Hi, my name is Lakita and I am an eat-out-o-holic. (Response: Hi Lakita!)
I would say that over the past few years I’ve done a better than average job of getting a hold on my spending and climbing out of debt. However, there is one area that has continued to slow down my progress. I spend WAY too much money eating out! If I’m not diligent in this area, I can easily spend $300/month. However, my best record is 30 days without eating out. To make matters worse, when I eat out, the food I get is not necessarily healthy. Double trouble.
I started to reflect on my reasons excuses for eating out so much. Hopefully I can get to the bottom of this issue. If you are also an “eat-out-o-holic”, perhaps you can find a solution too!
Excuse #1: It’s Easy & I’m Busy
My schedule is pretty full. Between work, church, writing, and other side projects I manage to stay gainfully employed. Sometimes it is easier to pull through a drive-thru and keep it moving. We pay for convenience. The reality is this is lack of planning. I possess organizational skills, so efficient meal planning is not an excuse. I should be able to plan meals that are healthy, tasty, simple and frugal (OK, I’ll take any 3). I’ve prepared several crock pot dishes in the past. With a little planning I can have a meal waiting for me when I get home.
Excuse #2: The Food Tastes Good
Every once in a while I get a craving for something that is easier to get already prepared than to make at home. The reality is most of the food I eat out I can make at home.
Excuse #3: Social Activity
Sometimes I eat out with Mr. A or friends. Dining out has become a social pastime. I used to go out to eat every day at work. It was refreshing to go off-site for a while. This became very expensive between gas and food so I’m happy to announce I’ve cut that habit. There are still the occasional outings and celebrations, but I don’t mind those.
It’s time to find more creative ways to socialize! I’ve been thinking about planning and hosting a game night with some friends. Pot lucks are always a great way to bring people together to eat and socialize that doesn’t cost much. Consequently, if the social time lands at a restaurant, I can consider an appetizer or dessert as opposed to a full meal.
The bottom line is when I go shopping, I tend to cook more, eat healthier foods, and spend less money. The problem is, I don’t go grocery shopping as often as I should. However, there is a ray of hope. I went shopping a couple days ago and have meals planned for the rest of the week. Yesterday I made a black bean soup that was very tasty. The cost for ingredients was around $10 and I have well over 10 servings. In fact, I froze half (hope that works). If you have any frugal recipes that you would like to see published on PFJ send them to me. I’ll compile a post of recipes in the near future.
Once I fully integrate grocery shopping into my routine, I’ll be looking for tips and tricks to become a more savvy shopper! Stay tuned!
What about you? Do you eat out more than you should? Why or why not?