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Costs of eating out vs. Eating in

Our society is fast-paced with a high demand for instant gratification with lots and lots of distractions along the way. Food is definitely a part of that equation. It is easier to roll through a drive through or drive to a restaurant after a long day verses facing the daunting task of preparing and eating meals at home for you and your family. The problem is eating out all the time takes away from your health, quality time with your loved ones and is super expensive especially when you add it all up over the course of a year.

Like all things that matter in life, food preparation, proper budgeting of your household income, and eating at home requires some time and effort. However, with discipline and persistence, eating at home becomes much, much easier to manage. It is much healthier for you as well, as the prevalence of fast food type restaurants is one of the causes of obesity in this country. Especially when you say the results of the money saved building up in your bank account! In fact, it’s not hard at all once you master a few concepts. Here are some ideas to help transition to eating at home more often. Even consider brown bagging a lunch too with leftovers if you have any from your home meals.

*Go online and find two recipes that are on the easy scale for preparing and cooking for the week. There are literately millions of free recipes out there for all sorts of diets. But try to query using healthier key words too. Google those exact words and you can find 5-10 ingredient meals that take very little time to make.

*Search for coupons online that you can use to buy the food or ingredients. This is really how you can save even more money than by eating out all the time. This is always important to do when cooking at home. Shopping smarter will cut back on your monthly grocery bills. Locate lists of coupons sites, all of which are free.

*Embrace casseroles! They are easy to prepare, make several servings and do well for leftovers for 2-3 days. In fact, embrace the idea of leftovers in general. You can use them for work the next day too. This cuts back on food being thrown out, and therefore cuts back on grocery bills. You do not have to eat a new meal every day.





*Plan your week. This involves shopping, food preparation, and cooking among other activities. With anything in life that is a goal or habit, staying organized and disciplined makes a huge difference. It will increase your chances of successfully eating in on a regular basis.

*Once you have finished grocery shopping, prepare your food. Get organized, which saves time. You can do this by cleaning it, chop it and place it in storage containers in the refrigerator. Yes, it is a chore to do this at that exact moment, however, when you go to prepare your dinner, it will be a breeze to throw everything together. Also, by having all your food ready, it increases the odds it will not go to waste. This save money on future monthly food bills.

*Consider making one large healthy salad for the week. By doing this, you will always have a side dish and you will ensure at least some healthy vegetables will be consumed by every member of your family. Doing it once per week or so also saves you time.

*Make dinner ahead of time particularly on a Sunday as it’s the start of a new week. It will be a relief on Monday evening to know that dinner is already made and will help ease you and your family into the week ahead. There also tend to be new coupons in the Sunday newspaper, and redeeming those can lead to savings.





As with any habit or goal, food preparation takes forethought, planning and discipline. Shopping for those groceries on a budget also takes time and dedication. However, the return investment is immeasurable and the savings to your budget will add up.

There is of course healthier food, more money in your pocket, more quality time with your family, less stress, saving money and one less thing to do during your week adds up to a happier you. In addition, when you do eat out, it will be much more pleasurable for everyone in the family as it will be a treat, not a daily occurrence.

By Jon McNamara

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