I was thinking today- as I often do. The topic was money and how to acquire more of it, or keep more of what I have- as it often is.
I thought of the website 5 Dollar Dinners and said to myself "Hmm. $5 a dinner for a month is $150. Fast Food at $12 for 2 people is $360. $20 a dinner (going out to a decent place for 2 people) is $600! WOW."
That's right. Eating at home can save so much money. I know most of us won't spend $20 a meal every night, but think about it this way- Let's say you go out for a sit down dinner twice a week (let's call it dinner on the weekend), and grab fast food one night a week. That's $72 in food that week, compared to $35 making a $5 dinner each night. Wowza- that's twice the cost.
Sometimes you can come in better than $5 by eating out. For instance- by utilizing a Papa John's coupon code tonight, I got a large pizza with tons of toppings for $8.54. We'll get two meals (for 2 people) off the one pizza, coming out to $4.27 for each meal.
Now is the time to start if you are interested in making cheaper meals. Cheap corn is easily frozen. You can go ahead and can your tomatoes, freeze your peppers- whatever you want to do. I'm going to try canning potatoes this year as a quick to prepare and inexpensive side dish.
Couponing and working the sales is essential to making cheap dinners. When you do go out, utilize coupons and bring home leftovers! $20 for your two people meal out isn't a budget buster if you get two meals off of it!
Drink water! That helps cut the costs of eating out as well.
The benefits to eating at home extend beyond saving money. You know what is in your food, how it was prepared, you don't have to wait in line to get it and it always is going to be just the way you like it.
I'm currently working on eating in more. It's satisfying to make your own meal and even more satisfying to make it with ingredients you grew or hand chose.