220.14
    Nov…….$39.36 (purchased: 1 box of Girl Scout cookies, 1 candy bar, some penny candy, $20 for pizza on the night I delivered my son and the hospital dining was closed and Mama needed to EAT, and about $14 for a bottle of sparking wine purchased on the LAST DAY of November to a) celebrate the end of pregnancy !!!! and to b) celebrate a successful No Restaurants in November challenge!

    Now… for grocery store spending, here are my numbers. They are actually a little higher than this because I only account for my expenditures, since I am the primary shopper. However, hubby buys some food here and there. Starting December, I am going to start accounting for what he spends money on:




    Average spent on EATING/DINING OUT for Sept and October: $205.88
    Spent in November: $39.36
    SAVED: $166.52

    Average spend on GROCERIES for Sept and October: $663.16
    Spent in November: $519.78
    SAVED: $143.38

    TOTAL SAVED: $309.90


    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Good job on the savings Serena!

      The truth of the mater is that my wife and I HAD to cut back in November because it was her last month of maternity leave which meant VERY VERY LITTLE money. One of her paychecks was half of what she normally gets, and her last paycheck was literally ZERO!

      We used the money to buy and resell items from yard sales and auctions. My wife recently bought $600 worth of stuff from a local auction. The money she made from yard sales helped us a lot so the savings actually went into buying stuff but also paid some bills as well.

      At the auction she got 40+ items and 3 of them specifically have the potential to make up to $900. We’re projecting to make $1000 profit on the entire purchase but we’ll see. just because something has sold for a certain price recently doesn’t necessarily mean it will every time. Now was a good time to try th9ough since it’s Christmas! ๐Ÿ˜€

  7. Brad Moore says:

    Brad…I am impressed!. That’s awesome.

    I am also glad about the both of you being able to stay at home. It’s kinda like what we do but Kelli is a home health occupational therapist so she works about 15 hours a week or so. Still…gives us more-than-the-normal amount of family time! Would not trade it for anything.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Yeah we’re excited about it but can’t wait until we can make it happen. Right now my wife especially is having a hard time after having had to go back to work after 3 long months home. I can understand that too because I couldn’t imagine having to leave my cute little rugrats now that I’m so used to being around them so much. LOL

      15 hours isn’t bad at all. Family time means a lot to me and it sounds like you guys appreciate it too. We know a few people who try to avoid it at all costs but to each is own I guess. ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. That’s incredible!

    This goes to show that all it takes is discipline and budgeting to get out of debt. Imagine someone who was faced with a lot of credit cards, now they can apply your savings to pay down the principal!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Good point Kevin! this is the kind of sacrifice and discipline we had when we were paying off our debt. We went out to eat but no where near as much as we have since becoming debt free. LOL I guess that’s a future post idea. Becoming debt free isn’t the end of a journey, it’s the beginning. There are so many other financial goals we have but we have treated our situation as if we were done if you look at how we’ve irresponsibly spent money eating out over the past two years.

      I’m hopeful that our new goals give us that spark we had when we were paying off debt. ๐Ÿ˜€

      • I think this should motivate other people that they CAN get out of debt without using any third party services. As a credit counselor, I’ve seen a ton of people who could get out of debt without going through a DMP, but it’s really hard to convey that message and change their behavior.

  9. Jenn says:

    Eating out isn’t really a priority for us, but fortunately is also the least convenient option where we live so there’s absolutely no temtation. We live ~20 minutes into the country past the suburbs. Our kids go to schools our here “in the country”. We both drive into town to work (separate cars due to schedules and locations). If we wanted to go out for dinner on a week night one of us would have to drive home to pick up the kids after they get off their bus (the teen is in charge of the preteen until we get there), then drive them 20 minutes back to the suburbs where the nearest restaurants are located. The other person would hopefully have already arrived and put our name on the list for a table. After reading menus, ordering, waiting, eating and paying (ouch) we’d drive 20 minutes home. We probably wouldn’t get home until well after 7 and then the homework could start…. All that to spend $40-50 minumum and waste half the evening, just to avoid a few minutes in the kitchen? I don’t think so. The only time we eat out if is we’re all out together somewhere on the weekend and won’t make it home for a meal. We do enjoy eating out while on vacation. We also budget $100 for restaurants in January since several family members have birthdays and nobody feels like entertaining the entire gang immediately after Christmas. We still want to be involved in the family gathering so we plan for it in our budget.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Yeah I can definitely see why it would actually make your life harder. Perhaps if we don’t gain control of our horrible habit this time around we should move to the country out of any city delivery areas. Where I’m from you could drive 20 minutes and still be in the city so I might have to move a little further than that to be effective. LOL

      seriously though, I would love for our eating out to be the novelty that it seems to be for you and your family Jenn. It makes the occasion much more special. In November we really enjoyed the extra special family time in the kitchen. My 5 year old now is excited to help with dishes though I’m sure that excitement will fade over time. Haha! Thanks for sharing your thoughts Jenn! ๐Ÿ˜€

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