Are you up to the challenge?

@GardenGerty (97927)
United States
October 31, 2012 4:27pm CST
We have now gone thirty one days without eating out or buying takeout. We did not start out to do this, but when we were two weeks into it, having not spent money at restaurants we decided to see how long we could go without fast food or restaurant foods. There are reasons why this is good. First reason is that it helps the budget. If we average twenty dollars when we eat out and we go at least once a week, that is easily $80. I believe we spend more than that on average and some weeks we go out or pick something up twice. So we are talking $4000-$5000 a year. Second reason is that the food never tastes as good as what hubby and I fix, we are good cooks. I often leave a restaurant over full, but disappointed. Third reason is if we cook it we control what goes into it. Fourth reason is the calories that we do not expend by eating at home rather than going out to eat. Hubby observed a couple of months ago that if we go to the Pizza Buffet we end up eating several plates full of food and being miserable, but when we make pizza at home we are satisfied with one. Eating out tends to make us "want to get our money's worth". I am hoping to begin seeing some weight loss because of this. We have purchased easy food to eat on the road when we go to Minnesota this next week. We are challenging ourselves not to eat out to be entertained. We may go out to eat one time with friends while there.
10 people like this
36 responses
@allknowing (63049)
• India
1 Nov 12
I tried skipping dinner and have kept it that way since the last two years. I have an early snack and only have hot milk with horlicks and honey in the night. I was putting on weight and skipping dinner has helped me keep my weight under control.
3 people like this
@allknowing (63049)
• India
1 Nov 12
I hardly eat out and if I do it would be more for the ambiance and change of scene.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
1 Nov 12
I had to look up Horlicks, we do not have anything exactly like it, but do have Ovaltine and Malted milk powder. Warm milk at night is supposed to help you sleep and honey is said to be very soothing. When my son gets married and moves out again, hubby and I will probably go to eating our main meal at noon and then something like what you do in the evening. My grandfather would eat clabber milk and home made cornbread for his evening meals if there was no company to feed at their home. He lived to be nearly 100.
1 person likes this
@Hatley (164672)
• Garden Grove, California
1 Nov 12
hi gardengerty if I missed dinner I wou old be ill as I am keeping my blood sugar almost too low with three diabetes meds bu t its so much better than running high. I have learned to skip the rice here and some overly breaded meat concoctions that I do not even have any idea whats in them. also today semi raw chicken legs just turnes my stomach.oh once I loved fried chicken but when its cooked so the meat is white not pink rare chicken to my thinking can lead to food poisoning and I do not eat it if its pink.so I come up here and eat some peanut butter instead as its safe and has protein in it.they have been told before that some of the chicken legs are not thoroughly cooked but it still hap pens and i just do not eat it.
1 person likes this
@JenInTN (27565)
• United States
1 Nov 12
That's great! I like to eat out sometimes, but I did realize how much money I can save by eating at home. It's better for us too. My b/f turned out to be a wonderful cook and, too be honest, when we do eat out now, we are often disappointed.
3 people like this
@allknowing (63049)
• India
1 Nov 12
I hardly go out to eat now but when we did it used to be the buffet style. I hardly did justice to the amount we paid for that meal. I pick and choose, the only item I hog is the desert with so many varieties lined up there. When I was working I used to organise group outings with my colleagues, atleast once a month each time wearing one coloured outfits. The whole office knew then what we were up to. It used to be either sizzlers or some Chinese joint. I love Chinese food and I know to cook Chinese dishes - my favourite is sweet corn and chicken soup.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
1 Nov 12
I have started making different dishes that we enjoy from the Chinese buffet. It is really better for us and more satisfying. When you are going out to eat from work it is an outing as well as a meal.
1 person likes this
@allknowing (63049)
• India
1 Nov 12
There is something nice about Chinese dishes - one never feels full with them.
1 person likes this
@katsmeow1213 (29047)
• United States
31 Oct 12
That's a great idea! If you challenge yourself and make it a fun competition, that may be an easier way to avoid it. Hubby and I were saying a few days ago we needed to stop eating out so much. Unfortunately I'm very hungry tonight and there's not much here for me to eat, so he's going to buy me a sandwich at Subway. Perhaps we'll start tomorrow
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
1 Nov 12
Subway can be healthy and is not really too expensive. What did you feed your kids? I would find it really hard to afford to feed a whole family at a restaurant or fast food either one.
2 people like this
• United States
1 Nov 12
They all ate a taco bake earlier in the night, which I didn't eat any of. That's my biggest problem is I buy a lot of meals for them that I don't like.. so I need something else and there's usually not much else I really want.
2 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
1 Nov 12
So you are kind of a picky eater. Better teach them to like what you eat.
@missybear (11396)
• United States
31 Oct 12
Good for you, neither 1 of us likes to go out to Restaurants or Fast Food Places so that's a good thing. Like you guys we love to cook and eat in the comfort of our cozy little apartment. IWe used to order Pizza just about every weekend and it got quite spendy, now we buy frozen Pizza's and put extra toppings on and they are delicious
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
1 Nov 12
That is how we do pizza, the frozen ones, and then we customize them. I have a great crust recipe I want to try, you make up a lot of it and freeze the crust.
2 people like this
@missybear (11396)
• United States
1 Nov 12
It's a lot of work making home made pizza but it's so goo if you got a good recipe.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
1 Nov 12
I used to buy the crusts, years ago, and top my own. I am hoping this recipe for the dough turns out well. I just need to get in there and make it. I like things like chicken and spinach on pizza and all kinds of things you do not find much at regular pizza places.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Oct 12
Hi GG, I really don't eat out at all. The last time I ate out was probably Burger King and it was at least six months ago..more in the summertime. I guess it's because I don't want the weight gain nor do I want the cholesterol problems. I gained a bit from not smoking anymore so I make my own meals at home. I know darn well if I ate out more I'd gain way toooooo much weight and probably very quickly too. Plus, the expense of eating out is a little too much for me. I'd rather spend it on getting a new comforter (haha, my discussion) than to buy salty, fattening food. I think it's wonderful what you are doing and in the end, you will see the big changes that are coming your way! Good for you and just do it when it's a special occasion, like with friends, or on vacation. The rest is up to you.
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
31 Oct 12
I need to be the one who has my mind made up, because if I so much as whine about wanting to eat out, hubby will say "Let's go!!"This discussion is for me, for moral support as much as anything. I thought of another reason to eat at home--you can eat in your pajamas and slippers if you like. I took time out for supper just now and I am on my way out the door, but tomorrow night I am likely to eat in my jammies.
3 people like this
• United States
31 Oct 12
HaHa, I always eat in my PJ's if I'm at home, of course. It's just delightful and much more comfy. Don't get me wrong, if I could eat out all the time and not gain weight, and not worry about the fats and cholesterol, I would. It always seems better when you eat out but I'm over that now. I enjoy cooking for myself and making better meals, plus I feel better too. I don't restrict myself to a point that I'm unhappy as I still do have a tiny dessert...you need that. But the rest of the meal is more a healthy one and it does taste good. I have even cut down to where I use hardly any salt at all. That is what is so funny. I can taste salt now even in the smallest amounts when I eat over one of my daughters houses. Crazy, I know, but it's all for the good when you want to stay around for a while. Hubby will get used to this, I promise and it's better for the both of you. Like I said, once in a while is ok, but not every week.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
1 Nov 12
Have you heard of the 3-2-1 cake? You make a little portion of cake just right for one. Use your favorite cake mix plus an angel food cake mix. Put them in a jar and shake them up. If you want a cake use a microwave safe little bowl. Mix together 3 Tbsp of your cake mix, 2 Tbsp water and microwave on high for one minute. Perfect little cake, great topped with fruit.
2 people like this
@carmelanirel (20979)
• United States
31 Oct 12
I don't find not eating out a challenge, I find buying good food a challenge to make at home. I try to avoid GMO and halal as much as possible. There is only one restaurant that is non-halal, but I wonder if their food is GMO. So I don't feel I am missing anything by not eating out anymore, not after the research I have done..
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
31 Oct 12
I doubt if any of our local restaurants are halal, and I do not know about the GMO at all. I have sources I can go to for good food that is healthy and I feel like I am saving money as well. What we cook at home very often tastes better than anything we find at restaurants.
3 people like this
• United States
31 Oct 12
It's cheaper too..LOL
2 people like this
• United States
3 Nov 12
What is this GMO that you mentioned?
1 person likes this
@STOUTjodee (3417)
• United States
31 Oct 12
Good for you! Eating out can become expensive and you don't get satisfied,you either eat too much and you're stuffed or it's too expensive for a good quality meal. I've noticed that we would go to some fast foods or buffets, the food was cooked in too much oil or something and wouldn't agree with my stomache. My husband and I are already doing the challenge!
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
31 Oct 12
When my husband first moved here he had stomach trouble all the time. We ate out a lot and I gained thirty pounds in what seemed like two weeks. He has much less trouble now, as I have been eating less fat for years and when we eat at home he has adapted to that for the most part. I do like some fat, but not like fast food. I also have found in the last year that our two local Chinese buffets tend to upset my stomach. I have worked on making my own versions of some favorite dishes and it is very satisfying.
2 people like this
• United States
31 Oct 12
Yes indeed, when you cook at home you know exactly what you're putting in it. When you cook at home, you can have your spouse/mate/children help too and spend more quality time with the family. You also don't have to worry about airborne illness from eating out and getting sick because your waiter/waitress coughed and didn't cover his mouth or wash his hands. There are definitely advantages to eating at home!
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
31 Oct 12
No strong perfume, bad body odors or smoking nearby either. I am recruiting my own cheering squad here and we are all chiming in with advantages of eating at home.
2 people like this
• China
1 Nov 12
We eat out for one reason or another.Sometimes for saving trouble ,because we needn't prepare a meal and wash up;Sometimes for a change;sometimes for acting as host to someone,that is supposed to be more respectful than at home.In fact,just as what you said,it does more harm than good.More often than not,poor health is the product of eating out.That way we exchange a light purse for gaining weight .
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
1 Nov 12
Yes, sometimes we eat out to entertain company, or to be entertained as company. I am excited that we have cut back so much. It feels like a good accomplishment.
1 person likes this
• China
2 Nov 12
It is hard to drop a habit.It is great! You still hold out so far.
1 person likes this
@911Ricki (13602)
• Canada
31 Oct 12
Yes, I could do this, I rarely eat out. I do grab a hot chocolate and I find lately is often from McDonalds, or some place. This week I had to take Patches to the vet's, my heat in my car wasn't working so my parents gave me their car, so I bought them coffee and a donut each so I bought myself one as well. I usually only eat out if I desperately have too, usually I try once a month to go for sushi at a local restuarent.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
1 Nov 12
I imagine that with some of the food difficulties you have it would be better for you. Yes, on the road we are likely to buy a cappuccino to warm up if it is cold. I am glad your folks loaned you their car. Is it your radiator that is having a problem that makes the heater not work?
2 people like this
@911Ricki (13602)
• Canada
2 Nov 12
I had to buy a thermostat, air filter, and carbon filter or something. It was about $130.00 to buy the parts. Yes, the only reason was to take Patches to the vets and have heat. I stop the odd time for hot chocolate, and such. More ltely than usual, as a treat. I tend to make my own at home or bring a pack to work with me.
1 person likes this
@yoyo1198 (3644)
• United States
31 Oct 12
I haven't eaten out or bought take-out for months. I decided that I can make the same things much more cheaply. And I love to cook. It's just slid into my daily routine. I can make a good meal in the time it would take me to go to a restaurant, order, wait for order, and then eat it. As far as the take-out, I can have it made almost as quickly as one could drive, wait, and drive back.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
31 Oct 12
Funny, that is basically what I said in the box above you. It is as much a change of mind set as a change of habit. I am hoping to see the weight go down as well. Did you ever notice that most restaurants serve their rolls cold? Who needs that. I like fresh baked rolls right out of the oven and warm.
2 people like this
@yoyo1198 (3644)
• United States
2 Nov 12
I like hot bread as well. But I don't do much bread. Maybe have a sandwich here and there. My main challenge is desserts like cakes, pies and sweets in general. But I make them all myself too. I've cut down on making those though.
1 person likes this
• United States
31 Oct 12
I had take out last night from papajohns.com. I think they are so good and the sauce is just sweet. I would like to do this again if possible. I can go over this with no problem it is adrain who does not like to cook so he will waste money oon chinese food for a few days.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
31 Oct 12
I have a pizza crust recipe I am wanting to try here at home that would be healthier as it is whole wheat. I know it is so easy to just let yourself stop at whatever is open and get something. Hubby cooks and I do too, but we need to have something planned so we know what to cook, then we do not run out to eat.
3 people like this
• United States
1 Nov 12
This month I really want to get a meat plan so I can get some really good meals cooked and we can have left overs.
2 people like this
@redredrose (1107)
• United States
1 Nov 12
My husband and i have also gone about a month without eating out as well. We did it for our budget since we can't afford to eat out much these days but all the other benefits you have mentioned have been with us as well. I have lost some weight by not eating out or ordering out. My doctor even said i need to lose some weight for my health and so this has been really good for me. Hubby is glad we don't eat out because then we have to get in the car and drive somewhere and he is usually too tired after work and it is saving us money. we stared out by saying we would only eat out maybe once a week and it came to we haven't eaten out in nearly a month and not ordered out either.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
1 Nov 12
Your situation is very much like ours. Our budget really needs a break, and in a way it is easier to stop completely than to just cut back. With all the answers to the discussions today I am thinking about what I have that I need to cook for tonight.
1 person likes this
@katrinapaz (2438)
• Philippines
1 Nov 12
wow that is a very nice challenge. you sure can save a lot of money by eating in the house rather than outside and taking out food. not to mention about the calories that you are saving yourself from. maybe I can have this challenge for myself too
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
1 Nov 12
I believe when we think about what we are eating and what we are spending on we have a chance to save money and our health. It has been a hard habit to break, but I try to imagine how many groceries I can buy with the same money and it is a real motivation.
@drannhh (15206)
• United States
1 Nov 12
We do not eat out much except when on a trip. That way it is a treat and makes the trip more fun. But even on the road, most of our fast food meals are from the dollar menu plus a big salad. Like maybe we get the $5 salad and split it and then also split one burger between us and no fries, but sometimes we share just one of the 99 cent hot fudge sundae things at McD's, only I think they recently raised the price on those. Or instead of getting a Big Mac, we buy one side salad and put the lettuce and tomato inside a couple dollar burgers. I am always kind of amazed when I see how much other people eat and spend at restaurants. Well, on my birthday someone took me to a steakhouse on the water with piano music and the chateaubriand for 2 that they cut at the table and all that jazz. That was $75 before desserts. Probably I don't spend that much in a YEAR on junk food, rflol. But that was at a resort casino and my friend won a jackpot.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
1 Nov 12
I imagine we will eat out at least once when we go to Minnesota next week. Even the last time we went, when we went to a nice German restaurant with Grandpa Bob, it was really not that expensive. You can find good food at good prices and then it is special. I like the idea of buying a salad to put into the burger. I will have to remember that.
@Sindelle (830)
• United States
1 Nov 12
That's wonderful that you've been able to make this decision for you and your family. It seems like many of us these days are so busy with work and family that we hit the Mcdonald's all too often. You're absolutely right especially when buying for a family eating out all the time also I'm sure gets quite expensive. I try to make a point not to go out to eat more then once a week myself. I'm not sure why you ate so much take out before but one thing that helped me eat healthier is buying my crock pot. Often I'm very busy and don't have time to cook. With my crock pot I can put my food on an 8 hour timer. When the food is done cooking it just keeps it warm for me. I love walking in the front door to the smell of a delicious supper. It reminds me of when I was a child coming home from school to my mothers cooking. Anyhow stick with your plan. I bet you'll start to loose weight soon if you have not already.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
1 Nov 12
We had already cut down to once or twice a week for something fast. I agree, good kitchen appliances make it easier to eat at home. I think skipping eating out has gotten easier for me since I work very early morning hours and I have all day to get a meal ready. With fall here we are eating more soups and stews and chili as well. I like to cook burgers in my George Foreman grill if I have burgers. Making menus ahead is another way to make eating at home easier.
@AmbiePam (48609)
• United States
1 Nov 12
Congratulations! I agree that most times the food tastes better if we cook it at home for ourselves.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
1 Nov 12
I am hoping that this makes a difference in our budget and my weight. It is fun to be able to look back and track it.
1 person likes this
@peavey (16473)
• United States
1 Nov 12
Another thing you might consider is food safety. Your own kitchen is safer than eating food that's handled by strangers in a busy situation. Also, if you're allergic to certain foods, you can never be sure they don't use the same surfaces to prepare them as to prepare your meal. I can't join this challenge because I can't remember the last time I ate out! It's been a long time ago. I normally only eat out two or three times a year.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
1 Nov 12
My brother will tend to give us a gift card for the holidays. Also my work will give out gift cards periodically. I do not have food allergies, but I do know how careless some places are about food handling practices. I am finding that I am not missing the restaurant food. I love to cook at home.
1 person likes this
@silverfox09 (4727)
• United States
31 Oct 12
Good saving , sometime I feel we spend too much on fast food but because we sometime tired of cooking . I can hardly go a week without fast food but I have before , whenever I am tired of fast food I like home cook meals . Good luck on your challenge it will pay off
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
1 Nov 12
I feel like it is paying off in both savings and health.
1 person likes this
@Thoroughrob (11750)
• United States
31 Oct 12
Wow, you are doing good! I hope you can stick to it, it sounds like you are enjoying the challenge.
3 people like this
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
31 Oct 12
It just really helps the budget. It is also a time saver, believe it or not. I can usually get a meal on the table faster than I can go eat at a restaurant, get there, get seated, place an order and wait for it to be prepared. Fast food, it is always the lines. I hope to do this for the most part on a regular basis.
2 people like this
@mariaperalta (19096)
• Mexico
31 Oct 12
Good idea, I bet you are saving a few dollars eating at home. And you are eating better.
@GardenGerty (97927)
• United States
31 Oct 12
I know we need to save those dollars every month, and we really are both good cooks. Well seasoned food makes you feel better too.
2 people like this