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Eating out can get expensive, fast. It’s super convenient, tastes good and let’s be honest, you know it’s something the kids will actually want to eat.
Food can easily take up a large chunk of most people’s budgets and because of that, it’s so easy to justify your food purchases because hey, you need to eat.
If you are trying to hit financial goals like building an emergency fund, getting out of debt, or even just getting caught up on your day-to-day bills eating out is one of the first things you need to cut back on.
It’s such a money suck!
Just one time at the drive-thru could easily cost my family of 5 $30 or more and if we did that twice a week we would be spending a couple hundred a month easily. Think of what you could do with an extra $200-$300 a month!
Meal Planning (Total duh, but hear me out!)
Everyone knows that meal planning can save a ton of money but not everyone loves doing it.
Heck, even in my own life there are seasons where meal planning is more of a hassle then I want to deal with. In fact, I am in one of those seasons right now!
When my kids started virtual learning 6 months ago I found THIS excellent resource for those weeks when I struggled to find the motivation to meal plan.
For $5 a week I was able to grab a meal plan with the grocery list already included. (um, YES!)
I felt so much better about spending a few dollars a week to help me through opposed to spending a few hundred on eating out.
And let me tell you that month I took off from having to meal plan myself was so amazing.
Now, outsourcing your meal planning needs is most likely something you won’t do long term. So when you do meal plan for your family the #1 trick I’ve learned over the years is to plan meals you actually want to eat.
Planning meals that you are excited to eat will not only make it more enjoyable for you to cook you will also look forward to eating that meal as well.
It doesn’t matter how healthy, cheap, or easy the meals are if you never end up making them.
Invest In Kitchen Tools That Make Cooking Less Work
I am a firm believer in making do with what you have but I also believe it’s important to utilize tools that can make the job more efficient and easier on you.
That’s why it makes perfect sense to invest in a few kitchen tools that will make cooking an all-around less hassle on you.
For me having an instant pot was a total game-changer for those nights I just didn’t have the motivation.
There is nothing more motivating than knowing that an entire meal can be made in just a few minutes and clean up will be a breeze.
A few of my must-have kitchen fav’s that will save you so much time are:
Instant pot (my favorite perk is that there is also a slow cooker feature on it so basically it’s a 2 in 1.)
Vegetable chopper ( I hate cutting onions so this is GREAT for that.)
Stick blender ( this is great for anything you want to blend without having to transfer it to a blender like soups)
Finding tools to help you in the kitchen can quickly pay for itself after just a few uses. It’s totally worth the investment if it keeps you cooking at home.
Leftovers are your new BFF
I used to D-R-E-A-D the thought of eating leftovers but now I look forward to them.
Saving leftovers for dinner the next night can cut down on the number of meals you need to plan for, making your life 1,000 times easier.
If you feel like you need to jazz things up and you wish not to eat the same thing for more than one night, turning your leftovers into completely different meals is a great option. Let’s say you made a large batch of chili. On the first night you had chili as is, the second night you could have chili dogs, etc. Another way to use your leftovers is to eat them for lunch the next day. My husband has been doing this for the past few years and it makes it insanely easy for him and for me. I don’t need to purchase extra things for lunches and he doesn’t “forget” to make something.
DIY-ing Your Restaurant Favorites
Cutting back on eating out can be hard especially at first. Recreating your favorite restaurant meals is a great way to make yourself feel like you just got take out. It curbs your cravings as well as saving you a nice chunk of change.
I love recreating restaurant meals so much that I have a board on Pinterest dedicated to copycat recipes. I always love it when I make something that tastes just as good (if not better) than what I could get at a restaurant.
Want To Remember This? Pin it to your favorite board on Pinterest!