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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
We eat out a lot. And because we're picky about the type of place (quality of food) we spend a lot each time we go. I'd say we go at least once a weekend but often both saturday and Sunday. The reason is because DH is off for the weekend from work and it is more fun not to be "working". It enables us to spend the day out and about without worrying about cooking when I get home. And it simply gives us a chance for our weekends to be totally fmaily focussed and relaxed. Plus with the heat, there is only so much cooking I feel like doing.

So anyway, how do we curb this habit? We easily drop 60-100 a meal when we eat out because we're eating at places with fresh whole foods for a family of 4 eaters (one isn't eating solids yet :LOL) Plus DH usually orders wine as that is just his way.

But it is such a dumb use of money. And in all other wyas we are a rather frugal family. The things I could do with an extra 400 a month (which we easily spend eating out).

Dh doesn't cook. God it would eb nice if he did. he tries, but he makes a huge mess (and whoever doesn't cook does dishes so that would be me) and burns pans and you know.... so what else can we do short of buying prepared foods?
 

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It would be hard for you to go from eating out, to making entire meals. Could you sort of wean yourself off slowly?

Schedule it on the calendar when you'll eat out.

2 times this weekend.
Then just once for the next 3 weekends.
Then one week on, one week off...
etc.

Do any of the restaurants sell any of their specialties frozen? Or do they bottle and sell their sauces? Maybe just being able to use some of your favorite restaurants' special ingredients at home will make a difference?

I can totally understand not wanting to cook on the weekends too. We're the same way. Could you make at least one large freeze-able meal during the week to reheat on the weekend?
 

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Summers are great for salads!

I usually spend one day a week (with the AC on) prepping veggies and cooking up meats to chill for salads.

We will have tuna or chicken with fresh greens from the garden, various pasta salads and potato salads. I usually add in some fresh baked bread, other raw veggies and call it a meal.

Since the salads are made in advance and the veggies are already prepped and in the fridge dinner can be on the table in about 5 minutes.


For my hubby (who's a serious carnivore) we can add in a grilled piece of meat. Most take under 5 minutes for him to grill up on the gas grill.

--Kari
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I do need to get into the freezing thing. I hardly have any freezable dishes though so I'll have to buy some.

And salads... I'm going to look up some variations and some homemade dressings because I get bored of the greens and veggie salad if I eat it to much. But we could do that more as a dinner than as a side
 

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I agree with freezing some meals. That way you always have something you can prepare quickly. Another thing we've done is to have some "special" meals at home in place of going out. That means we might buy something more expensive (for us, a nice steak or some crab legs or lobster) than usual and maybe some wine. Then we have a *nice* dinner at home. In the summer, grilling becomes a family activity, while we sit on the deck, so the preparation doesn't seem as daunting.

Just try not to eat expensive meals at home and forget to cut back on eating out :LOL We did that once or twice...
 

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If you really enjoy eating out you may want to find ways to cut your expenses but still eat out occasionally. For example, it may be cheaper to eat lunch or breakfast or brunch out instead of dinner. You could also go out just for tea or dessert and still have the eating out experience. Many frugal types recommend not ordering drinks (other than water), appetizers or desserts when you eat out. Maybe you could set a goal to cut your eating out expenditures by a third or a half just to start? you might feel very inspired when you meet the goal. It can be very difficult to go directly giving up a special luxury like eating out.
 

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We used to be awful...we used to eat out for probably 5 supper meals a week!
It was crazy!

When I added up how much we spent each year on food, I knew we had to change it fast!

So, I learned to cook and learned to make some meals we can all enjoy that don't cause me a big ol pain in the rear to cook.

Plus, dh grills, so we do that maybe once a week or every other week as a treat.

We still eat out, but only once a week now.
I think weaning yourself from the habit is a good idea.

Make it a once a weekend treat instead of twice and then when that is "normal" make it a once every other weekend treat, and then once a month.

We can easily go two weeks without eating out now, but a year or two ago I would have laughed at the notion!

I make easy meals, though.
We eat organic fruits, veggies, and pasture fed meats.
I make things like:
tacos, chicken in the crock pot with rice and veggies, fruit smoothies for desserts, sometimes we have eggs and bacon and fruit for supper when I lack creativity!
We grill pasture fed beef and eat it with corn on the cob, spinach salad, or other veggies.

The hard part was giving up the foods I Loved to eat out, but can't cook well, but it is okay. They are still a treat fo rme when I eat them and I appreciate most foods more now. Plus we eat healthier when we eat at home!

Good luck!
 

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Eating out really eats up a wallet dosen't it?

If you look at cooking as more of an adventure or an experience its a blast compared to cooking as a "job".
You need to set up a meal plan or schedule. Write out what you can eat for the week or plan around sales etc. Once you get this going its easy to stay home and eat from the schedule etc.

I agree- have a brunch or lunch out, this will make it easier on the wine expense as well. Also I agree with the weaning instead of cold turkey. But also wean on the experience as well. DH needs to help by ordering a glass not a bottle. Go buy the bottle he would order at the store and show him the cost difference. Drink it at home after the kids are asleep.

I feed my freezer at least twice a month so I have meals ready to go. Such as tonight- its Chicken & Dumplings and I just have to whip up a batch of dumplings which takes 5 minutes. I made the chicken part a few weeks ago and doubled the batch.

As far as freezer dishes- Line the one you have with foil. After putting the meal in the dish, freeze. When frozen, remove it from the dish and you have your dish back. Just wrap up the freezer meal and when ready to eat it- put it back in the same dish to reheat, bake etc.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by Amys1st
As far as freezer dishes- Line the one you have with foil. After putting the meal in the dish, freeze. When frozen, remove it from the dish and you have your dish back. Just wrap up the freezer meal and when ready to eat it- put it back in the same dish to reheat, bake etc.
What a great tip!
 

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Good ideas above. Freezing meals is great idea and summer is the perfect time for lots of picnics- you could buy deli foods from the grocery and not have to cook but still save money. Slowly reducing the frequency you eat out will help and the going for brunch is also a great way to save money. The markup on wine in a restaurant is huge- much more economical to enjoy that at home !
 

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This frozen meal worked for us just last night. I had a board meeting for my moms group and we got back around 7pm. We had chicken and dumplings right when dh walked in at 7:30 and it was eaten very quickly. Tasted just like it did when I made it fresh a few weeks ago.

A few people at the meeting picked up pizza on the way home.
 

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Another idea to get the "going out feel" while you are weaning yourself is to go out for a picnic! And find free or inexpensive things to do afterwards based on your family's interest like stargazing, or going to a bookstore to hang out and read, or flying kites, or hiking, etc. But even sandwiches and potato salad (and wine!) are more fun when you eat somewhere else, eh?

HTH! I am actually in the same boat with DFI and kiddos and these are some of my ideas.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by alicia622
... you could buy deli foods from the grocery and not have to cook but still save money.
Yes- if cooking in advance doesn't work for you, buy convenience foods. Around here, many grocery stores sell whole dinners at their delis for take-out, and while they are expensive, they're much less than you're spending now. And maybe if you got in the habit of eating at home you'd eventually be able to wean yourself off them, too.
 

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The crock pot worked best for breaking our eating out habit. I have to admit always forgetting to take the frozen meal out of the freezer to thaw the day before- I gave up on freezing meals.

I put things in the crockpot in the morning or at noon and then dinner is ready- hot and fresh in the eve.
 

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Besides what has already been suggested whch are great ideas, I woudl also recommend making your own copycat recipes. There are sites like www.recipegoldmine.com , www.topsecretrecipes.com , http://www.recipelink.com/copycat.html, www.razzledazzlerecipes.com/eatingout/index.htm , and http://recipes.robbiehaf.com which have great recipes. If you like ethnic or other types of food then better to invest in some good cookbooks or search online.

Making it yourself or at least trying
would be a lot cheaper.

HTH
 

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Some great ideas here! I have the same problem, but I'm trying to curb it. if you live close to neighbors you like
or you have friends you like to go out with, invite them over and arrange a trade-off--dinner at your house this Friday, dinner at their's next Friday. It might seem like more fun to have a 'party' atmosphere, and it's definitely great to have someone else do the cooking every once in a while. Just a thought...we're trying this too. Good Luck!
 
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