We were shocked a few years ago when we added up 3 months of eating out: $745 in March, $925 in April, and $865 in May. No fancy dinners, no steakhouses, just lunches, mid-level restaurants, and fast food.
There has definitely been a shift going on in this country over the past 10-20 years about how we view eating out. What was once a special treat a few times a week has turned into an almost everyday occurrence.
Today, it’s normal to eat out for lunch 4-5 times a week. It’s normal to take the family out for dinner on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. After all, with such long hours at the office, who has time to cook?
But what is all of that “restaurant money” doing to your budget?
Turn Back the Clock
Instead of buying into the restaurant culture, let’s party like it’s 1989. There’s probably a lot of psychology that goes into our obsession with eating out. We liked it so much when our parents took us out on the town that we have turned it into a normal event without weighing the cost.
One of the best ways to cut food costs is cooking meals at home instead of eating out so much. Not only will you save money on overpriced restaurant food, but eating out will turn into a special occasion when it’s done less frequently.
Don’t Be Intimidated
One of the most common excuses about not cooking at home is that people say they don’t know how to cook. Sure, cooking from scratch might be above your experience level, but there are plenty of options at the grocery store for even the most inexperienced chef to cook like a pro.
Instead of having a bad attitude about cooking in your kitchen, look at it as a fun challenge. How can you get better? What new foods can you discover? How can you get the kids involved?
Before you know it, you’ll be able to rival many restaurant dishes, especially if you take some tips from all of the cooking shows.
You know why restaurant food tastes to delectable? It’s usually full of butter, sugar, salt, fat, or any number of unhealthy ingredients that taste good but have horrible health consequences. When you cook at home, you not only save money, but you control what goes into your food.
Just a thought.
Photo By Valdiney Pimenta