This is part of the Saving Money on Groceries series.
Personally, I LOOOVVVEE eating out. For most people, eating out is a big expense. So it junk food and snack food. How do we tame that cost without feeling deprived? In our family, we haven’t been doing a great job in that department lately and are ready to shape up. Time for some reminders!
Here are some things that have worked for us in the past:
- Have a budget set aside for eating out. Track it the same as you do groceries, but separate so it’s more visible. Try setting aside cash once a month only for eating out purposes.
- Only allow yourself to eat out once a week. Make it a particular day. For us, Sunday or Monday worked well because those are Aaron’s days off. This was actually more effective for us than budgeting for it.
- When you do eat out, try places that you have coupons for or can find online.
- Find a place that has decent prices but portions big enough that you can split a meal or each take half home for the next day.
- Have SOME quick meals on hand that satisfy the “junk” craving. For us (don’t be disgusted) it’s top ramen, mac and cheese, and chicken nuggets.
- When you get home from the grocery store, spend some time preparing baggies of snacks, like sliced cheese (for crackers), carrots and celery, and even pre-wash some apples for later slicing. It makes a difference.
- Experiment with making snack foods at home, such as granola or trail mix, granola bars, chips, or convenience foods like toaster pastries, pocket pizzas, etc.
Find more ideas and try them out! Here are some good resources:
- Living on a Dime – Stop eating your way into debt! (very good article)
- Mommysavers – Tips for saving money when eating out
- ThriftyFun – Save money on eating out
Next Post: Buying in Bulk