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Day One of No Dining Out…No Bueno…


Last night was my husband’s last final for summer school. He went directly to school to study before class and I spent some quality time with my wonderful sister-in-laws. I didn’t head home until 8:00 and I would have usually stopped by McDonalds for an 89 cent hamburger for dinner but stopped when I remembered our agreement to not spend money going out.

I went by the closest Target store to grab something to make for dinner only to discover the grocery section was closed for remodeling.

Sure I could have gone by a grocery store but it was nearing 8:30pm and I figured I could scrounge something up at home.

A 15 minute search of my freezer revealed…

Not a darn thing.

My dinner last night? Popcorn. Lunch today? A can of soup.

Let’s hope the next 59 days end better.

Happy Friday!


  • Reply MakingAMillionDollars |

    Good Luck on cutting back off the fast food and going out. I think a hamburger for 89 cents should have been ok though as that is pretty inexpensive. Sometimes if you starve yourself it makes it worse and you come back wanting more. It is the same with money. If you cut back too much than you come back wanting to spend more. Good Luck on your plan and check out my latest blog post as it kind of relates to this topic. Take care, Steve

  • Reply Angie |

    I’m not trying to discourage you, but from reading your posts some of your eating habits are pretty scary. I know its all with good intentions to save money. Hopefully things like popcorn for dinner and your “meals” with random scraps from the pantry are just atypical examples and not the norm. I’d be extra careful with your low grocery and dining budget to ensure you get all the nutrients your body needs. I wouldn’t want your diet while you are scrimping by while you repay debt to affect your health in the long term.

  • Reply mom |

    Wow sweetheart… that’s a bummer. We had an incredible meal last night! Steak, baked potato, salad, and the most fabulous dessert ever. I wish we could say that we were thinking of you… but we weren’t… too busy eating! So yummy! JK. (just kidding) I didn’t have anything and dad had left overs. However, you know that you’re always welcome here, even though we live forever away. You can come raid our freezer any time you want… does that help? Cheer up dear, I bet that can of soup will be delicious…. not! Love you, mom

  • Reply Mona |

    Dinner plan. Shopping list. Weekly shopping.

    Good luck! It is possible, but takes a bit of planning.

  • Reply RB |

    I can relate! We ended up spending $200 in June dining out because we had not planned ahead and had meals ready for those times when we were home late or running around. July was declared to be a month of no dining out in order to recover. So far we are still on track, but due to travel for the holiday weekend and an unexpected funeral, the grocery shopping did not get done on Monday as usual. We were eating random vegetables and fortunately found a couple of chicken breasts still in the freezer.

    So we go grocery shopping last night and the stress level is high. We are out of several staples due to raiding the cupboards to make meals the past four days. So we change some planned meals, put some items back and exchange for a cheaper plan. Of course, cheaper means less healthy and we are really trying to eat right on a strict budget.

    We were ready to give up, put all the items back, go home and plan a new menu and try again tomorrow. Then I realized that we were already four days into the week which meant the items in the cart had to cover fewer meals than normal. All of a sudden, the last $37 in our pockets could stretch to a few side dishes, another bag of carrots, and even a small box of pop-tarts our son wanted.

    The lesson: Always have a plan and a backup. Ideally, you should have a supply of quick meals for those days when you just can’t get home in time to follow the previous plan.

    I do have to admit, a single 89 cent hamburger as an emergency ration would not stress me out. However, I have less willpower. My version of an “emergency” fast-food meal ends up being a full $6 value combo.

  • Reply Nicole |

    Oh my! I was actually inspired by another blogger that vowed to empty her freezer of all food without buying anything new to put in it during that time. I am taking her challenge. Off to freezer dive!

  • Reply Dream Mom |

    I thought that was going to be tough after reading your post yesterday but didn’t have time to comment. What I wanted to say was that you might want to give yourself a little flex in the budget for times like this instead of an all or nothing. With your husband working multiple jobs and school (at that time), it’s not always easy to be prepared. I know, because I have done that before. You also need to be nourished. Not much fun to be working two jobs on an empty stomach. That doesn’t mean you need to lose sight of your goals, it just means to add a little back in the budget those emergencies. You can’t expect to stay on a budget that isn’t realistic and zero budget for emergency eating when you both are working so hard, just isn’t realistic. Just my opinion though.

    When I worked part time and had to be out the door asap in the morning, I used to make what I call “30 Second Lunches”. Basically, I’d make homemade oat bran muffins and freeze them (two to a bag at 100 calories each) and then when I was rushed in the morning, grab a bag, a diet iced tea and a piece of fruit. You also might want to consider adding a mini cooler to your car. You can fill it with some ice and fruit or whatever to cover those times. Good luck. I love reading about your progress!

  • Reply Liz |

    My husband and I have tried the no eating out thing. The first time, we unfortunately coupled it with a five-day sugar and dairy fast as well. The two combined made us both a little crazy. I’d say it would be to your advantage to stock your pantry with a big bag of pasta and a few small jars of pasta sauce. Or stick a few bags of Trader Joe’s chicken fried rice in the freezer for times like this. You have to plan ahead a little. And avoid 89 cent hamburgers at all costs. I don’t want to think about what they did to the food to make it that cheap!

  • Reply Mona |

    Eating out could be replaced by a proper lunch box filled with nutricious food.

    Emergency eating can be done if you have a small portion of fruit/raisins/nuts in your bag. The combination of an apple and some nuts will keep yo full for some time, and is excelent for staying out of drive-in.

    In the end, its all about planning.

    I also wonder where your tiny rewardes to your self is in this challenge?

  • Reply Lizzie |

    I love your challenge! I also love the one Nicole is doing to empty the freezer, definitely going to try that one!!

  • Reply emmi |

    We keep bulk purchased nuts and dried fruit all over the house and car for just such an emergency. I once lived on that and boiled eggs for 5 days.

  • Reply Tracey |


    Keep up the good work. You have motivated me to set some goals for myself this upcoming week. And, yes, it has to do with food. LOL. Why is food so tempting and so expensive?

    Planning, planning, planning is my mantra for goal success. And if there is anything I hate to do…it’s plan, plan, plan.

    Ugh. Good luck with these next few days! Stay focused.

So, what do you think ?