#TakeOutTakeout Challenge Reflection

January 19, 2017

TakeOutTakeout Challenge Reflection

Well guys, it’s been two weeks since I pledged to eat at home and not spend any money on eating out. I had a lot of people asking why I did the challenge in the first place. Most people would assume it was for my health since it is January and so many people are making resolutions to eat better and work out more. For us, that’s not exactly the point of this challenge. Sure, it’s a nice benefit, but the main idea behind the challenge for me was to save money. Also, forcing myself to cook and plan ahead was an excellent exercise and has really helped instill some habits in me that I hope last long past January and throughout 2017.

I recapped the first week and overall it went really well. I cheated once and got a free Starbucks drink but since I didn’t spend money on it I didn’t feel too bad about it.

Then Wednesday hit.

We had a bit of a crisis at the new house where our water faucet outside burst and water was everywhere. I was stressed and fell off the wagon with Zaxby’s for lunch. After that, we went off the rails almost completely and went out for lunch on Friday and Tuesday. Is that less than we had been previously eating out? Absolutely. So far in January we’ve spent only $224.24 on going out to eat (daily average of $7.23) compared to $867.26 in December (daily average of $27.98). So in that sense, we’ve been successful. But did we stick with the challenge 100%? No, but I’m happy with our results.

A couple of things to mention:

1. I have to come clean about something in an effort of full disclosure: Nick and I saw a couple of movies during this time and I did spend money on popcorn/soda at the theatre, but I consider that part of the movie experience, so we filed it under “entertainment” and not “restaurants” in our budget software. (We used “You Need a Budget” and a bill schedule excel spreadsheet that helps keep our finances in order.)

2. We ate a LOT of sandwiches. My husband is probably tired of peanut butter and jelly and I ate way more sandwiches than I have in recent history. There were some nights that I just didn’t feel like cooking, so we decided to do sandwiches instead. Typically when I’m tired or feeling lazy we would have ordered takeout, but forcing ourselves to eat at home really helped with this.

3. I have a bad habit of cooking meals that don’t produce a lot of leftovers, but when we did have leftovers, we actually ate them. I’m proud of us for doing that, since it’s typically not something we do.

4. Cooking so often also helped me to be better about keeping my kitchen clean. I do have a bad habit of letting dishes pile up sometimes, but having to cook with the tools so often forced me to do more loads of dishes. I appreciate that kick in the rear!

5. It was way harder than I thought it would be. Worth it? Yes, but still extremely hard. I spent almost every day craving something or trying to figure out ways to work the system and cheat. Call it a withdrawal from an addiction or whatever you want, but it was HARD.

I’ve had so many friends and readers who have been interested in trying this challenge, and I really encourage all of you to do it! It was a great exercise and I’m so happy I did it. If you do decide to participate, don’t forget to use the hashtag #TakeOutTakeout so I can track your experience with the challenge!

What do you think would be the hardest part of the challenge for you? What about the easiest?


Stuff + Things: Life Update
Reflecting on the #TakeOutTakeout Challenge: Week 1

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