Eureka! My 2010 Challenge!

I talked a few weeks ago about how I wanted a 2010 Challenge. I contemplated not spending any extraneous money for a year. The more I think about it, the more I realize that this Challenge isn’t necessary. With the way that I’ve set up my budget I’m spending 0% of my take-home salary on clothes, books, DVDs, shoes, ect. All of that comes out of my “Fun Fund” (which is 100% funded by my external revenue sources) or is paid for with Amazon.com giftcards from Swagbucks (for more info on how you can earn more “swagbucks”, please see my post of hints and tips). So to limit myself on buying things with money that isn’t from my regular take home pay seems silly to me.

Then it came to me in a moment of genius as I was walking my dog on Sunday: No More Eating Out

Eating out is my biggest weakness. I’ve curbed this habit A LOT in the past year, but it is time to go the extra step. I need to really set up my life to support the habit of cooking and eating at home. At least $300 every month in my budget goes to food. For one person that is a lot of money. However, this isn’t just about the money I’ll save by not eating at restaurants, it will also be part of the bigger picture of improving my overall health. Sure, I can’t promise I’ll eat healthy every day. But I also know that when I cook dinner for myself it tends to have lots of vegetables in it – which I don’t always get in restaurants.

There are however times when I will need to eat out: Like when I’m having lunch with a speaker on campus, when I’m at a conference collaborating with a colleague over margaritas and chips and salsa, and hopefully an occasional date or two at some point in 2010. So I’m not saying _ABSOLUTELY_ no eating out. I’m giving myself a goal:

345 Days of No Eating Out in 2010

I’ll keep tabs on my “no eating out” days over the course of each month and keep notes on how well I am doing. I suspect that the first few months will be the hardest as I try to curb my habits, but I’ll allowing myself almost 2 days a month where I’m allowed to eat out. I suspect I’ll save myself a lot of money, discover some delicious recipes and definitely start some healthy new eating habits.

Obviously… more details to come as I flesh them out… your suggestions GREATLY appreciated!

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39 Responses to Eureka! My 2010 Challenge!

  1. I think this is an excellent goal and I think I am going to steal it for myself, if you don’t mind. I am going to resolve to take a bag lunch all but once per month. Thanks for the idea! We already do pretty good on the eating out thing…taking 10 people out to dinner is quite a chunk of money, lol.

    I also think that 20 times in a year is really good, you don’t want to quit cold turkey and going out occasionally is fun to do. And you’re right, you’ll find lots of great ideas and your overall health will improve. We often do “appetizer nights” where we make a bunch of appetizers and sit and watch a movie and that’s our dinner. Theres so many fun things to do and make. Good luck, I will be stopping in to hear about your progress!

    • SS4BC says:

      I absolutely don’t mind and would LOVE to have someone join me. =)

      I think 20 is good as well. It is at least once a month, but not twice. I thought about doing 65, but then realized that wasn’t that much different than I’m doing now.

      I LOVE the idea of appetizer nights. Appetizers are so tasty. =D

  2. You’re crazy SS4BC, but I like it. I should totally do it, but…sometimes, I forget my lunch at home. And by sometimes, I mean a lot. What if I use up my 20 days? Will I have to starve? I think I’m going to modify mine (oh yes, I am stealing your goals, lol!) and do, 360. It will give me leeway because of my juvenile amnesia…

    • SS4BC says:

      LOL I am a bit nuts. I live 1 mile from work, so if I leave my lunch at home or don’t make one then I’ll have just to just go home for work.

      Obviously I may have to reassess the 20 days for the year as the year goes on. We’ll see how it goes!

  3. Jessie says:

    wow – i don’t think I could do this at all. I eat out for lunch a lot (in the cafeteria in my building) – and it’s wayy to expensive… but i still find it hard to get organized to make a lunch every day.

    you’ve really chosen an awesome challenge!

    • SS4BC says:

      I typically don’t “make” lunches. When I bring to lunch my work (at least in the past few months) it is usually just left overs from dinner. When I cook I just make enough food for 4 servings. Eat one for dinner, and then get 3 lunches/dinners out of it. It is nice because then I only have to cook every other day. =D

  4. Wow! I don’t think I could go that far. What about meeting people out for dinner/lunch/brunch to be social? Will you alienate friends by not eating out? I have a rule that I follow pretty closely to not eat out by myself. That also means no take out. It works pretty well for me though I do break it on occasion.

    • SS4BC says:

      All my friends live out of the state. So I won’t really be alienating them. 😉

      Also, I don’t plan on giving up “drinking time” – which only occurs maybe 1-2 times per week with my “friends” in the midwest.

  5. Carrie says:

    Whoa! You’re tougher than I am – I couldn’t do it!! Good luck sista!!! 🙂

  6. Airam says:

    Wow. That’s quite the challenge.

    I’m not trying to discourage you, but what if you scaled that down justabit and instead of only eating out 20x a year do once a week or so. I get where your heart is, but like you said before this journey is about taking small steps to get into a healthy and financially secure lifestyle.

    But then again, if you think you can do 20x a year and really want to challenge yourself to doing that then more power to you. I just know that I couldn’t.

    Good luck. 🙂

    • SS4BC says:

      Thanks for the touch of realism. I’m going to test this out for the remainder of December and see how hard it really is and then reassess the goal.

      I also may need to reassess after a few months into the challenge. I’m not opposed to flexible goals at all. =)

  7. psychsarah says:

    That is one bold goal-good for you for setting your sights high! Good luck-I will look forward to hearing how this goal goes. I’m sure you’ll do well. 🙂

    Just out of curiousity, will you count coffee/tea/other beverages in this goal?

    • SS4BC says:

      Wow, that is a really good question. Especially for me because I LOVE LOVE LOVE Starbucks.

      I will definitely have to give this some thought!

  8. Money Funk says:

    This is going to be interesting. 😉

    Our family did it for 3 months. And it got easier as the time went by and we did save money.

    Do watch your grocery bill doesn’t accomodate your not eating out prices. Gonna be fun listening to these updates.

    • SS4BC says:

      Oh that’s fantastic that you have experience with this! And reassuring to know that it will get easier. All day I’ve been thinking of “exceptions” or “what if” scenarios. This will definitely be interesting I day!

  9. Krystal says:

    That’s quite a goal! I personally don’t think I could do it because going out to eat is something my boyfriend and I like to do, and we fit it into our budget by getting rid of other entertainment-related costs. As for our waist-lines, we are quite active so I don’t worry about that. The thought of almost giving up going out to eat makes me sad!

    • SS4BC says:

      Oh for sure it isn’t for everyone. And for some people going out is part of their entertainment. I fully respect that and used to be like that.

      However, I find myself in the evenings just saying “Well, I don’t really want to cook, so I’ll just stop by Wendy’s and get a hamburger.” That is the kind of attitude I want to try to get rid of with this goal. Since I don’t have a significant other I don’t have to worry about their thoughts on the matter or how that would effect our relationship. Works kind of well in that respect. 😉

      As for it making me sad to not eat out as much, since I’m not completely giving it up (I still get 20 days to eat out!), I think it will make me consider more carefully exactly what that meal is worth to me. And I would wager make each meal that much more special. =)

  10. Annie says:

    Wow! That’s a huge goal – good for you! I’m looking forward to seeing your progress over the next year. Good luck! 🙂

  11. Wow that is a great goal! I’m not sure I would be able to do only 20 days. I like going out for supper/breakfast on dates. I probably eat out 3-4 times a month (including the occassional lunch on the road or while shopping/vacationing). Maybe I will try to limit it to 2-3 a month. I’m going to think about this one!!

    I wish you luck and let us know what you decide on for starbucks, does that count?

    If someone takes you out for lunch/dinner does it count?

    • SS4BC says:

      I’m still debating on Starbucks. And I’m still thinking about “if someone takes you out”.

      I have a feeling it will be situation dependent. Like if I’m out of town and a family member wants to take me out – that doesn’t count. But if I’m home and going on a date or something that will – yanno?

  12. That’s actually a really good goal! I think sometimes it’s good to set up something just outside your comfort zone, which this definitely is if you eat out a lot! More than that, though, it’s pretty fair. 20 times would give you a little less than 2x per month.

    The real question is if it counts if others pay for you. My parents alwasy insist on taking us to dinner!

    • SS4BC says:

      I think that if my dad wanted to take me out that it wouldn’t count. But since he lives across the country I don’t see this being an issue that I’ll have to worry about. =)

  13. mo says:

    I eat at home most of the time, so sadly I don’t think this would even be a stretch for me. How sad is that. And conversely I am aiming to include eating out at least once a month. It is so very much one of my life’s pleasures that I am aiming to budget for a nice lunch with friends somewhere every month. My life is probably very different in that I am a stay at home mum. And when I mean eat lunch out, I mean going somewhere special, and getting a good lunch deal and taking my Bub to eat in a restaurant setting. Very different really.

    But if you want to save your spondulicks then making sure you take lunch with you is a really really good way to go. As is inviting folk over to eat a meal instead of going out. Pot luck dinners are a winner. And if you have a kitchen at work, its really easy to get into the habit of taking leftover yummy home made food in as your lunch. Everyone will be jealous!! best of luck. its a great challenge! It has made me start to think of what mine will be for next year…..

    • SS4BC says:

      We have a break room at work, which is nice. So I use the microwave there to heat up meals. I’ve been bringing my lunch to work most days for the 4 months now. However, there is the occasional bout of laziness that I’ll have to get over with this new challenge!

      And good luck and getting OUT of the house more for meals. Sounds like you need them and I definitely think you deserve them. Stay at home mom is probably the hardest job I could ever imagine! Way to go!! =)

  14. WellHeeled says:

    You ARE crazy! Hahah. But in a very inspiring sort of way. First FB, now you. Many people will be crying for their jobs in 2010. 😉

  15. Leigh says:

    That’s a great goal for the new year!!!

    If you enjoy going out, maybe you can mimic the meals you would have for take-out at home. I’m a big Thai food fan and I’m slowly trying to make the meals I enjoy eating out at home. I’m learning some new food skills and my wallet isn’t taking a beating from the high costs of eating out 🙂

  16. MPP says:

    All I have to say is I am sooo excited to read about this adventure in 2010! You are hardcore and I love it. I can’t promise to join you in this efforts… but I’ll think of you every time I’m tempted to eat out when I should really just cook something at home.

  17. Ninja says:

    You are a nutjob! Virtually no eating out for a whole year?! I would last maybe three days. I give you mad props for even having the goal! I have FAITH (pun intended) that you will be able to rock this goal! Good luck.

    • Good for you!

      I plan on eating out a few times a month, but only for business. In addition, I plan on using coupons and restaurants that give me American Airlines Frequent Flier Miles.

      Dining out is my kryptonite. I live in New York City and there is good food just a few feet away from me, regardless of where I am.

      I am proud to say though, that I am drinking coffee I made at home as I write this. That was a huge step for me.

      Good luck with this. I support you.

    • SS4BC says:

      Ha! Thanks Ninja. =)

  18. psychsarah says:

    I too love the Starbucks, but have cut way back.this year. I just asked because I think I could easily do the 20x out per year for dinner/lunch, as I cook a lot and love it, but I get sucked in by coffee, especially when I’m on the road for work (you have to pee somewhere, and I feel guilty if I don’t buy something after using the facilities! Probably TMI…sorry.)

  19. Alicia says:

    I am joining you on the challenge… although mine will be eat out only once per week… I live alone and often eat out when I am too tired, lazy, etc to cook for myself. Also we always eat out with friends socially. Since I am single, it will be challenging to find things to do on dates that don’t involve eating out 🙂 Good luck to you!

  20. WOW. So I missed clearly am late chiming in… but WOW. This is definitely going to be interesting. You are brave!! Good luck!!!! 🙂

  21. And apparently I cannot speak english…

    Wow. I was so sad to see that there was no edit button. Excuse my last comment.

    I was going to say I missed this post, then I changed it to… Clearly I am late chiming in.

    None the less, I hope you got the point. ha ha.

  22. Pingback: 2009: A Review and Thanks! «

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