Eat at Home Challenge


No matter how much money you save eating out, it almost always costs more than eating at home. It is also healthier to eat at home because you know exactly what is in your food. Nonetheless, my husband and I usually have a date night once a week that involves dinner and we take the kids out once or twice a month too.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with grabbing a bite out if you can afford it. This month, however, we are buying 1/4 of a cow, which will increase our grocery budget significantly. I was trying to think of ways to cut our budget and eating out came to mind. If we don’t eat out for a month it will give us a significant amount of money towards the purchase of the cow.

Inspired by Cyrstal’s No Spending Spree, I decided to challenge our family to eat at home for a month. We did this several years ago when we were getting out of debt and I was amazed at how much extra money we had at the end of the month. While we are definitely more disciplined now than we were years ago, it is still an easy way to save money.

Do you want to join me in this challenge? I’m sure you can save some money by eating at home for the next 30 days too! It won’t be too difficult if we encourage each other and maybe share some tips for getting food on the table at home.

Let me know if you’re with me!!!

Photo credit: Thomas Hawk

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  1. I’m with you!! I’ve been wondering where all our money goes, and I have realized its to all those Fast Food stops we make when I’m trying to take the kids to see Daddy for lunch!! So now I’m going to stick to my plan of if we’re eating with him, we’re packing a lunch. Then the kids get to see Daddy, and I get to save money.

  2. Misty Anderson says:

    I’m in! We have been hitting the fast food counters way too much lately, and I took my 4 kids for lunch to Chick-Fil-A today and the total bill was $30! FOR FAST FOOD LUNCH!!! I am Out of the eating out game officially! This challenge came just in time! Thanks,
    AND my favorite way to get supper on the table every night is to cook extra and have left overs! They usually taste better the second time around anyway!

  3. I would dearly love to but we are in such a transitional phase right now, with lots of travel involved. Can we compromise by eating at home when we are in town? 🙂

  4. I’ve been telling myself to do this for a few months, but I’ve been putting it off due to extensive travel. I don’t see much travel for myself in the next month, so I’m in!

  5. In, starting Saturday since we are traveling tomorrow!

  6. Good idea and good luck! Post please ***details on buying a portion of a cow*** how did you go about it? We want to do that, but don’t know where to start and what price too look for. Beef prices are insane!

  7. Count me in, but we’ll have to do it the month of July because we’ll be out of town on vacation! Probably need to save some money after being in Denver! LOL

  8. Wait, you’re buying a cow? Tell me about this.

    And yes, ever since I moved out and live on my own in NYC AND turned vegan, eating out went from something I do all the time to something I do once every now and then.

  9. We do this as a family every year durning Lent. It is amazing how much money we can save (and I don’t even think we eat out that much)

  10. I’m in too! I can totally relate to the other poster about Chick-fil-a. That is our fast food weakness! I am trying to stretch $50 a week for groceries but so far it has been really difficult. It’s just Me, my Dh and my Ds 5. I have been so un-motivated lately, but I need to get my butt in gear. This will definitely help! Thanks!

  11. I would join you – but we are going to be away for the 4th of July for a week at a family reunion in Amelia Island !! I’ll have to do it when we get back ! GREAT IDEA

  12. In! Hubby just got a job after 2.5 years of unemployment. We have survived with many difficulties, but we did it. Now it’s time to catch up! Nice to have a support group out there!

  13. Sounds great to me! We do take breaks from eating out periodically, but it is so much easier to have eating out as an option when we are traveling in the summer. I always pack plenty of snacks, but this will definitely make me plan a little more than usual.

  14. TheHappyHousewife says:

    What?!?!? You better stop by! I need to see my buddies!

  15. TheHappyHousewife says:

    I know, I love Chick-Fil-A, but good grief you could send a kid to college for what you pay for lunch! I’m a sucker for kids eat free, with 7 kids it always feels like we are getting a deal, lol!

  16. Jenay Hale says:

    I love trying this… often though our life is SO busy, we do not get home till 9 at night.
    We did this for a little over a month with my in laws one week we would pay for the groceries the next they would. We tried different recipes. The major challenge was the kids Actually getting them to eat what we cooked. It was good, a real bounding moment for me and my family. When it all came to an end. I realized I actually missed it. So did my kids. Starting in July we are going to be doing this challenge, at the end of the month we are going on a trip. And hopefully afterwards we can start it up again! Good luck everyone!

  17. We are sooo in, we are on a debt elimination plan and are saving everywhere we can!

  18. Christina says:

    It is also healthier to eat at home because you know exactly what is in your food.

    That sentence does not make any sense – how does knowing what’s in your food make it automatically healthy?

  19. We had our income cut by over half in January of this year. We didn’t eat out for months, not just to try and save a buck or two, but because our bills exceeded our income. We are still behind on many bills, but have now moved into a ridiculously small apartment to save on rent. This month is our first ‘splurge’ since January and we are actually going to eat out. It’s a huge deal. LOL! We used to go out to eat once every two weeks… other than that planned splurge, we’re with you 😀

  20. TheHappyHousewife says:

    Because you are in control of what you make. For example, many restaurants have MSG in their food that is prepackaged. It is easy to avoid MSG when cooking at home because you can read the label. You don’t have to cook healthier at home, but you can.

  21. How did you get in on the buying a cow thing? We’d love to do that, but have no idea to make it happen!

  22. you also control HOW you prepare it. You can use fat free, or fresh ingredients when restaurants typically cook with a lot of butter and/or grease, etc. AND you control portion size. So many restaurants give you about 2-3 servings per dish, at home you can take only what you’ll eat in that sitting. 🙂

  23. This is suchna good idea! I have noticed that we have been eating WAY too mich fast food simply because it’s easier. I plan to do a big freezer cooking session so we can have more prepared meals that are just as easy. I also suggest for cheap recipes to make at home…most ofnem are really easy to ore pare as well! We use it all the time and it really does help with our grocery bill! Good luck with your challenge…My family will be attempting it alongside you!!!

  24. We definitely eat most of our meals at home. If we go out, it’s generally for breakfast on Saturday morning, or occasionally I pick up something at a restaurant when I have a coupon (i.e. $10 off $20) for dinner…We splurge every now and then for celebrations and birthdays, like we’ll do next week.

  25. I’m in! is there a blog button?

  26. We buy a 1/4 or 1/2 beef every year, as well as 1/2 a pig too. The investment is high up front but it will save you in the long run. My difficulty comes in with too many roasts (which I’m not keen on). We do cook & eat at home most of the time, and I make my husband lunches when he’s working in town (company pays when he has to go out overnight), but we still get pizza and other things. I do love that we know where our meat comes from, because we actually know the rancher/butcher and have been to his ranch! He double wraps everything in freezer paper and then vacuum packs the portions.

    For those wanting to buy meat in bulk, get together with another family (or 3) and split the cost. It’s much cheaper this way and everyone gets a good assortment of meat. Most butchers or ranchers who do this will also make whatever size packages you want, such as 1/25 or 1.5# packages of ground beef, or 4 or 7 steaks to a package, etc.

  27. This is a fabulous idea! We’ve been getting food from out way too much lately. I’m afraid my family might be awfully upset with me though. (Especially because we always get a meal out after church.)

  28. I am with you! I think this is a GREAT idea!!!!

  29. I’m in!! i’ll start tomorrow. oh wish me luck.
    I’ve been dreaming of doing this for years!

  30. We actually just started this last week, as I’ve made the decision to quit my job (LONG story) and we’re looking to cut spending everywhere and anywhere we can. Good luck!

  31. Serenity says:

    I am IN!!!! We are even going to pack our cooler when we head to Cedar Point and a Detroit Tigers game in the next few weeks. Now that my hubby is neck deep in Dave Ramsey, he is VERY motivated to cut costs but still have fun. We actually had a ball thinking of things we could pack that would still be a treat but keep our cost down 🙂 It felt good to work together and be creative to give our kiddos a fun time!!!!!

    PS: We are even making ice cream sandwiches to take to the ball game. They cost $5.00 EACH at the park but we can make our own for MUCH less 🙂

  32. I’m in – if we can start in July – we are in the middle of a huge remodel on our home and can not even live in the house (thank goodness our daughter lives close)! We we move back in I will be looking for any way to save money to pay for this remodel job! LOL! Thanks for all the great ideas!

  33. I am in…just planned my meals for this week and did most of my shopping! We’re having my parents over tomorrow night instead of all going out to eat like we normally do on Father’s Day.

  34. With the economy the way it is…I know my family and I have had to cut back on fluff expenditures such as eating out, shopping, and entertainment. With that said, I have really been trying to use up leftovers, make due with what we have and start my own garden.
    We rarely eat out anymore and I just love the fresh garden veggie and herbs we have been getting out of the garden..they taste so much better. Now I can have a tomato out of the garden for a few cents instead of one that cost me $2.00…It is quite entertaining to work out in the garden and watch the thunderstorm roll in…it has brought our family closer together and I have lost some weight in the process…P.S. Love this website too…lol

  35. HERE HERE We are in!

  36. All over this with you-we’ve eaten out more in the past few weeks than we usually do in a month!! So totally on board 🙂

  37. Misty Anderson says:

    So today, I had to take my DD16 to the dr. and the appointment was 3 hours long and I knew we wouldn’t get out of there till lunch and would be so tempted to go out…I made us sandwiches before we left and took a bag of chips and some drinks. It was plenty for us to eat, and we didn’t have to stop anywhere. This weekend was EXTREMELY difficult though because my DH wanted to go out every time I turned around. IT was sos frustrating, but I got my way…the only thing I let slide, was we went to Taco Bell on Friday night on the way to the $1 theatre and 4 of us got $2 deals….

  38. I’m doing it and keeping track of my progress on my blog. Cheers.

  39. Elizabeth says:

    I am so in!!! I am so excited!
    Thank you for the post!!

  40. Is it to late to start …. if not i’m in….

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