Can you believe January is already over? With that, so is our eat-in month challenge. And I have to say, the challenge was a success! We were especially successful this weekend, as we got snowed in on Friday and dug the cars out Sunday afternoon.
There were a few things that helped us with this challenge. What was most helpful for me was the idea of saving money. My husband and I are back into budgeting mode (thanks to the Dave Ramsey books.) I have a spreadsheet that I keep everything logged in, so I had figured out that my food budget was around $300. (We have separate checking accounts – because I’m too lazy to change my direct deposit to another bank – and we alternate weeks of grocery shopping.) I figured out that I could get my shopping done after only spending around $70 – which included meat and lots of produce. Meat was actually a huge deal because we looked for the best sales and stocked up on a lot of chicken (we have an extra freezer where we store our extras.) Last week, I found a great sale on bananas and apples (a 3 pound bag of apples for $1) which was perfect for my dehydrating kick that I’ve been on since Christmas.
That being said, we planned each and every meal. On Friday or Saturday, we would come up with our menu for the following week. We always have a menu on hand, but we usually have one or two nights that are writting “eat out” or “on your own.” There was none of that in January. We wrote out lunches, figured out breakfast (though we rarely ate breakfast out before the eat-in month) and always had a plan for dinner, even if that meant eating leftovers.
We planned a few gatherings that involved people coming over for dinner or us eating at other people’s homes. It was cheaper and way more fun that way. After the success of breakfast for dinner (with friends), my husband wants to make that a monthly meal (with friends!)
We also used the slow cooker three times last month. That’s a new record for us! It’s so easy, and I’ve already found some great Weight Watchers recipes (one of which I tried last night) that I’m going to use this week. Our biggest challenge with cooking dinner is time. And exhaustion. We’re both so tired by the time we get home from work that we don’t want to cook, leading us to order pizza or head out somewhere. The slow cooker is AMAZING.
I spent $150 on food last month. That left me with $150 for my Hawaii trip. I’m still going to try and curtail my eating out habits, especially during the week when I’m at work and tempted to eat fast food. Last week was triple coupon week at our local grocery store – and I saved $30 on groceries. I have groceries to last us for a couple of weeks.
And with that, eat-in month is over. And my husband is eating out with his boys book club tonight. 🙂 I would like to do the eat-in challenge again – maybe in August? I have to figure out the right time, but I definitely want to do that again!