What started as a fun experiment has turned into an unexpected lifestyle change. And before your bullshit radar goes off, let me just say that I have never experienced this much success with a personal challenge, budget-related or otherwise. For some reason this one just worked! I stopped eating takeout and delivery food on January 25 and I’ve had zero slip-up’s.
Granted, my rules are extremely liberal. There are two very specific guidelines:
- No takeout/carry-out food
- No delivery food
Before this challenge, I was eating takeout or delivery up to two times per week. While that seems incredibly conservative, it had a substantial impact on my overall budget. I felt like I’d never be able to control my takeout cravings without completely eliminating the option to choose the convenient, overpriced meal instead of a home-cooked creation.
I only had one near-slip-up, which occurred after a visit to the DMV. It was the day I had to change my license from Georgia to Rhode Island. When the kind man at the DMV handed me my Rhode Island license, I was immediately hit with all the feels. So, I went to Chick-Fil-A to eat a biscuit and hashbrowns with a sweet tea. I still didn’t take the food to go and eat it in my apartment, alone with my feelings. But it was more or less breaking the rules and I felt kind of guilty about it after. Whatever, I needed a taste of home. Can you blame me?
Other than my little Southern food frenzy, I have been doing remarkably well–significantly better than I even intended to do. I definitely went into this challenge thinking that I’d occasionally allow myself to give in and pick-up Chipotle on my walk home from work. For the first month or so, I would stare at Chipotle longingly, wishing for my two-month challenge to be over quickly so I could indulge in a $9 burrito bowl.
Yet somewhere along the way, I completely forgot about how delicious Chipotle was and started focusing all my attention on the real gem: my grocery store. Logically, the grocery store is a much more exciting place than every restaurant combined–it has everything! I think I saw it as a nuisance before, but now it gives me more of a the-world-is-my-oyster vibe.
A love affair with my grocery store isn’t the only change I’ve experienced as a result of this challenge. Yes, I saved money and I’m continuing to do so. But it’s so much more than that. I’ve opened my life up in a way that was/is totally unexpected. You know I love a good list, so look out for a summary post coming soon!
Spoiler alert: Here are some of my main takeaways (yes, pun!):
- I’m reaffirming my love of cooking.
- I know which purchases are essential vs. extraneous.
- My life is more creative and fulfilling.
- My budget is more manageable and less stressful.
- I’m learning to be much kinder to myself.
- I’m starting to understand how it feels to live within my means.
Have I convinced anyone to join in this strange and beautiful challenge? It’s almost too easy to turn down, right? Who’s ready to join me in the world of #notakeout?
You’re a will power MACHINE! I am literally reading this while eating take out, ugh! I’m definitely going to steal this challenge.
Yes, girl!! I’m happy to have you in on this insanely cool life hack. I’ve had three other people join (one couple, so I suppose that makes four)! We’re starting a very slow-moving revolution. Are you going to try for a certain amount of time or just see how long you can go? It’s super easy if you basically just use the grocery store as a stand in for every restaurant you get takeout from. Sending luck!