I’ve never been a big fan of eating out. It’s typically not a frugal practice since it usually costs more to eat out – unless you’re comfortable eating off the dollar menu at your local fast food joint – and to be honest I found myself often disappointed in the quality of the food when eating out.
Jackie over at Money Crush wrote a post recently where one thing she’s done to cut back on eating out was to prepare one home cooked meal a week. Since I’ve been on this traditional diet, almost every single meal has to be prepared from scratch. That is a lot of cooking!
Thankfully I come from a family where cooking from scratch was the norm, and this set the foundation for me to lean toward cooking my own meals for most of my life. For the last 22 months (how time flies!) I’ve been eating a traditional diet to regain health and I have been happy so far with the results. But as I said, cooking for every meal = much more kitchen time.
Usually this isn’t too much of a problem. I try to make extra at dinner meals so that I’ll have lunch at work the next day, and sometimes I’ll even have enough leftovers for two meals in a row. Recently my mom asked if I would bring her some chicken soup since she hasn’t been feeling well lately, and since she’s never asked me to do that before, naturally I made a big pot of soup and planned to deliver it to her the very next day. This happened to be a work day and on the way home I was wishing I could just stop by a fast food joint and grab something to eat for myself and my family. But this doesn’t happen often.
I have recently seen first hand how much more expensive it can be to eat out instead of home cooked meals. For a couple of weeks my husband resorted to eating out every day as he has been working a lot of hours. It turns out he was spending between $10 and $15 a day between meals and soda, and this wreaked some major havoc with our grocery budget. We allot $200 a week for food, so with him spending about $15 each day that left $95 for myself and our two adult sons, plus any other meals he ate when he was home. Since I am not eating grains of any kind and avoiding certain types of starches, (it turns out I don’t tolerate them real well) I can’t just stock up the house with beans and rice. I love beans and rice, in fact, I miss eating beans and rice. Anyway, either our food budget needs to go up to include his eating out every day of the week.
In the past two years, my husband and I have eaten out together in a restaurant twice. Both times for my birthday. I have eaten out 3 or 4 other times with friends for lunch. Before I started this diet I was tempted at least a couple times a week to eat out at a fast food restaurant. It is interesting how easy it became to avoid the temptation once I set the boundary for myself. One thing I used to do if I had to leave work to run errands, as a “reward” I would usually stop my Jack in the Box and get myself two tacos and a small order of french fries. And then I would feel guilty for eating such crap. But once it became a definite no-no and I stuck to my self-imposed rules, it was quite a relief to not engage in that internal battle with myself.
What’s your opinion on eating out? Do you love it? Prefer to eat out? Or do you love cooking and eating at home?