No Restaurants in November 2011 Update and a New Challenge

Tired of flushing money down the toilet...

Well the month has almost come and gone and I cant say I’ve really missed going out to eat all that much.

For the most part it has given our family extra time in the kitchen to bond. My wife and I have tag teamed the meals as well as taken turns cooking meals individually. When it’s time to do dishes Isaac has enthusiastically helped clear the table and load the dishwasher. So we have saved money but also created a fine little helper in the process.

Isaac helped in more ways than one too. We really only had a couple of times where we really wanted to break the No Restaurants challenge but were never really in any danger of doing so. We were quick to point out the times when we normally would have eaten out though and even though we were just discussing it Isaac was very quick to say, “No Daddy. No Restaurants in November remember?”

This caused me to test him on a couple of occasions too.

I’d say alright gang, let’s head to McDonald’s, knowing full well it was Isaac’s favorite place. (not because the food is great but because of the cheap toys) Even at those moments our 5 year old son stood firm and quickly reminded us that we couldn’t eat out. I love that little boy!

If absolutely no one at all read my blog but I was able to have the same affect on our children as I’ve had on Isaac, it would be totally worth it. My son is learning through our personal finance experience.

I swear one day soon I’m going to interview him and post it here. Our experience with Isaac (our other kids are too young) has proven just how much children pay attention. They are absorbent little sponges and if you are making an effort to take advantage of as many teachable moments you can it will pay off.

I intended on posting about all this last week but preparing for my wife to return to work among other things rocked our schedule last week. My world has completely changed too now that she’s finally back to work. We already miss her but we thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to have her home for 3 long months. πŸ˜€

I told you I would share my food costs for the month of October so here goes. I think I may be more embarrassed than I was at last years October confession.

In October we spent a whopping $21 a day eating out for a total cost of $652.26. That alone gave us the strength to say no with great ease this time around. We actually spent $480.34 on groceries in October with $137.05 of that preparing for the first part of November. Still, $343.29 in groceries is a lot when you spend almost $700 on restaurants.

These figures have convinced my wife and I that we NEED to carry on the challenge into December as well. We will probably go out to eat onceΒ  in December but that’s it. We are more determined than ever to make sure we stop the out of control spending in the food department. I hate thinking about how much money we wasted BUT COULD HAVE SAVED had we had a little more control. The truth is we were absolutely careless and spent irresponsibly each and every month.


That’s it for me today but get ready for a new challenge in January. This new challenge was partly inspired by my wife who happens to have made thousands of dollars over her 3 month maternity leave by buying items at yard sales, thrift stores, and auctions and then turning around and selling them on eBay and Craigslist for a great profit. The other part of this challenge was inspired by a reader who mentioned something about it in the comments section.

January Challenge: Take $100 and see how much you can turn it into. Stay tuned!

For the challenge I will be keeping track of everything my wife spends in January on items for resale. (not just the $100) At the end of the month I will report how much she turned it into. I’m excited about it!

P.S. The last No Restaurants in November post will be posted on Friday!

So how did you do in November? Did you stick to your plan to avoid restaurants? Was it hard? How much money did you save?

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18 Responses to “No Restaurants in November 2011 Update and a New Challenge”

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  1. Eduardo says:

    Congrats, Brad! I was thinking this morning that November (and therefore your challenge) was almost over by now and was pretty sure that you were approaching victoriously! A great lesson for all those people who think they can’t do it! Financial decisions are under our control and once we convince ourselves of doing something, we surely can. And, as it turns out, it’s also a great way of teaching your children that you can have control over your finances.
    Good luck with these new challenges. Sounds really interesting!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Thanks Eduardo! It’s actually been a breath of fresh air man. I do enjoy a nice evening out but think my wife and I need to do it a couple of times a month perhaps for a date night or something. Those times when we just want to get out of the house and see some new surroundings. Of course we could also do date night at home too and since I love to cook I have no excuses. Haha! Sad to say I haven’t cooked my wife a romantic meal in far too long. Maybe it’s time to surprise her huh? LOL

      We are gonna rock December as well! Might go out once or twice. Going out this Friday to meet WellHeeled and Jacob. Going to be fun! Wish you could be there with us but there will be many more opportunities for us to hang out. πŸ˜€ Thanks for your support my friend!.

  2. serena says:

    Brad! Awesome that I helped inspire the $100 challenge!! I actually headed out on Black Friday to the thrift store because I knew they’d have 50% off furniture. Sure enough! And wouldn’t you know I saw a fabulous dining room side board (is that what they are called?) buffet table, that would have only been $25?!?!?! Great condition, and could have painted it a pretty white. One key problem is that I own a sedan, and hauling big ticket items home is nearly impossible. I could have gotten at LEAST $100 for that buffet table. Sigh…..also, had the kids with me.(ages 5 and 23 months) so you know there is no shopping with kids!

    Good news is that I found an awesome table/dresser with lots of little drawers, for my crafting room (see my blog for pics). Only $18! If I didn’t love it sooo much, I know I could score at least $75 for it!

    Anyhow, I could go on. Love my thrifting! Hope to convert that $100 soon (if I could stop falling in lo e.with everything I buy) lol

    Last, but not least…I’m continuing the No Restaurants challenge too! I had a terribly weak moment this weekend. My first time out with the kids, with my days-old infant, alone….and hungry! I almost caved and wanted to make it easy to go through a drive-thru, so I wouldn’t have to drag all 3 kids into the grocery store. But I said, no, you’ve come too far to cave. So I did what any mom WOULDN’T do: went to the grocery store, even though it increased my workload. πŸ™‚

    Thanks for the challenges!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Yeah Serena it was YOU! LOL I wanted to mention you but couldn’t find the comment and didn’t want to give credit to the wrong person. LOL

      We are going to rock it in January. One thing I hear a lot from so many people is that they do not have the ability to make more money. NOT TRUE! Even if you have to start with a $10 investment you still have the opportunity to turn that $10 into $20, %40, and even $100. My wife does it FREQUENTLY! It does take practice and patience to develop a good eye for what sells but really all you have to do is research eBay to see how the same item has sold before. It’s not rocket science it just takes a little effort.

      My wife has gotten so thrifty with her purchases to resell we are now finding we have to create shelf space to house the items until the eBay auction ends and she ships it. People that don’t know would think she’s a hoarder. LOL

      • Serena says:

        Glad I was able to be of inspiration to this blog! I know you have been inspirational to me, for sure. I am also continuing into December, not just because it feels RIGHT, but because of maternity leave and there really is no reason to waste that kind of money when I am taking a financial cut being home for 12 weeks!

        As for the $100 challenge, yes, I’m ready!! People have the ability to make money for themselves. Even if they aren’t into thrifting and yard sale-ing to resell, there are other ways to try to make additional money for themselves.

        Do you guys have an SUV/van for lugging home big items from thrift stores and/or yard sales? I seriously need to figure out how to get this stuff home, because I am finding AWESOME big ticket deals that I know could make some serious money!! And that is awesome you are so supportive of your wife. My husband calls me a HORDER all the time, because I have a few items piled up in the garage. He thinks everything should be bought NEW, and that it’s EMBARRASSING to buy and use stuff from thrift shops. Grrrr….. lol

        OH! And guess what?? I won a brand new PAINT SPRAYER in a Facebook contest, so now I am one step closer (and for FREE) to being able to sand and easily paint my thrift store deals πŸ™‚ How cool is that????

        • Brad Chaffee says:

          Your husband should not be embarrassed about buying used items but I know a lot of people who feel the same way. It’s rather unfortunate not to mention you are helping recycle perfectly good items and what’s wrong with that? πŸ˜€

          I can’t tell you how much money we have saved over the years by buying like new items from thrift stores and yard sales!! To say we should have bought them new to avoid embarrassment is absurd. We’re proud we saved money! πŸ˜€ Some of the items we’ve bought for a third of the sticker price still had tags. Try buying baby clothes brand new every time. You’ll go broke on that alone since they grow out of them every few months. LOL

          It’s a good thing your husband has you to save lots of money throughout the year. If he only knew how much money you saved the family each year he might change his tune. πŸ™‚

        • Kathy says:

          Serena, if you know someone who has an SUV or van, maybe you could work out a deal with them to transport the big thrift-store items home? For example, you’d pay for the gas + $10 a trip or give that person a percentage (10%?) of what you eventually end up selling the item for. That way everyone wins & you wouldn’t be limited to what you can fit in your car. good luck.

  3. I haven’t done this challenge, but I often feel a little let down with what I get at restaurants in exchange for what I pay. Plus there are plenty of meals that I cook at home that are just as satisfying to me. Great job on your challenge!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      I completely agree Jeffrey! There are only a few rare occasions where I am so happy with my meal I’m talking about it for nights. One place is Texas de Brazil. that place is definitely worth a special trip for sure but its a bit pricy to do it regularly! LOL

  4. Vonnie and I did awesome…not perfect, but awesome. I’m going to write about it, so stay tuned…. πŸ™‚

  5. Well I haven’t been perfect this month. But I learned a HUGE lesson. My kids were up for the challenge and want to try it again next month so we shall!!

    As for the $100, I’d LOVE to try that but I’m not sure I can even part with the $100 to do something with it. But I may try it on a smaller scale.

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Rock on Jessica! When you’re kids are on board you know you have toi take advantage of that! LOL

      It’s okay to start small Jessica! My wife frequently makes $50-$100 on items that cost less than $5. Keep investing the profit into new items to sell and eventually you’ll be able to throw down a gob of money and turn it into a pile! πŸ˜€

      • Serena says:

        I would LOVE to know what kind of stuff she’s buying for $5 and reselling for $50-$100! Is she doing anything to DIY the piece? (e.g. paint, new knobs, new fabric, etc?) Or is she just reselling something she got for a steal?

        • Brad Chaffee says:

          My wife does the yard sale thing hardcore about 3-5 hours almost every Saturday. No fix ups or refurbs at all other than just cleaning or wiping something down for presentation. Refurbs take even more time so she avoids them She does really good with electronics, name brand purses, shoes, figurines etc. Last week she got a box of 25 ceramic music carousels/boxes from someone for just $10 (I think). Some of them go for $15-$25 while a few she has more than one of is selling for almost $75.

          January I’m going to list everything she buys and sells (along with what doesn’t sell). Usually if the seller wants too much money for something she’ll easily walk away. We have a minivan and have removed one of the captain chairs but usually she goes with her mom in the car. If there’s something she buys that’s too big she’ll come back with the van and sometimes she’ll even borrow her dads truck but that happens on very rare occasions.

          She doesn’t buy ANYTHING without first searching eBay on the spot to see how it is selling at that moment. If it’s ion good condition (or “good shape” for vintage items) she buys it. πŸ˜€ I’ve been trying to get her to write a post for Enemy of Debt but she hates writing but I might be able to interview her in January about her process and mindset about this and turn it into a how to article myself. It would be a great article for the $100 challenge in January! πŸ˜€

  6. Brad Moore says:

    Brad….this is great! I discovered it a little late so I didn’t do the challenge. But I think it’s awesome.

    Recently, my family and I won 104 free value meals at Chick-Fil-A. So I guess that might be an option for those who want to eat out w/ out paying??? You have to spend a night in the parking lot on the day before a new Chick-Fil-A opens.

    Anyhow….can’t wait to hear more about the resale adventure. I have sold several things on Craigslist lately but would love to read how someone else is resaling (or reselling??)!

    • Brad Chaffee says:

      Thanks dude! It has been fun for sure but I’m hoping it sticks a little better this year than it did after I did it last year. LOL

      Chick-Fil-A is the mother of all fast food restaurants! not only is their food delicious but their service is always top notch. Other restaurants act like they could care less if you spend your money there but Chick-Fil-A employees are friendly, smiling and willing to go above and beyond their responsibilities,

      Thanks for checking this out Brad and I look forward to hearing from you more especially in January when I start the next challenge! πŸ˜€

  7. Kathy says:

    When we had little to no money (vs today, when we have a little money), my husband and I would budget $20 for breakfast once a month. We were able to increase it little by little. Because it was such a treat, we truly enjoyed it.

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