Just Say No to Restaurants

Have you checked your budget lately?  Just as I thought, the end of the school year and all the last minute awards, programs and chaos, is causing that pesky food bill to go up. Why you ask? The answer is a simple one–going out to eat. Restaurant meals are one of the biggest culprits of blown budgets and can pile on the debt. You’ve taken a break from menu and meal planning again!

Take some time out right now to take a look at your food budget and figure out how many times you have eaten out this past month. I suspect (if you have school aged children) it is more than usual. A few factors besides being busy happens during this time of year that can cause a rise in the tendency to eat out.

The days get longer and the sun stays up longer so you are not reminded by the sun going down that you must cook dinner. I know that sounds crazy, but have you ever said, “look at the time!” and it’s 8 PM? So you call for pizza or take a run through the drive-thru. We may have longer day light hours, but we still have the same schedules, LOL!

The thing to remember is that it is natural to be less hungry as the weather warms up which is a great time to lighten the food we are cooking for our families.  Forgetting to make dinner until 8pm is a good sign that you just do not need as much food as you did during the cold winter months. That’s one way to put a shiny spin on this dilemma!

The plus side is this means less work, less heavy meals, and less eating out. Just having plenty of salad and sandwich makings on hand, veggies and fruits for snacking and a few nights of “make your own dinner” for the older kids by setting up a sandwich, salad, or potato bar. (Hot weather hint: make baked potatoes in the crockpot!)

Nine times out of ten the food you cook at home is going to be healthier, cost less, and take just as long to prepare as sitting and waiting at a restaurant. When you factor in the time it takes to get to the restaurant, wait in line for a table, wait for your food, and the shock of paying the bill, (not to mention the horror of getting on the scale the next day) it’s just not worth it to go anymore.

Follow the boy scout’s number one rule and be prepared. Just because it’s summer and the kids are out of school, doesn’t mean you no longer have a schedule. you still have a schedule to stick to and people to feed.

By staying home, you’ll actually save time, money, fuel, and stress. So keep your pantry stocked!

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0 Responses

  1. You mentioned cooking baked potatoes in a crock pot, I would love to know how to do that. Can you send instructions or are they somewhere on your site?

  2. Long hours, kids’ sports, and lack of routine made restaurant spending seem like the only option in recent years. I decided that instead of trying to tackle the issue on my own, I enlisted the best army I know – my family. This last December, I presented them with the fact that we spend $7,500 per year in restaurant expense, and asked them if they would rather do something else with that money. We decided to set the restaurant money aside each week, saving whatever we did not spend for a vacation in a year. Now, everyone has their eye on the budget, and will help get meals on the table if needed to ensure we do not dip into the “restaurant vacation” fund. So far this year we have saved $2,500, and we are eating healthier!

  3. This is an excellent reminder/motivator to people especially in these economic times and when we’re being told that Americans are not healthy folks. For families who have forgotten the fun that you can have preparing and eating your meals together, this article provides many rock solid reasons for them to try it again. And, don’t be wasteful with any leftovers folks. Look around your neighborhood – is there a senior citizen who would be grateful for a nice home cooked meal to enjoy tomorrow (next time consider inviting them to the family dinner because the socializing is what they crave as much as the food), or do you have a disabled neighbor who might struggle with both the cost of food and the preparation? Or, just store the left overs properly and who ever is home for the next couple of lunches can enjoy the fruits of tonight’s labor. This article sold me on bookmarking this site – Thank you!

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