If you were to ask any American household where most of their unnecessary spending is, they’d likely tell you it’s eating out. Indulging in the delicacies and fine cuisine that are out there can be rather tempting – but also very costly. Whether you hit the dollar menu at your favorite fast food joint, order takeout, or head to a fancy restaurant, it all adds up taking money out of your budget that can be better utilized elsewhere. Though it’s alright to indulge on occasion, if you’re trying to break the habit, these tips will help you do so without losing the luxury.
Plan Your Meals
One of the biggest reasons that people eat out more than they should is due to time constraints. When you’re busy all day at work, sometimes there’s no time to come home and make a meal from scratch. It seems easier to simply order something or head to your favorite restaurant.
If time isn’t always on your side, meal planning and prep can help with that. Start deciding what you’ll cook on the weekends. If you plan on making a meal that takes a while to cook, consider prepping in advance by cooking meats and chopping up veggies to save you some time.
Brew Your Own Coffee
If there’s one expense that most people don’t realize is overwhelming it’s purchasing a cup of coffee. Though you can get a good cup for as little as $1, doing so every day (sometimes several times a day) can add up.
If you need your caffeine to get you through the day, there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. However, instead of heading to the nearest coffee shop, try brewing your own coffee at home. They have advanced coffee makers that allow you to brew all types of delicious drinks. You can also change things up by ordering supplies like Monin coffee syrups for new flavors.
Learn New Recipes
Another reason you may be eating out more is that of boredom. When you keep preparing the same meals on a regular basis, they become boring. You want something new so you pick up the phone and order something or take the family out.
There are millions of healthy cooking tips and recipes online and many of them are easy to prepare. Start choosing a recipe or two each week to try. As you learn more ways to prepare food you can expand your palate and eliminate the monotony of routine meals.
Pack Your Lunch
How much money do you watch go down the drain each week trying to pay for lunch? Even if you only spend $5 a day this adds up to about $100 a month or more. Though it may be tempting to head out with the rest of the team for a bite to eat, doing it every day isn’t worth it.
Packing your lunch can save you a ton of money. Whether your workplace has a refrigerator and microwave or not, there are plenty of cold and hot meals you can easily make at home and bring with you.
Stock Up on Ready-Made Foods
Again, time and convenience are both huge factors that drive people to eat out instead of saving their money. If you’re known to work late hours or simply feel tired when you get home at night, there are other alternatives to ordering food.
You can stock your freezer with ready-made or easy to prepare meals. Putting a frozen pizza in the oven for a few minutes, microwaving a dinner, or popping the top off your favorite snack can save you a lot of time and money.
Set the Tone
Sometimes you simply like dining out because it’s an escape from the norm. Though it’s okay to indulge on occasion, you’ve already learned that doing it too often puts you in debt.
There’s nothing wrong with setting the tone at your place. Put a tablecloth on the dining room table, light some candles, pull out your fine china and silverware, and turn on some music. Then, get dressed up and have dinner with your family at home.
Eating out is a luxury that should be afforded on occasion, but not taken overboard. While the costs may not seem like much, if you look at your spending habits over the past month, chances are you’d see a lot of waste. Instead of eating all your hard earned cash, take the above-mentioned ideas and put them to use. Practicing these ideas for a month will not only increase your savings but improve your health.