That last one can break me. A run for In-N-Out Burger sounds easy as well as tasty. Haphazard, spontaneous meals are great, but they often get trumped by haphazard, spontaneous take-out. Every meal does not have to be an event. I know.
But really, if it fills the tummy, does it matter if there were three courses? Be sure to eat real food and then call it a meal. Try one of these 10 easy no-cook suppers. Three for the price of one? Every little bit counts toward reaching your goal. Be far-sighted.
I know that is a despicable word to use in our culture, but the burger joint uses disposables, too. Keep a stock of paper plates and napkins on hand for those desperate evenings. Likewise, consider stocking a few convenience items that come together for quick meals. Have a private talk and discuss your motivations for each option.
Find out what they are. Likewise, be honest about your purposes for eating in. But if you have legitimate reasons that benefit your family and household, then make those clear. My kids love Chinese food, especially when we get the Panda Feast. One night I even asked for extra boxes. It was a hit all the way around, and our clean-up was a minimum. There are plenty of take-out favorites that you can recreate yourself. Consider packing a picnic and heading somewhere else to eat it.
One easy compromise is to eat dinner at home but to go out for dessert. We ate a favorite at home meal and then went for dessert and coffee, often sharing the dessert. There are also a number of ways to reduce to the cost of your meal out. Avoid drinks. Split plates. Above all, be realistic with yourself and with your family.
Even in a Pantry Challenge. The goal is to be a good steward of your resources, that includes your time, your relationships, and your mental health. Be reasonable. Eat home when you can. Cook the best that you can afford. And enjoy good food with the people you love. Where are the panda recipes? My family loves them and I am always trying to find a cheaper alternative! There are also some recipes on their website. Of course, if you have to buy a lot of ingredients to make the dishes, maybe it would be cheaper to get take out once in a while and not feel so bad….
Erin , Thanks for the book recommendation. I have a hold on it now! Erin , were the potstickers time consuming? They seem like they would be. I felt like giving it a try to make them myself from scratch, even the wrapper part. You could save a lot of time by using store bought wrappers and they would probably still taste great. Also, one of those dumpling presses might speed up the process.
Or a lot of helpers. I cooked all mine right away, but it might be something that you could spend an afternoon making a bunch and freezing. I made a couple dozen homemade sauerkraut and mushroom pierogi once, and they are my freezer go-to when nothing else magically shows up for dinner…where did I get that idea?onfiregroupinc.com/images/map8.php
8 Ways to Avoid Eating Out
Jane , yes, what Sheila said. I just need to figure out Orange Chicken and Chow Mein. But for avoiding eating out, which Hubs and I really love doing, we bought a grill!
Love your attitude towards paper products. Sometimes I am just not up to another round of dirty dishes. One of the things I try to do on the weekends when I have more time is replicate the restaurant feel. For my kids there are two things that seem to make eating out special for them. First, it is all the little extras restaurants put on your plate.
Most of these items can be replicated at home. For example, if I serve chili I make sure I have oyster crackers, shredded cheese, and chopped scallions.
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If I serve hamburgers I will set out a toppings tray so everyone can customize their burger. If we have pizza night with garlic sticks I will try to have 2 or 3 dipping sauces. These are also relatively easy items to replicate at home. So, out of 30 or 31 days in a month, three are budgeted to eat out. Tonight will be our first meal out as a family in the month. We avoid dining out by me putting things in the crock pot before work, or laying it out with instructions for someone else to do.
If we all come home and the food is hot and ready, then there is no need to eat out. Thanks, as always, for the inspiration! Sounds like you two have a good system going with the dinner leftover for lunch! I know, I too shudder to think of how much money we wasted eating out over the years.
The frugal is our future :! This is my situation! We still eat out way too much but it is something we are actively working on. Great job on paying for eating out just twice in the past 15 months.
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That is amazing! Do you invite them over? Has it altered any relationships? Just curious how you mange that. Agreed, I would love to see a post about the social aspect of living the frugal life. Or when someone invites us to see a movie in the theater, or check out a new brewery, or go to a music festival. Great questions on the socializing aspect of frugality. I think for us, there are a few different factors at play.
Our strategy with restaurant invites is to counter with an invite to our home. Another factor for us is that a lot of our friends are frugal as well.