Thursday, January 12, 2012

A new challenge

Last night as we were trying to decide what to do for dinner, Mr.D and I started talking about how we have been spending a lot of money lately. Some of that money spent went towards our recent Christmas vacation, which was definitely worth it! Overall though, we have just been spending money without thinking about if we really need that 'thing' or if we really need to go out for dinner.

As we had dinner, we were talking about ways that we could save money. One of my suggestions was that for the month of February, we will not go out to eat at all. Although we don't go out to eat a lot each month (only 1-2 times per week), it will still help us save money. I am estimating that we spend roughly $40-$50 each time we go out to eat (that's for a sit down restaurant), which adds up to $200 per month. Not eating out once in the month of February means an extra $200 in our pocket :)

I think the toughest part of the challenge will be coming up with dinner ideas that are inexpensive and easy to make (for during the week). It will definitely take some planning on our part, but I think we can do it. We have over two weeks to come up with a stock pile of recipes, which means I need your help. If you have a favorite recipe, website, blog, etc that you use to help plan your meals, I would love to have it!

Tell me: have you ever challenged yourself like this before? If so, how did it go? Also, please send me your favorite go-to recipes!


  1. Do you use Pinterest? That might be a way to compile all the recipes people mention to you as well as find new ones. As long as the online recipe has a picture, you should be able to "pin it."

    I love the idea of a not eating out challenge. Though with my husband's birthday AND our wedding anniversary in February, that isn't the best month to try for us I suppose.

  2. I don't eat out much - at restaurants that is. But I do go to the grocery store, Wendys, and some of my favorite places that make salads for lunch. I'm sure that adds up to an expensive dinner a few times a week. I think that's where most of my money goes!

  3. Good luck with your new plan! You can totally do it.

  4. I'm going to email you a recipe. I couldn't stop eating it when I made it recently. It is from a new Jamie Oliver cookbook called Meals in Minutes. The concept is to get a whole, balanced meal on your table in 30 minutes. It was pretty accurate and the meal was fantastic.

    Happy New Year!

  5. We also over spent in December and when we got our credit card bill last month it did give me a minor heart attack ;) I have challenged myself not to do any shopping till March now!
    I think we might eat supper out 2-3 times a month, and I have lunch a few times a month with friends but that is about it.
    I have so many favorite recipes for you, so how about I email you! haha

  6. Great challenge! We rarely eat out anymore, because small children don't work that well in restaurants. One good strategy is to make double recipes of things when you're cooking anyways, and freeze the extra for a convenient meal another day.

  7. can you post some of the recipes you get? i love getting new ones :)) Good luck!! XO

  8. Sounds like a good plan! I already struggle with meal ideas too.

  9. Yes! I also want to start doing this. I am thinking of trying to do a meal plan challenge myself in February. As far as website suggestions, I usually seek for recipe inspiration. However be prepared to get hungry as you browse.

  10. This is a GREAT idea! I think once M moves in, I'll try to convince him that we should do this for March. February won't be as easy because it's Valentine's Day and I want to go out to eat ;)

  11. We very rarely go out to eat at sit-down restaurants. Maybe once a month or so. We do grab "fast food" from time-to-time like wok box or subway that's not quite as expensive as going out to eat but still adds up.

    I highly recommend meal planning before you go grocery shopping. This helps us a lot! Every Sunday I sit down and plan a meal for each night of the week and then buy the groceries to make those meals. Sometimes we sway from the plan and make something different but having the plan has really helped so that way you're not mindlessly staring into your fridge wondering what to eat!

    I also recommend a cash budget. We've been doing it with grocery shopping for a year now and it works awesome! We only spend $500 a month on groceries for three people which I think is pretty good!

  12. Eating out is a big one for us- more so for J than me because I almost always bring my lunch whereas he tends to eat out for lunch way more than me (also because he can be in and out of the office which makes it difficult to eat a bagged lunch).

    Meal planning is essential but unfortunately I am the wrong one of the two of us to ask about this!
    It's difficult when we have things going on during the week that have us away from home until 9-10pm and we have to eat out (I guess unless we sit in the car and eat a packed sandwich or something). I think this is our major challenge.

    Looking forward to seeing how this works for you. I know our eating out budget will shrink drastically when I am on mat leave. I am sure I will be contributing more to meal planning and actually cooking a few things myself (watch out for the food poisoning posts!)

  13. I am with you on the tightening the belt on spending! I have a post about it coming up on Monday as one of my goals for 2012 was to save more!

    I eat in quite a bit and have found some great, inexpensive meals. I love oh she glows recipes especially her rainbow bean and rice salad. It is spicy, though, but so so good!

  14. Such a good idea! We don't go out to eat much as well, but when we do its always around the same amount. We also try to bring our own lunches to work as well...which we are better at than the whole not eating dinner out.

  15. This is definitely a good idea though one I don't think me and my husband could manage just because eating out is kind of our fun/way of spending time together. We could probably use to cut down on it. We usually go out 2-3 times per week, but sometimes that is a cheaper place. We don't ever eat lunch out which is good.

    I have been finding some really good recipes on pinterest lately. I also really like making something on Sunday like chili, soup, etc and eating it for a couple of lunches or dinners.



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