Eat In [More] Month Challenge: Year 2

Diana over at The Chic Life hosts some awesome challenges. While I’m usually pretty bad at sticking to fitness challenges (other than training for races), I can do life challenges.

This is her third year doing her Eat In Month Challenge. She takes Eat in Month very seriously and strictly…but I, per usual, like to play by my own rules.

In all seriousness, I know that as a busy, single [sorta lazy about cooking] girl in NYC, trying to eat every single meal in would be setting myself up for failure.

I participated last year, and it definitely got me to be more creative in the kitchen, even if sometimes my “creative” concoctions were too weird to blog about.

My personal parameters this year:

  • No more than 1-2 drinks out on a weeknight (which is a good rule to play by anyway)
  • No food while at happy hour (wallet and waist-friendly. Nothing I’d be likely to have while having a glass or two of wine would be super-healthy anyway.)
  • No spending money on food out when eating alone—so no takeout or delivery unless I’m with a friend.

I’m not trying to lose weight right now (after years of being overweight, I LOVE saying that), but I am trying to get rid of some fat around my belly, so even though I usually do pretty healthy takeout (Energy Kitchen, Pump, sushi), cooking myself is usually healthier, and I know what’s going into my food.

One of my goals, as I said, is to pay down some credit card debt this year, and I’m trying to do it by making small changes. Bringing lunch (and never stopping for my beloved spinach feta wrap) can easily save me at least $150 a month. I sort of miss blogging about food, so I’m going to blog about any interesting creations I make, or successful recreations of other bloggers’ recipes that you may not be familiar with.

What are little ways you save money on food?

36 comments on “Eat In [More] Month Challenge: Year 2

  1. Lauri

    I bring my lunch everyday and I shop sales at the grocery store. However, I need to make a bidget and STICK TO IT! This includes meal planning so I don’t wander aimlessly through the grocery store and buy whatever jumps out at me. That is my reslution 🙂

  2. Beth @ Beth's Journey

    I bring my breakfast/lunch/snack to work 99% of the time, and it makes a HUGE difference on saving money. I love the idea of “no food while at HH” and limiting myself to 1-2 drinks when out on a weeknight… If only I could execute it!

  3. Alli

    I meal plan every week and, while we spend more food at the grocery store, it’s put a huge dent in how much we were spending eating out. I’ve also definitely been trying to get better about only eating out once a week (and that means lunch OR dinner).

    Something I would really like to break the habit of is ordering a drink when I go out to dinner. One drink at the bar turns into getting a glass of wine with the meal which, if you’re with my friends, turns into getting a bottle or two to share…not good for the wallet or my belly!

  4. Jessica @Hermoves

    I recently started bringing breakfast to work. I need a big breakfast in the morning to keep me going, oatmeal just doesn’t cut it. Since I always go to the gym first thing in the morning I don’t have time to stop at home before work to make myself a decent breakfast. I tried stopping at Starbucks after the gym every day to get a breakfast sandwich, but that method was killing my bank account. I eventually started cooking egg whites the night before and putting them in a zip lock bag overnight in the fridge. I then would wrap a TJ’s sandwich thin with Swiss cheese and either jelly of fig butter in foil. I pack both into my gym bag in the morning and as soon as I get to work I assemble my egg sandwich on the foil and toast it. I know it sounds iffy with eggs cooked the night before, but I swear by it!

  5. Mer @mersworld

    One of the best ways that we’ve saved money on groceries, is to buy the store brand! Trust me, it took a lot of talking, trying and convincing for my husband to get me on board with the plan, but for most items, I never taste the difference! For those that we did (ketchup, of all things!), we buy the name brand and don’t feel bad! Many of the stores are adding store-brand natural products, so it’s a fun and healthy way to save money! Great goal for January and the year~

  6. Meg @ My Chocolate Covered Life

    You are so smart to start packing food for work – it has saved me SO much money. Every evening I assemble my breakfast, lunch, and snacks for the following day (I am gone from 5:45-6 or 7-8:45 depending on whether I’m working out before or after work). It is a royal pain packing all that food (produce is so high maintenance), but I don’t really have an option; I’m a teacher in the suburbs – cafeteria food is NOT an option, and I don’t want to waste 30 minutes driving somewhere to pick up food.

    I have, unfortunately, developed a very solid Starbucks misto habit…

  7. tracey

    One of my resolutions is meal planning, and I already saw an improvement in my grocery bill. And this way, I don’t have to stare at the fridge every night wondering what to make for dinner, and usually resorting to take out or something not as healthy as I would like it to be. So far so good –

  8. Laura @Joyful Shimmy

    I think I’m doing this challenge too. I need to save some money and also get some energy. I dont know wha tit is about cooking at home that i feel love in the food (yes it sounds quirky). Last night after spending time in the gym i ended up stocking up in greens and veggies which oh my i missed them. One of my resolutions is to pay down my credit card debt by not using my credit cards and putting some of the extra money there. Thank you for the extr boost of inspiration.

  9. Kimra

    Leftovers! I can get sick of eating the same thing a few nights in a row, so I try to make things that will freeze well and get me through the nights of “ehhhhhh I don’t want to cook, so let’s get a pizza”

  10. Ali

    I actually do combos of all that is mentioned above! Def grocery shop every week, make a large meal and utilize the left overs, and bring my lunch pretty much everyday. Good luck experimenting!!

    1. Theodora

      @Ali: Lately, I’ve really realized how much I overspend at the grocery store (and on the wrong things!)–I really just need stuff to make one or two big meals. I usually end up buying too many veggies (yes, that is a problem! :)) and not enough protein.

  11. Allison

    I pack my lunch every day for work [can’t really go out anyways since I teach, could always try cafeteria food but I’ll pass haha] and pack snacks in my bag if I know I won’t be home for a few hours… I too could cut back on my Sbucks visits but IDK if I’m willing to part with it 😛

  12. Jana

    I bring my lunch to work almost every day and limit dinner out (or take out) to no more than once a week. Besides saving money, I eat a lot healthier when I prepare my own food.

  13. Lindsay @ The Reluctant Runner

    My new goal is to only go to the grocery store ONCE per week, and if I forget something I just have to work around it. I usually make a ton of trips to the store, and even if I’m actually picking up one thing I forgot, I never spend less than $10. That adds up like crazy! This is the first week I’m doing it, and I had to break my rule once because I forgot an ingredient that I really couldn’t make my dinner without, but I only got that one thing and resisted all the other things I thought of that I could buy!

  14. Anon

    I was going to comment about this earlier but I felt very awkward because this is your blog but I miss your food posts a lot. I feel like I vaguely remember you saying something how you bored of them so I felt selfish for asking but I really would love if you could include more of them especially if youre going to be making stuff for the eat in challenge.

    1. Theodora

      @Anon: This is one anon I <3! I stopped doing them, also, because I thought nobody cared because I am a terrible cook. I am planning on starting to include some more food.

  15. Sasha @ Running From The Law

    Bringing my own coffee to work is essential! Packing lunch is also good – but I can be good all day and ruin it with takeout or too many drinks at HH, so making something in th crockpot is great. I assemble at night and just turn on in the AM and it’s waiting for me when I get home, no excuses!

  16. Susie

    What a great challenge! I’m good with eating breakfast at home in the mornings. My office provides lunch which is a great perk but unfortunately the catering tends to be heavy and rather unhealthy so I’ve gotten into the habit of taking lunch to work with me too. Dinners are trickier with the temptation of take out at the end of a long day. I’m going to join you on this challenge for a month and see how much I save 🙂

  17. Laurel

    I too am a grocery store once a week kind of girl, I find it helps me focus on buying stuff I really need, not just want because I’m hungry, and get better at planning ahead. Second, I make BIG batches of things- whole box of pasta, jar of sauce, and container of tofu = 6 lunches/dinners. I also am implementing a “fewer drinks at weeknight dinners” plan in order to save money and control the dessert urge a little more…

  18. Jen@FoodFamilyFitness

    We are trying to save more money this year and working on the budget and especially the grocery budget. I’m so sick of planning meals and buying food and then we go out and it all goes to waste. The plan for January is to cut back and only go out two times per week…which will be our lunches out on Saturdays while running errands and Friday night out to eat. So no more random weeknight dinners out…I think it’s going to save more than we think!

  19. Irina G (Fit Flexitarian)

    I love this! I think it’s always a great idea to take a challenge but make it your own. I wish I’d known this sooner, otherwise I would have joined in. But I’m already planning to do the same thing in February (along with a cleanse… so it’ll be eat-in-cleanse-month for me!).

    I think the BEST perimeter you’re setting for yourself is to only eat out when you’re with friends. It’s so easy to be an NYC girl and lazy around at home and order take-out, but the money really does add up (a $10 pad thai here, a $8 salad there…) so this rule will definitely help get you on the way to pay off those credit cards. I look forward to seeing how you do! 🙂

  20. Joelle (on a pink typewriter)

    I’ve recently realized that if I cook large quantities of food (like a meal that serves 4), I’m more likely to eat in because I HATE to waste food or let food go bad.. So I spend more at the grocery store, but not in the long run. I know, common sense but I totally never thought about it.

  21. Diana

    Yay! So glad you’re doing the challenge again this year, Theodora! I love how you adapted it to fit your needs. I hope you inspire more people not to be afraid of EIM, but to tackle it their way! Can’t wait to read more posts about how the challenge is going for you. 🙂 Here we go!

  22. Ash Bear

    This week has proven that cooking once or twice during the week can result in four-five nights of home cooked goodness. I’ve also found that shopping on Sunday for the week means that you always have plenty of work snacks, breakfast ingredients, and dinner components which therefore limits the excuses.

    1. Pasha

      The benchmarked does NOT porrefk and thus uses only one process. This functionality has only been added very recently to the trunk.I don’t really think it is an issue how a certain framework has been implemented. The end user only cares about the ease of use and its performance. Not wether the heavy lifting is being done by an external library (such as libevent) or an optimized inner loop.I agree with you that there is some inconsistency with the functionality of the different implementations. A more thorough test could make those irrelevant. Ie, instead of a single ping-pong make the respond to multiple ‘ping!’ requests by a single client, each fired with a certain interval.

  23. Megan at

    Hi Theodora! I’m new to your blog, and a fan! Love the eat in more month challange. My bf and I have already started our own. We decided the food budget has been way to high and we are now tracking grocery trips, meals eaten in and meals eaten out to see if we can find the major problem, I’m worried that it might be buying food we don’t always get around to eating. Then it’s just a waste of food and Money. So this year we are trying to do better, by first tracking our budget more closely.
    We also make too many shopping trips. Like 4-5 times a week. Not necessary. You buy extra stuff every time!

  24. Pingback: Weight Loss Success: Keeping it Off

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