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This is a money saving tip for the 50/50 Challenge.

Looking for Big Wins

If you've been having a hard time saving money, then going cold turkey for the next year on spending will most likely fail.

For a more sustainable change, look at the areas of your life that don't matter as much for you and cut back mercilessly.

For us that would be cars, believe it or not.

My husband and I don't need to have new or recent model cars so we are now living without car payments.

We save up money to buy our cars with cash and we focus spending on things that we enjoy, like video games and travel.

It's about prioritizing your money on things you care about. That being said, if you're looking for a big quick win, cutting out an expense completely can work. You just have to do it the right way.

Why Monthly Money Challenges Work

If you want to go cold turkey and save a big amount of money, pick one area of your spending for one month and see what you can tackle.

Choose an area of spending that will have a big impact because it will motivate you to continue with finding frugal alternatives.

Brad from Enemy of Debt had a poll with his readers to see what their biggest hurdles were when it came to becoming debt free.

Here's what they said:

  • Unexpected Emergencies (42%)
  • Budgeting (42%)
  • Income (39%)
  • Eating Out (37%)
  • Behavioral Change (36%)
  • Sacrifice (33%)
  • Patience (33%)
  • Impulsive Spending (31%)

That honest feedback lead to a challenge he brought back this month that can help you reach your 50/50 goals.

No Restaurant in November Challenge

For many people, eating out is a big budget buster. Many of us enjoy breaking from routine and having an incredible meal prepared for us at someplace special. However many times, though, when we eat out we really do it for convenience.

Eating out repeatedly drains our savings and it can ruin a good thing.

That's why choosing to cut back on it can have some wonderfully big consequences for both our wallet and our health.

Right now, Enemy of Debt is hosting a No Restaurants in November where, as the name suggests, readers prepare meals from items that they bought at the grocery stores.

The rules are simple:

  • Eating out consists of buying any food from any place that could have been made at home.
  • In other words, everything you eat or drink will have to come from the grocery store — no exceptions!
  • No snack machines, or convenient store foods or snacks.
  • Specifically track your grocery spending on paper.
  • Save as much as you can! Track and record your savings each and every week!

I suggested going for the November challenge with Enemy of Debt.

Even if you don't follow it perfectly you'll save money.

I think you'll surprise yourself with how much you had been spending eating out.

An added bonus is that you can spend more time together with sit down family dinners.

If you're looking for ways to prepare healthy dinners fast, Wojo wrote about it on Married Food.

Thoughts on Cutting Back

By the way, I have no problems with eating out, my husband and I enjoy it. In fact we have quite a few favorite spots here in Raleigh.

The problem comes from overdoing and hurting yourself financially (and sometimes healthwise).

It's one of those areas where you get the biggest bang for your buck by cutting back for a limited time.

If there was one area in discretionary spending where you could cut back for just one month and save a ton of money, what would it be for you?

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

2 comments add your comment

  1. This looks like something interesting – and now that i”m not traveling as much, maybe i’ll be able to participate. When I was traveling so often, it was very hard to not eat at restaurants.

    • We’re traveling this month, so we won’t do the challenge, but we’ll move it to another month. We did this unintentionally after the baby was born when we were locked up in our house. Big savings! :)