The Restaurant Diet

Hello All!

In July 2009, Scott and I went on a diet. Now, I typically don’t believe in dieting, but this was no ordinary diet. When Scott and I realized that we were averaging $475 a month on eating outside the home, we nearly passed out right on the floor! I seriously can’t believe we were going out to eat THAT much. But the numbers didn’t lie. We were going to eat that much and desperately needed to stop.

Restaurant check:

So, we put ourselves on a diet – a spending diet. We called it our Restaurant Diet

The Restaurant Diet – For one month, it was no spending any of our own money on Starbucks or any other restaurants, including take-out. Was it difficult?  You bet it was! I felt like every Starbucks was calling my name. I felt like everyone in the world was going out to eat but me. Although my family knew of our self-inflicted plight, my coworkers did not (I guess I was too embarrassed to tell them). By the end of the month, I think I just about ran out of excuses for why I couldn’t go out to eat (unless, of course, someone else was buying!). Our only reprieve was a gift certificate that we strategically used and the welcomed business trip that allowed for a Starbucks or two.

Although there were several great reasons why we did this little experiment, the main reason was to save money. And, believe it or not, after one month on the Restaurant Diet we shaved $500 off of our food bill! Wow, it felt so good to say that we saved that much money on food. And we did it by following these 8 Strategies for Dining At Home

Although our diet only lasted for one month, we said that we would try to cut down on eating outside the home. Yeah right, that lasted a few weeks, then, it was back to the old Jen and Scott – spending money freely.

However, after seeing our December food budget go through the roof (granted, the holidays were thrown in there), we decided that January was as good a time as any to start our diet again. We would have actually started this sooner, but our intentions were clouded by the excuses in our heads, including…

Excuses for Eating Out…

  1. We’re too busy, so we must rely on going out to eat as our Plan B – but plan B quickly turned into our plan A.
  2. We don’t want to clean up. We don’t mind the cooking park, it’s the cleaning that sucks.
  3. We’re tired of our “go-to” recipes and must use restaurant food to get us out of our slump.
  4. We have quite a bit of traveling coming up, so how can we avoid going out to eat when we’re out of town?
  5. We both agreed – food just tastes better when someone else makes it for you.

OK, no more excuses. Tomorrow, January 4, we will officially begin the second round of our Restaurant Diet, which will last through February 3. Although this diet is difficult, it really is simple in theory because it only has one rule:

Rule #1 – No spending our own money on food/drinks other than groceries*

*Gift cards, gift certificates, and spending other people’s money are all fair game!

Ready, set, go!


  1. Sounds like a good idea! Plus it’ll allow you to have better control of what goes into your meals 😀 Good luck!

    • Hi Christy! You are absolutely right about controlling what goes into my meals. By the way, when I told my father-in-law that we were going back on the restaurant diet, he said “Great, what restaurant are you going to first?” Too funny!

  2. Such a good idea! There are times when I’ve spent more than is holy on a “good” bag of coffee, but when I realize that 1 bag is the same as 4 cups from Starbucks, and it’ll keep me for weeks, I realize how much it’s worth it.

    • Hi Evan. I really need to try making my own coffee at home. I inherited a coffee maker, so I don’t see why I can’t – just laziness I guess 🙁