So many people tell us to eat in because it’s healthier and we’ll be able to save money. And it’s true, if we plan our meals right, both these things can become prevalent in our lives.
But what people don’t tell us is how much we really save and all the other benefits that come from eating at home, besides losing weight.
A few months ago my husband and I were listening to a podcast that was interviewing a couple from Seattle (a very expensive place to live) who owned a travel blog called Go Curry Cracker. They told of how they saved so much money for travel by riding a bike instead of making monthly car payments or how they rented instead of owning a home.
But what stood out to us was what they said about their cost of food. I had heard so many travel bloggers talk about how they saved a lot of money by eating in, but what they ate was usually ramen noodles and Pop-Tarts.
This couple talked about how they were able to not only save money by eating in, but what they made at home was so much better than what they could get from any restaurant in Seattle.
This hit us hard. For quite a few months, my husband and I had made it a habit to eat out at least two to three times a week. At the time, we lived thirty minutes out of town, so when it was past five and we were driving home from work, the last thing we wanted to do was wait to eat.
So hearing this challenged us. It challenged us to think outside of the normal meals we made and really take a look at our finances. And in this journey to save money and cook amazing meals, here is what we learned.
HOW MUCH WE SAVED
Eating out was always unplanned. You’d think that if we ate out more than once a week, it would be something that was intentionally thought of. But it wasn’t, and that was because our meals at home were never planned.
Because we never really had a meal planned out that night, it was easy for us to look at each other and ask if it was ok to eat out. And of course we said yes.
We spent around $80 a week (this is being conservative), on eating out. We almost always got drinks and of course there was the tip which added just that much more.
At the end of the month, we would have spent around $300-$400 on eating out alone. That’s nearly half a grand and not to mention that we spent around $80-$100 on groceries a week already.
And now that we’ve cut restaurant dining out of our spending budget (unless it’s a special occasion), we can now save that money towards things that we actually need or want to do in the future.
WE HAVE MORE FOR DREAMS
Choosing something off of the menu was fun and eating the meal was great in the moment. But getting the check made our hearts sink.
Every time we gave into the temptation of eating out, and we saw how much the bill cost us, we realized that we were spending ourselves away from our dreams.
All that money that could have been saved for travel was being spent on a meal and experience we wouldn’t remember two weeks down the road.
That hurt a lot, but when we made the change, planning for the future became more real.
ENCOURAGED US TO MAKE WHAT WE FOUND (OR PINNED)
So much of pinning on Pinterest is good intention that gets forgotten. There are so many crazy and amazing recipes on there that it’s easy to pin it for later, in good hopes of making it, and never touch the recipe.
Well when my husband and I challenged ourselves to have a restaurant experience at home, we started looking through all of those recipes on Pinterest that we had accumulated over the last couple of years and started to make them.
We didn’t need to buy a cookbook when there were so many things we had already saved or could find.
Side Note for Non-Pinterest Users:
When it comes to food, Pinterest is seriously the place you want to look for great recipes. Forget Google.
So let’s say you’re up for some Thai curry dishes or a big burger, well Pinterest will pull up a ton of choices all presented in amazing photos for you to choose from. All you have to do is click on the photo, and once it’s pulled up, click it again and it’ll take you to the page of the recipe.
WE DIDN’T WANT TO EAT OUT
We found that when we started to plan the meals we wanted to make for the week and made them, our cooking experience leveled up.
He and I could already cook fairly well, but when we leveled up with our cooking skills and learned new things with new dishes, we were able to have so much of a richer experience and it broadening our pallets and lifestyle.
And now that we’re getting a foodie experience at home, it makes us want to eat out less, especially when we know that we can have a better experience at home. We don’t have to deal with bad customer service, wasted money, and a meal that over promised on the menu.
We really are happier staying in than going out and having a “restaurant experience.”
IT BROUGHT US CLOSER TOGETHER
When I used Pinterest as my cookbook, I was able to sick my husband onto it and ideas just came to me. I didn’t even have to work to make a weekly meal plan. He was excited for what I would, or the both of us would, make.
We were able to work as a team because it was fun and we were going to be able to try something new every week.
And not to mention that the stress of wasting money on restaurant eating was thrown out the window.
We found that when we pushed ourselves to make new things that looked intimidating, it actually wasn’t that hard. The dish that looked complicated was actually fairly simple once we did it
Whether it was a dinner recipe or even a coffee drink, we got out of our safe zones and found that we were still very safe. Nothing was as hard as it looked.
Our confidence grew and pretty soon trying new things was more exciting than intimidating.
And when you do this yourself, you’ll not only make better food that will (usually) benefit your health, but also grow your confidence. You’ll feel better about yourself and your ability to do new things and show others the skills you’ve acquired.
When we first started challenging ourselves to make amazing meals at home, we didn’t know all of the benefits that would come from it. We knew we would save a lot of money, but we didn’t know how fun cooking could be or that we could have a restaurant experience outside of a restaurant.
And when you try this challenge yourself, it will not only benefit your finances, but give you a completely different and enhanced lifestyle.
Now I hope I was able to provide value to you in this post. But if there was something that wasn’t answered, or you want to know more about the subject, email me or let me know in the comments below. I’d love to hear you out and answer you as best I can (and perhaps write a response post!).