Thursday, January 21, 2010
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.