Our Team Didn’t Dine Out for the Entire Month of February… or Did We?
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Another month means another team challenge! 👊
And while many of us loved it so much and kept with it, this month brought us a whole new challenge.
Want to really challenge yourself this year?
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What did we do in February, you ask?
For the month of February, our entire team was challenged to a dining-in challenge. And yes, it proved to be just as intimidating and hard as it sounds. 😅 Basically, the goal for the entire month was to not eat out. Say what?!
Luckily, it’s the shortest month of the year 🤣 and we all did get one free-day pass for Valentine’s Day. ❤️ But since most of us on the team love to dine out or order delivery to our homes, this month was sure challenging. However, we all were really looking forward to one major perk of this challenge…
And you already know that here at Hip2Save, we’re all about keeping cash in our pockets. 🙌 Plus, there are many other great benefits to dining-in such as more family time and likely eating much healthier meals.
We’ve even created a FREE 30-Day Dining Out Challenge Tracker for you to try it out next month!
February started off rough with endless Super Bowl parties… but we managed to pull through!
“We picked up some of the delicious wings at Costco that you can bake at home and they’re such a great deal. Plus, I just batch cooked a bunch of dolmades, falafel, and magic green dressing. Yum!” – Jami
“We are going to our friend’s house for a party so I made Lina’s pizza salad. The other couple ordered wings but I feel like we are still okay since we did not make the purchase!” – Ashley
“I made a big salad yesterday, which always makes it easier to actually eat the vegetables when it’s already prepped. However, I also love Ashley’s new Everything Bagel Chicken Tenders recipe, so I think I’ll need to make those now too!” – Emily
“We stayed in for the Super Bowl. I focused on making comfort food, and enough to have leftovers to eat throughout the week. I made a big pot of our Hip2Keto chili – so good and so easy to make! And my fam also loves to devour jalapeno poppers so I made a few batches of those in the air fryer.” – Collin
And some of us really worked the system on Super Bowl Sunday…
“If my uncle owns the pizzeria does it count? It’s basically just a family donation.” 😂 – Alana
“I’ve received three text offers from various fast food places today – I’ve replied ‘STOP’ to all of them so I’m not tempted to eat out when I see a deal or Super Bowl offer.” – Chelsey
Here were some of our failures and trials for this month:
“This challenge was so much easier said than done! I definitely did not achieve 30 days of avoiding dining out since I had moments of weakness like an overdue dinner with all of my girlfriends and a greasy Sunday afternoon Uber Eats order made necessary by our too-much-fun Saturday night out. However, this challenge has made me so much more aware of the frequency I grab a bite to eat or coffee on the go.” – Emily
“I have to be honest when a grandparent called and said they would watch all of the kiddos so my husband and I could have a date night out, this challenge did not play into my mind at all! My hubs and I went out and had a great time, with no regrets!” – Stacy
“The hardest time for me was when we had to travel out of state for the weekend for a basketball tournament. Although we did eat the breakfast provided by the hotel, we had no choice but to eat out for lunch & dinner for the rest of the weekend.” – Bryn
“Mistakes were made this week. We visited my mom up north this weekend, but then we got snowed in we were 2 hours from home and had to stay an extra night, which meant all packed food and snacks were gone. On Monday, I had to rush the kids to school and of course, they were going to be late for lunch by the time we got there, so we went to the drive-through. I only grabbed burgers for the older kids. Lenny and I went home and heated up leftovers, so it’s only a half fail.” – Jenna P
“So I totally had some fails this month, mainly during the week my sister and dad came to visit. It’s super hard when you have guests visiting to eat in the whole time. We did end up eating at the house more than eating out, so that was good. However, we still ate out a few times. They really wanted to check out some of the restaurants in our area. But hey, I did save on a couple of the restaurant bills by either signing up for their email offers or checking for coupons/offers on their Facebook pages. And one way I always save BIG when dining out with my family is ordering water. It’s crazy how fast it adds up when everyone orders drinks.” – Collin
But here’s how the challenge changed us overall:
We decided to make our own coffee from here on out.
Some of us came to the realization that you don’t need the drive-thru coffee window when you can get a better cup at home!
“I didn’t order coffee on the go ONCE! That’s a huge win for me! In the past, I used to be guilty of at least 2-3 coffees a week — and trust me, it adds up. Now I doubt I’ll ever go back to that habit because I realize I actually don’t even like the taste of my go-to coffee spot because home-brewed coffee is 10x better… and cheaper!” – Emily
We became aware of our dining out frequency.
We used our fun tracker to mark smiley faces on the days we successfully avoided dining out or put frowny faces on the days we slipped up. You can grab the printable too and customize to any 30-days you’d like!
“At this stage in my life with four kiddos in the house all under 10, I knew this was going to test my sanity so I honestly wasn’t all-in. However, the challenge was on my mind many times, which helped keep us on track and we ended up skipping fast food several times during the month.
For instance, we often grab a bite to eat on the way to our weekly playdates, and instead, we packed lunches & snacks. All in all, we did save money this month by eliminating the quick fast food runs – this was a nice refresher that I need to make it more of a priority to not eat out.” – Stacy
We got better with meal planning.
Meal planning is something we can all feel good about… when we actually do it. 😏This month, a lot of us resorted to meal planning since it’s a no-fail attempt to stay in. And for a lot of us, it proved to really work!
“This challenge has been SO great for my family! We live super close to lots of fast-food restaurants so our biggest temptations are when we’re out and about!
I’ve started packing some snack boxes for everyone, plus the boxes keep things like crackers from getting crushed! These have made it much easier to resist the temptation of grabbing fast food and other than an anniversary dinner and one birthday party at Chuck E Cheese we did so good this month! – Chelsey
“I usually do a lot of cooking at home, but when we are out and about, we are always grabbing something to eat. To keep from hitting up a restaurant, we actually grabbed healthy snacks from Target a couple of times while running errands. Not only did it save time and money, but it also made me feel good about giving the kids something healthy as opposed to just something convenient.” – Jenna P
We saved some serious cash!
“When I added how much we spent on eating out in January ($423 😱), that made this challenge easy! I wanted to save money and I did! I made sure that before I left the house, I had easy snacks so if we got hungry, we had enough to curb our appetites until we got home.
We had to do more meal planning at night but it was a great experience in managing our time and money. We’ve actually decided to extend this challenge through March!” – Jennifer
“We usually budget $150 for dining out each month (and always go over). We spent less than $50 this month, as opposed to $200 in January. And now March’s dining out budget = $50!” – Jenna P
We became aware of the meals out that really matter.
“My biggest takeaway is that I don’t mind spending money on eating out but it drives me nuts when we spend it somewhere unnecessary and unhealthy like McDonald’s. I’d rather have one nice steak dinner a month than 10 McDonald’s trips which is exactly what we were doing before.
Not only did we cut down on our monthly takeout spending but it also helped me think about and make changes to where we should be eating out.” – Chelsey
We even tried some new meal delivery services.
We are huge fans of meal delivery services! In fact, we recently tested a bunch of them out and even recently fell in love with one that can get dinner on the table in under 15 minutes! However, Everyplate has definitely been one of our recent favorites and totally came in handy during our challenge this month! (Make sure to read more here and learn how you can score meals for as low at $3.33!)
“I actually found this challenge to be fairly doable since I’ve been ordering Everyplate meal boxes for the last four weeks. Since I now have these meals sitting in my fridge just waiting to be prepared, I am really not tempted to eat out at all. Plus, I save my two favorite meals for the weekend so I have yummy options for Friday and Saturday nights when I’d typically want to go out!” – Bryn
We even made sure to have other meals to fall back on.
If you’ve been around for a while, you know that Lina knows a thing or two about getting a great meal on the table. However, even she admits to the struggle sometimes, but with her recent post about which grocer has the best-prepared foods, it made it easy to hop on the home-cooked meal train. 👏
“Between being sick most of the month and the kid’s crazy sports schedules it has been hard to cook every night. However, I LOVE the idea of saving and choosing not to eat out and I found it helpful to keep a few fall-back meals on hand just in case. I really like the Costco ones, like their taco kit and BBQ brisket.” – Lina
Some of us even benefitted by doing the Keto challenge, too.
If you’re not among the thousands of people that joined us during February for our keto challenge, it’s never too late! If you hop over to our sister site, Hip2Keto, you’ll find tons of inspiration from delicious recipes (like our super popular keto chicken broccoli casserole – pictured above) to dining guides and even meal planning!
Plus, the 30-Day Keto Challenge runs year-round so you can join whenever it works best for you!
“I think since I’m doing the Keto Challenge right now, it has helped me with our February challenge! The keto challenge and dine-in challenge just go hand in hand and I’ve been doing so well with staying on track. I’m really loving our team challenges – these are all things I KNOW I should be working on but need that extra push to do and it’s so much better when you’re doing things as a team! “ – Jennifer
However, some of us (Stetson…cough, cough) got a little cocky. 🤣
Clearly… we all know he’s joking because we have proof of his “dining-in” challenge. 🤣🤫
“I DESTROYED this challenge. Not a single day went by where I even wanted to eat out. Easiest challenge by far and I hope March is harder than this challenge. SO EASY. Come on, guys.” – Stetson
And even when we weren’t ready for this challenge… we still made the best of it.
“I have not been participating in the challenge because I was not ready to until now – better late than never right?! Tonight we chose to stay home and had an extra special fondue treat!” – Erica
Most importantly, we loved ourselves even when we failed.
“If you fall off the wagon or screw up, you are not out. The biggest lesson when this happens in EVERYTHING you do is to just make the next thing you do the right thing and get back on track. Instead of sabotaging the rest of your month, which is what I normally would do…I’m going to just say ‘Okay, I didn’t do well that day… but today I’m awesome!’.
I think this is one of the most important lessons of any of these team challenges. At the end of the day, if I typically grab to-go 10 times a month but only did 2 times this month, that is HUGE to me.” – Michelle
Want to try our dining-in challenge for yourself?
Make sure to use our FREE printable and let us know how you do!
Check out this entire week of sandwich-free easy school lunch ideas.