My number one money saving tip: Eat at home
Eat home cooked meals. Considering how much money my family spends on dining out I know we save a ton of money just eating at home. Making this change is harder than I thought. Eating out is a convenience when we don’t have time to cook. It fulfills a craving. It keeps me from needing to clean the kitchen. I enjoy eating out.
I have a general meal plan I try to follow. Its simple and changes slightly with the seasons. In cooler months I like to make a roast once a week. For warmer months something on the grill is more appealing. I start with dinner. Mondays are roast/grill, Tuesdays are tacos, Wednesdays we have pasta, Thursday is soup, Friday is pizza, Saturday we have hamburgers and Sunday is spaghetti. The variations here are endless. Chicken, beef or pork dominate the roast/grill. Tacos can be beef, chicken or fish. Wednesday pasta is usually something different than Sunday’s spaghetti. I like to try something like an Asian-style pasta dish, Soup on Thursday is usually something simple like chicken noodle, but could be potato, tomato or gzpacho. How about pepperoni, cheeseburger or buffalo chicken pizza? All kinds of hamburger variations for Saturday. Sunday is spaghetti. A family tradition.
Using the general meal plan, I look at grocery store circulars to see what is on sale. If chicken is a good deal then we can have roast chicken, chicken tacos and chicken-burgers. You get the idea. This has taken some time and retraining of my brain. Before I start to work each day I make a final decision on dinner. The kids always ask what it for dinner. I have an answer now. I have a plan now. I do as much prep as I can prior to dinner time. It is a time I like to keep peaceful. I’d like to start doing weekly/monthly meal prepping. That is for a future post.
I still struggle with breakfast and lunch planning. I’ve heard most people are satisfied with eating the same breakfast and lunch most days, but dinner needs variation.. Considering this, breakfast & lunch should be easy. Breakfast is a time when, as a family, we are rushed to get out the door to school. I just can’t send a hungry kid to school because they didn’t have time for breakfast. This is another time we tend to dine out at a fast food joint. School is almost out & the kids will be home with me this summer. I plan to make it a habit to have consistent breakfasts and lunches. My general plan is eggs or cereal for breakfast and soup/sandwich/salad for lunch. I’ll let you know how it goes…
If you are trying to save money, try eating at home. It save my family money – without being extreme.