We want to save money for some of our family goals. We have looked for ways to cut spending. We've managed to lower our phone bill, cell phone bill, and cable bill. Each savings was not monumental ~ but added up together and spread over time, it can be substantial. That was fine. That was good. But not good enough.
So we issued ourselves a great challenge. Ready? Sit down.
We are not eating out for an entire year. I know. Shocking, right? For those of you who know me well know that I love to go out to eat. Especially Mexican food. Oh, this will be tough. Greg says for him it's not such a great sacrifice because I make better meals than most he eats in a restaurant. Aww, thanks, honey. I do like to cook. But I also like to have someone else cook for me from time to time ~ once or twice a week. I told him whether we eat at home or out, he gets his meals cooked for him. I only get mine cooked for me when we go out. He understood my perspective.
So, we started our No Eat Out Year when we returned from Disneyland. It's been over a month and we've done well.
There are some necessary exceptions to this rule:
- If we go out of town, we will obviously have to break the rule. We did have to cheat on our challenge when we went out to town for Carter's birthday.
- When the weather gets hotter, Greg will have to eat lunch out. If not, he will bake himself in the metal FedEx oven. He will need a break from the agonizing heat. It's just not safe.
I do miss eating out. But I just keep thinking about all the money we are not spending by not paying someone else to make our meals. We do have a couple of gift cards from Christmas, so when I don't think I can stand it any longer or for something really special, we will use those.
Keeping with the frugal spirit, Greg decided he will tackle his own truck maintenance. Now this is a sacrifice for him. He doesn't enjoy working on cars like his dad does. He does not like the feel of oil or grease on his hands. Sawdust? Dirt? Different story. No oil.
He bought a book and did some research on pricing. This morning he headed out to the auto supply store to buy the supplies he needed to change the oil, coolant, gas filter, air filter, and serpentine belt. We save tons with him changing the serpentine belt alone.
He bit the bullet and crawled under the car. He got oily. He washed his hands 67,000 times.
As he finished each task, I asked him to rate its difficulty ~ 1 being easy and 10 being hard. Nothing rated over a 5. There was even a 2 and a 3 in there. These stellar ratings even came after the hood with the faulty hydraulic arm came crashing on his head before he even got started. He anticipates that most things will be a solid 3 next time.
He was not especially amused with me and the camera though. He tried to hide his face while double checking his manual. But in my charming presence, he couldn't hold back his smirk too well.
To provide moral support (and get some vitamin D therapy) I stationed a chair on the front walk and worked on some crafting. I think I got a little sunburned.
So folks, No Eat Out Year might be a loooong time. You might hear whining a time or two. I do not promise to be cheerful about it all the time. But who knows ~ maybe we'll feel up to extending our challenge beyond the year.
In the meantime, you are welcome to come over for a meal. I'll be cooking.