I know that I mostly write about running, working out and other health and fitness type stuff; this is a running blog after all. But I do have other areas and interests in my life I just often times struggle to find a balance in what I write about. Mostly I wonder if people would find other areas of my life interesting enough to read. I’m going to try to branch out more often and talk about other things besides just running but I cannot promise anything, after all running is my passion and I think about it probably more than one person should think about something. I think they call that obsession…
Anyways, on to my non-running related challenge; Alex and I are embarking on 40 days of No Eating Out! That includes all fast-food and sit down restaurants, that includes buying things at gas station like drinks or snacks and that most definitely includes driving through McDonald’s for an iced tea. And no, this is not being done for Lent.
So if we aren’t doing this for Lent then why in the world are we doing such a thing?
For starters we are trying to save money. This discussion of no eating out for 40 days actually started back in December after we looked at our monthly overview of where our money went in November and we were shocked to see that $350+ went to mindless trips through McDonald’s, gas stations and random eating out ventures. Do you know how many pairs of running shoes I could buy with $350?? Or how many cute and adorable pieces of Lululemon clothing I could buy? Ok, not many, let’s be honest. Point being, that’s a heck of a lot of WASTED money each month. So we decided that while we were in the process of overhauling our budgets this would be a great area for us to focus on in order to see some improvement.
If you read my post last week then you know that Alex and I have both been working hard towards being more frugal and better stewards of our money. We have worked hard, me at fighting every single urge to go to Target and him dealing with my whining and griping and how hard it is, and we’ve made some major progress lately! During this financial overhaul we also had our eyes on a house which in the end didn’t work out for us; we are ok with God’s answer for us and we have made the best of it. With the money that we would have used for a down payment we were able to pay off all of my current debt and all of the wedding debt that we had incurred. That was HUGE for us!
So now to go hand in hand with those financial milestones we’ve decided that as of this past Monday we will be spending the next 40 days eating all our meals at home and, heaven forbid, making our own tea. (I should mention that things are actually kind of easy in that regard because thanks to my yearly train pass I get free fountain drinks at a local gas station chain, if it weren’t for that I think I would probably go crazy without my tea supply!) Our hope is that over the next 40 days we can save a good portion of money and that we will be able to see the results of eating in for a change.
Another reason we decided to this is for health benefits as well; while our primary focus is definitely financial you cannot argue that there are added benefits to eating at home. In all reality Alex and I don’t eat out all that much, but once or twice a week still adds up. I haven’t been much of a cook lately because I find myself too focused on working out and wedding planning but now that we are being forced to eat in I am actually looking forward to finally trying out some of the recipes I’ve been saving on Pintrest. I have been trying very hard to stick with a vegetarian diet lately and I do well about 85% of the time, however eating out is the hardest part so I am looking forward to experimenting with lots of new vegetarian recipes.
We both realize that this is a big undertaking and 40 days is a really long time, so many things can come up or be unexpected and cause us to fail at this, for example my birthday in 2 weeks… but I think that we are both fully committed to seeing this through. There are a couple of things that we have done that we hope will help us reach our goals.
The first thing we did was tell all of our families (well mine, since they are local) and a few of our friends what we are doing; we have been very open and honest about our intentions and while we don’t expect them to adhere to the 40 days with us we do ask that they support us and not tempt us. (We have said that eating out is actually ok should someone offer to take us out, but our goal is to eat IN and not allow others to pay for us).
We also sat down at the beginning of the year and picked out this date with the intention of doing this challenge when we knew we could do well at it. Other than my birthday (I have already said that I am willing to skip going OUT this year), March was a slower month for us with no travelling and not much going on so that makes it a good month to spend our time eating in and trying new recipes. We figured less temptation and distractions will make this much easier on us.
We have also made it a point to practice meal planning regularly. Alex and I have gotten into a pretty good habit of planning our meals for the following week on Fridays and then grocery shopping on Saturday/Sunday. Since we don’t live together and since we both have Church responsibilities as well as my running schedule, scheduling is a big deal for us; the times that we have failed to plan are the times we end up at Chik-fil-A. We also break up the cooking responsibility between us so that not one person is stuck doing all the work. So far this has seemed to work well. We are also throwing away less food each week by planning left-over days as well.
So there you have it, from March 4th- April 13th Alex and I will be eating IN and hopefully saving money and calories in the process.
Have any of you every done any sort of No Eating Out Challenge before?
*Important info – Come back on Monday and there will be an awesome group giveaway that myself and a few of my favorite running bloggers are hosting. It’s a fantastic prize and I’m very excited about it!