One of the simplest ways to save on your grocery budget is to cut back on the number of times your family dines out. However, eliminating dining out is not always easy or desirable. Here are a list of reasons dining out is tempting for our family, and how we combat those temptations!
1. I Am Too Busy!
We live busy lives and a lot of times running through a drive thru seems like a great alternative to slaving away over a hot stove. I have found that if I cook a batch of freezer meals twice a month, I am less likely to want to go to a restaurant when we are short on time. You can also stock up your freezer by doubling up on recipes that you are already cooking and then freeze the leftovers.
Breakfast burritos, sweet breads, muffins, and waffles work great for breakfast.
Taco meat, pastas, and casseroles work great for lunch or dinner.
2. Convenience Matters (But I Cannot Do Freezer Meals)!
No time to cook freezer meals? There’s an aisle for that (and even an organic one, too)!
We do not eat a lot of frozen meals around our house, but I do always keep a stash of frozen vegetables that steam in their bag. This allows me to have a quick, easy, and healthy side dish in minutes. Another favorite of mine from the freezer aisle is frozen fruit. When I cannot make it to the store for fresh fruit, it is nice to have a healthy snack on hand.
I also like to keep a spare frozen pizza for those nights that I forget to thaw out a freezer meal (or when I get tired of my boys asking me for pizza). Occasionally, we will splurge and get a bag of chicken nuggets, too.
3. I Cannot Stand Dishes!
A lot of times, I want to go out to eat in order to avoid doing dishes afterwards! As a stay-at-home mom, it seems like I have to run two loads of dishes a day, and it is nice to have a break every once in a while.
Disposable dishes are a luxury item for us because the cost can add up; however, the cost of a few paper plates is far less than the additional expense of dining out. You can get disposable plates, cups, flatware, bowls, and pans for your freezer meals.
4. I NEED TO ESCAPE!
After an entire day of being cooped up in the house, I love going out to eat just to get out. We have discovered that often, I am content to simply eat at home and go somewhere to walk afterwards. We love to go to the park, playground, or strip mall during favorable weather. When we need an indoor alternative, we go to the mall, a bookstore, toy store, or even a big box retailer.
Come back on Friday to read about how we save money when we DO decide to splurge and eat out!