Save Money on Food

Posted by Mrs Money on April 29th, 2011

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Eating out is so expensive, especially if you like to eat at sit down restaurants versus fast food restaurants. On the other hand, it’s so convenient to just go out to eat when you don’t have something thawed or you just don’t feel like cooking and cleaning up. Eating out is probably my biggest money downfall. When I get home after 5:30 PM, the last thing I want to do is go straight to the kitchen and spend time cooking a huge meal. The other night I decided I was going to make homemade ranch dressing that called for mayonnaise, and I decided that I would make the mayonnaise since we didn’t have any. Ha. I had it going fine until I followed the recipe and added too much of the lemon juice/vinegar combo and it broke. I was mad.

I hate cooking because it seems like you spend an hour cooking and then it only takes 10 minutes to eat the food. Not a very good ratio there. Unfortunately for me, I also really like saving money and that trumps me being lazy. I know it’s not financially possible for us to dine out every day. I’ve got to come up with a plan to make dinners easier for me. Here are some of my ideas to make dinners easier and cut back on our eating out.

-Make meals ahead of time and freeze. This would be nice for days when I really don’t feel like cooking, but wouldn’t be so good for nights that I forget to take something out of the freezer. This sounds like too much work for me, but it would be a good weekend project. I could even figure out a few different meals I could make and do some batch cooking.

-Think of simple, easy meals to make, like breakfast for dinner. Meals that don’t take a lot of time to cook are right up my alley! I love eggs for dinner.

-Look more into crockpot meals. I haven’t ventured into this area before, but it would probably work well for us! Of course, now that summer is right around the corner, I don’t know how appealing hot meals are going to be.

-Grill out. Buy some chicken or steak and grill out, using vegetables as the side dish. Easy, and healthy!

-Get better at meal planning. Meal planning is such a pain that I despise doing it, so I put it off. I should come up with 10 or so meals that I know we like, their ingredients, and then make a shopping list from that. That will save me time, money, and stress! This is probably the best idea.

That makes me feel a little better. I’ll need to work at it, but I know it’s definitely something I can do!

How do you balance cooking, eating out, and saving money?

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20 Responses to “Save Money on Food”


  1. I am lucky–my husband loves to cook. I don’t love to cook everyday, and so by the time he doesn’t want to cook, I am dying to cook! It ends up that he cooks about 3-4 nights a week, and I cook the rest of the time. We go out to eat maybe once a month or so. We also have leftovers once or twice a week. Love those nights!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Amanda- You are lucky! Mine loves to cook too, but he does it for a living so he’s exhausted sometimes when he gets home. I wish we could cut our eating out to once a month! That’s awesome. I agree- I love leftovers. I normally take them for lunch.

    [Reply]

  2. Well, I enjoy cooking but will say…there are times when you just don’t feel like it, especially after a long day at the Salt Mine.

    You’re definitely onto something with the “grill out” tip! I use my propane barbecue almost every day. In addition to letting you cook a slab of meat without dirtying up a pan and spattering grease all over the kitchen, it’s also a handy way to prepare veggies. Take some frozen veggies and set them in the middle of a piece of aluminum foil. Splash a little olive oil over them (or add a pat of butter, if you prefer). Sprinkle some dried mixed herbs (such as fines herbes or herbes de provence) over the top. Wrap the package tightly and set it over the fire when you put the meat on.

    A packet of frozen peas will heat through in the time it takes to cook a piece of steak or fish. It also works with fresh asparagus. If you’re cooking something that takes longer, such as chicken or spareribs, either wait until close til serving time to put the veggies on, or set the veggies on a higher shelf or back off the heat to cook.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    FaM- Thanks for the tip about the veggies! It sounds easy. I think I need to stock our freezer a little better, and that will help.

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one who doesn’t like cooking sometimes!

    [Reply]

  3. Rebecca says:

    http://strivingtoliveeachdayhisway.blogspot.com/2011/05/7-quick-dinner-ideas.html

    I just posted 7 quick dinner ideas

    -Becky R in NJ

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Becky- Thanks! Great ideas.

    [Reply]

  4. Great tips Mrs. Money!
    You hit upon one of my favorite pastimes, grilling! My wife loves it when I grill even more than I do because she gets the night off. Plus, what’s tastier than a char-grilled Nathan hot dog? Keep those tips coming!
    Thanks,
    Timothy

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Wealth Artisan- I have been loving the warmer weather for grilling! We’ve had barbecued chicken a few times this week :)

    [Reply]

  5. After 30 years of cooking for the family, I’m tired of it! So, we eat out, pick up pre-made meals or cook in bigger batches. Cooking larger portions and then freezing some or eating it two nights gives you more return on the work!

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Kay Lynn- I can’t imagine! You deserve a break. I like large meals and just eating the leftovers. ;)

    [Reply]

  6. Johnny Debt says:

    Soup – we have just started making chicken soup. Quite often we would have a roast chicken and then when eaten the bones would be thrown away. However just recently we would keep the bones and boil it up with a few veg to make chicken soup.

    I did not realise that something so simple could be so tasty! It also makes and additional impact on the finances for the good.

    [Reply]

    Mrs Money Reply:

    Johnny- I love chicken soup. That is an awesome tip. Roaster chickens are great! And the stock is so good for you!

    [Reply]

  7. We have such high expectations of ourselves: come home from a very busy and tiring day and go into the kitchen and whip up a wonderful, healthy, satisfying meal that each one of the family will totally enjoy (do all this in 30 minutes) and sing whilst washing up!!! Some great tips in your post. My big tip would be to start easy – a roast meal or one pot meal can be easier than you think. Use frozen vegetables/roast potatoes etc – that way the most you have to do is put them in the oven. Start with easy meals that have cheat/frozen options in with it. We have to find the love of cooking first then build from there.

    [Reply]

  8. Nicole says:

    we make a lot of stir fry type things.
    my boyfriend and i buy a load of produce to make whatever we want to make, and use most of it. then, we it starts getting somewhat limp/icky, stir fries come in to save the day. sometimes, it’s just mushrooms and onions with an egg, other times, i go all out with peppers, spinach, onions, potatoes etc etc
    this really cuts down on food waste.
    most of the stuff that makes it past the useful stage goes to the dog. he loves carrots, potatoes and garlic, but will eat almost anything. (we don’t give him onions, which can be very bad for dogs)

    [Reply]


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