Last week the MBT team embarked on a weeklong challenge of not spending more than $25 on eating out. See how we did:

401(K) 2012 / Flickr |

401(K) 2012 / Flickr source

Amy: This challenge was way harder than I thought it was going to be. I usually don’t have a lot of social outings planned for the week, but because quite a few came up unexpectedly, I had to get creative. For one of the meetups, I went to the movies with a friend instead of grabbing dinner, and I already had snacks on me, so that worked.

The other two were unavoidable and even with my attempts to try to stay within budget, I couldn’t. I ended up failing the challenge by Saturday, and went over by approximately $10.

Claire: This money challenge was actually not that hard for me since I don’t go out much. I usually eat at home for dinner, so that definitely helps me save. The majority of my $25 budget went to Starbucks, after I discovered the location in DUMBO, next to our office. I spent a total of $15.39 on mainly coffee, a pack of M&Ms and a bagel. My decaf double expresso at Starbucks cost $2.59. After the final calculation, I have a whopping $9.61 left over!

Simon: Sadly, I couldn’t beat the challenge. In the last week, I spent $29.01 on food, $4.01 more than I should have. Roughly half way into the week, I already spent $14.01 on food. However, I wasn’t too worried as I did have some groceries to keep me from further spending and there hadn’t been any outing set for the weekend.

As many people know, most budget-breakers come in the form of unexpected expenses, which is what sent me over the $25 limit — all it took was a small, unexpected lunch with friends during the weekend.

Laura: I ended up failing by Friday. A breakdown:

$10 went to dinner with a friend on Tuesday. We had planned to go to a popular dim sum restaurant in Chinatown, but because of the money challenge, I suggested going somewhere cheaper instead. I know $10 isn’t considered cheap for Chinatown, but I wanted to go somewhere nicer.

$5 was spent on Macaron Day; I just couldn’t resist stopping by my favorite bakery to try some new flavors.

$5 went, regrettably, to some late-night eats at a restaurant I don’t even like. Why did I bother going?

The final $5 went toward the salad I had for lunch on Friday. I never pack lunch, so I suppose it was inevitable.

What I learned: spending less than $25 a week on eating out was only possible when I lived in the Midwest! I could swing it in NYC if I chose to be a temporary hermit, perhaps.

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MBT readers, how did you fare? Did anybody have money left over? Let us know in the comments section or leave a comment on our Facebook page to tell us whether or not you succeeded.

Related Stories:

Money Challenge: Spending $25 on Food

5 Simple Steps to Balance Spending and Saving

MBT Talks: What Was Your Last Big Splurge?

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