Turbo Tax

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Frugal Friday - How to stop eating out without feeling deprived!


Our income was cut back drastically in 2006.  We had to quickly learn how to live on less than we made.

One area glared at me - Eating Out.  This was hard!  It was definitely an entitlement issue for me.  It was something we always did when growing up, even when money was tight.  My folks never spent money we didn't have, but this was one thing they always made sure they had money for.

However, I have learned as my family grows, it costs so much more for us to go out to eat.  Also, it doesn't taste nearly as good as my home cooked food anyway!  There are very few meals we eat in a restaurant that I can't make myself at home.  Also, what I make is tastier and healthier.

I've even found that when we are hungry, it's faster to make a quick meal at home than go somewhere.  By the time we get dressed, drive to the restaurant, order our food, and finally get the food and eat, I could have made our meal and cleaned it up, especially using this principle. 

I love to cook.  However, making 3 meals a day 365 days per year, for 4-5 people at each meal stretches me above my limits.  Meaning, I want breaks from cooking too.  Not to mention the days when everything went wrong, McDonalds was no longer a back up plan.  What's a girl to do?

First thing, ham sandwiches and chips are cheaper and probably just as healthy as a hamburger and fries!  If you've got cut up vegies on hand or fruit, pair that with a ham sandwich and it's definitely healthier than fast food. (faster too!)

Next, if you want to plan a night off from cooking, put meals in the freezer.  If you don't cook a lot, start off with buying convenience foods for the freezer.  It costs more than food from scratch, but it's a start.  It will also cost much less than running through the drive through.  Once you're ready to start cooking more, experiment with meals cooked from scratch.  You'll need to experiment with which meals your family enjoys freeze well.  Check out my Recipe section.  I have many meals that will freeze well.  I continue to add to them weekly.

 Yes, I LOVE to go out to eat to get a break from cooking, but we've decided for our family it's not worth the cost to do often.

Do you have great ideas to help eating at home be as nice as eating out?

Check out more Frugal Friday ideas at Life As Mom and Thrifty Thursday with Coupon Teacher.


Coupon Teacher said...

Thanks for linking up!

Melissa said...

We generally go out to eat once a week--always with coupons, but it's still an expense. Now that we're looking for additional ways to trim our budget, freezer meals are part of the plan. Like you, I like having a day off from cooking, and freezer meals help a lot!

blessedpath said...

This has been where a ton of our money has gone in the past. We have not gone out for the whole month of Jan yet. I, too, have enjoyed cooking and spending the time around our dinner table as a family.. plus the leftovers make a great lunch or quick meal if I have to work that evening! Hey, a Quetion for you, I joined the myview survey through your site. Can I put it on my blog for others to join and if so do I get points if they do join?? thanks! Carol

purple squirrel said...

Good Reminder!

My trouble is that for us "eating out" tends to be a "Social" activity, that we do (Mostly with a particular family), and it's hard to figure out how to reduce that.... hmmm maybe this is the basis for a post of my own~ :)

Mimi said...

The nutritional and monetary benefits are so much better with a home cooked meal, to say nothing of the feeling of accomplishment of cooking for your family. I don't cook gourmet every meal, mostly well balanced, plus I know exactly what goes into each dish...low salt and less fat calories than restaurant or already prepared food. Because I love to cook, it doesn't feel like a chore that has to be done.
Have a great weekend!

Lori @ Couponomic Stimulus Package said...

blessedpath, Could you please e-mail me at snlsvc05 @ gmail . com with the spaces removed? I'm not exactly sure what you're talking about. I want to be able to give you the right answer. Thanks! Lori

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