Hi friends! I wanted to share with you a post I wrote in the beginning of the year. If you are not into meal planning I highly suggest trying it to help you cut back on grocery expenses. I have some ideas planned to help you meal plan at BJ's! Since it's a one woman show here they take a bit longer to put together 🙂
*This post first appeared on bataviasbestbargains.com.
It's New Year's Eve 2015. My husband and I called to make reservations at LongHorn Steakhouse. We live in a small town so it's about a half hour drive. When we get there it is PACKED. Reservations mean little, we still need to wait 45 mins. More people are piling in the doors and being told an hour and half to 2 hour wait.
For food. Granted it's New Year's Eve.
We both have never been to LongHorn before. I'm getting excited thinking it is probably really good because so many people are here.
I ordered a sirloin steak ( which I now remember I do not care for 😉 with a half lobster tail, shrimp and rice, with a side of fries and salad.
My husband gets a T-bone steak 16 oz. with a sweet potato side and salad.
We each get two beers.
Our total. $77 plus a tip.
I have to say the quality of the food was poor. It did NOT taste fresh. I had cocktail shrimp. That's the hardest thing when you are used to cooking your own meals with fresh ingredients, you can taste when food is freezer food.
My meal at LongHorn tasted like a frozen dinner from our local grocery store. With a price tag that was insane. Did you know that most chain restaurants are not any healthier than fast food joints?!
Of course you can cut out the alcoholic beverages to reduce your cost. If we go out to eat we always order water. But we had a gift card so of course we are splurging.
But to think the place was packed. I couldn't help but think of how many people just go and grab food for dinner. Every night. For some the thought never crosses their mind of quality. How could it when you are just grabbing food to eat because you're hungry after work.
Let's say you choose a cheaper alternative to eating out. McDonalds, Wendy's etc. You spend $25 for a family of four. You go there 5 times a week. You just spent $125 on food that may be cheaper but is loaded in things that are not so good for you.
But you can make a delicious meal for less than half the price at home.
This year I challenge you to cut out one meal that you pay someone for once a week. Then gradually increase so that you are not going out to eat at all in one week. Make it special. Save up your money for a delicious fresh ingredient dinner at a restaurant if you must eat out.
Sharpen those survival skills and cook for you or for a loved one. Bring on the romance. Bring on the independence and bring on your health.
Let's put it into perspective here.
Check out these studies done in the last several years on the cost of eating out and the high percentage of Americans that do!
If you spent this twice a week you are spending $154 a week for TWO Meals. You can get a 12 pack of beer, steaks, potatoes are more for that price for TWO people.
Now imagine if you have a family. The kids are not drinking beer but they are drinking pop or tea, say they are priced around $2.50. You spend $74 still. For one meal.
One glass of White Wine at LongHorn Steakhouse $7
You can get a bottle of Wine for $7.
We all know that eating out costs us more. But yet we continue to make the choice that clears out the bank account the quickest.
This year step back and ask yourself “Could I do this for less?!” We need to eat. But do I need to eat out once a day?! Three times a week?! A few times a day?!
I am excited to announce I finally have put together a little Meal Planning Guidebook for you. Tips to get you started in meal planning and your very own shopping list and menu! You have to plan and you have to want to.
If you want to increase the money coming in without getting a second job- take a look at meal planning and grocery shopping. This is an area you can cut back and control. The extra cash in your pocket each week may just feel like you got a part time job!
Want more inspiration?! Follow my new series of How we are on a Spending Freeze and how meal planning allows me to spend $25 a week for four of us!
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