The following post is from Melissa Batai
Eating out used to be a treat, but now, it’s a way of life. In fact, “the average household spends an average of $3,008 per year on dining out” (CNBC). Our family used to eat out frequently, but a few years ago, we decided that it was costing us too much money. We vowed to start eating at home more. Now, we typically go out to eat as a family five or less times a year, and my husband and I go out to eat alone two or three times a year. We’re saving so much money by eating at home!
If you, too, want to start eating at home but you feel overwhelmed by the idea, there are many techniques you can use to make the transition easier.
Subscribe to a Meal Delivery Service
This is probably the least frugal option to transitioning to eating at home, but nonetheless, it will likely save you money over eating out. There are many, many companies that offer meal delivery services. You order the kit online, and within a few days, you will get a box filled with all the ingredients you need to make several meals, and you’ll also get recipe cards. My family had the chance to try Green Chef, but there are many other companies offering this service such as Blue Apron, Gobble, and Hello Fresh, just to name a few.
Finding discounts for these companies is very easy. Either use someone’s referral link and save $20 to $40 when you order, or just search online for discount codes. They are plentiful.
Use a Meal Planning Service
A more frugal option is a meal planning service. With this option, you subscribe online and receive a weekly menu plan complete with recipes and a grocery list. One such site, eMeals, gives you the option to add all of your grocery items to a place like Walmart so instead of shopping, you simply drive up to pick up your groceries. Some other popular meal planning services include Deliciously Organic and PlateJoy, among others.
Cook on the Weekend
Many busy families eat out less during the week by preparing much of their food during the weekend. One person I follow on YouTube takes a few hours on the weekend to make all of her family’s lunches for the week. Then, they simply reheat them during the week. You can also cook one big item, like a whole chicken in the slow cooker, and then use the meat for several different meals during the week.
Make Freezer Meals
Another option is to double any recipe that you make and stick one in the freezer. Making chili and cornbread tonight? Double the recipe and put it in the freezer. Then, later in the month when you’re busy and tempted to eat out, simply pull the meal from the freezer. You have a homemade meal that simply needs to be reheated, and you’ve saved yourself and your family a lot of money
Transitioning to home cooking isn’t easy when you’re in the habit of eating out frequently, but with these simple strategies, you can transition more easily into a new routine and save yourself and your family thousands of dollars a year.
Have you broken the dining out habit? If so, what strategies worked best for you while you were trying to establish the new habit of eating at home more