Northern Cheapskate: This November, skip fast food completely

I’m about to embark on something I’m not even sure I’m capable of doing. But I have to try.

During the month of November, my family and are not going to eat out.

That’s right folks.  No take out, no fast food, no sit-down meals in a restaurant, nada!

We’ll make all our meals at home (and maybe break bread with some family at their homes), but there will be no eating out for us in November!

This is going to be a major challenge for us.  I love eating out – I love everything about it. And while I don’t mind cooking, it’s not my favorite thing in the world.

I’ve wanted to do this challenge for awhile, but it wasn’t until I sat down to look at our budget this month that it really struck me how important it is for us to curb our restaurant habits.  We typically eat out at least once a week – sometimes 3 or 4 times a week.  (Really!) And as our boys are growing, these little expenditures have really been adding up.  Eating out has become a habit that is proving not only bad for our wallets, but bad for our health, too.

I’d love to have you join me in The No Eating Out in November Challenge.

Here are a few of the ways I’m preparing to survive the challenge:

Create an inventory. I’ve been going through our freezers and pantry to create a list of all of the things we have on hand. I’ll be relying heavily on this inventory with a few shopping trips to fill in the gaps.

Make a menu. This is one of the most challenging things for me to do.  I’m usually a pretty structured person, but I haven’t been when it comes to our meals.  Having a menu will help take away a lot of the tempation of eating out.

Try some new things. I’ll be on the hunt for new recipes and perhaps even try some copycat recipes of restaurant food to help me bridge the gap.

Work ahead. I don’t think I’ll be able to get a Once-a-Month Cooking session in this week, but I am going to try to double up on some recipes so that I have something in he freezer for those hectic days.

Enlist help. My husband is great about pitching in and he’s already agreed to be in charge of some of the cooking during the month.  His specialities are breakfast for dinner and anything on the grill. I’m also counting on a semi-break with our Thanksgiving dinner leftovers.

Plan for desperate dinners.  Sometimes the unexpected happens and derails the dinner plans.  Rather than running through the drive-thru, I will try to have a few convenience type meals on hand for these occassions.  Yes, these are often more expensive (and certainly less healthy) than made-from-scratch meals, but I figure they are still healthier and less expensive than eating out!

Create a restaurant atmosphere at home.  Sometimes the appeal of eating out is the idea of it being something special.  We could splurge on a special meal at home (i.e. steak or seafood) and bring out the tablecloths, candlelight and music.

My goal is to become better at meal planning and more confident in my cooking skills.  I’m also hoping that we lose a couple of pounds and stop the slow drain of our savings account.

Throughout the month of November, I’ll be sharing my trials and tribulations with The No Eating Out in November Challenge.  I’d really love to have you join me on the path to better financial and physical health!

So are you up to the challenge?

This post was written by Christina Brown and originally published on Northern Cheapskate. Follow Christina on Twitter: @ncheapskate

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Comments (1)

  1. Submitted by Melodie Morstad on 10/28/2010 - 09:55 pm.

    I’ve been doing this out of necessity for the last year. I actually just went out to eat with a friend last night and it was truly a treat, but when the bill came I was reminded of why I do it so infrequently. To make up for not getting to eat out much, I cook mostly real meals of things I truly enjoy and try out new and interesting recipes. I’m not so good at having quick and easy menu options around for when I’m short on time (we usually end up eating pbj or eggs) but now that the cool weather is here I will start making large batches of soups and chili so that I can freeze portions for busy times. I’m looking forward to hearing more about your challenge and how it goes!

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