When our family goes out to eat, we prefer to eat at expensive restaurants. Places with all-natural ingredients and gourmet menu items, all prepared by a real chef.
I have to admit that I'm actually kind of a restaurant snob. I expect flavorful, healthful, delicious plates of food in a clean, upbeat environment with excellent customer service.
You might wonder where I get such a "picky palate."
Well, I'll tell you. I'm picky because we almost always eat AT HOME. And food at home is just soooo much better. Fresh. Nutritious. Served with Love. With the added bonus that our kids can squeal, laugh, coo, and cry all that they want. I love eating in. It's cheaper and it tastes better.
So, the title of this post is a tad bit deceiving. The REAL way to save money is by eating IN - almost all of the time. Then, when you do go out (once in a blue moon), you can afford to eat at expensive restaurants.
But you won't want to eat at expensive places just because they're expensive. The truth is that fancier places tend to serve better food. Better food will fuel your body more appropriately and may even prevent illnesses down the road. For example, eating fast food may be cheaper in the short term, but - in the long run - your "bill" for being overweight or unhealthy will be higher. You'll have to buy gym memberships, weight loss programs, blood pressure monitors, medications, etc.
What I am trying to say is it pays to be picky. You don't have to go places that charge $20+/plate. But do stay away from the everything-is-fried-and-processed shops. Even if they do have a dollar menu. A dollar today maybe...but a thousand dollars tomorrow (or more)...
Most of all, remember that eating in is the way to go for optimal money savings...both now and in the future.
Image Credit: All three of the tantalizing dishes above are part of the menu at Blue Lemon Bistro, a restaurant in Utah that I bet I'd like quite a bit.
I love to eat out. It is a special treat in this house now a days! We too have made the choice for me to stay home with the kiddos. We live in a very expensive area, in a small apartment, on one income. Life is MUCH different since over half of our income is gone with me at home, but alas...our lives are so much richer. It is one of the best choices we have made for our marriage and our family. Sometimes we will wait until the kids go to bed, light some candles, set up the table to look fancy, have some wine, good music and a great home cooked meal...date night at home.
We really do eat in most of the time - for all of the reasons you've listed! And when we get to go out to eat, it's a treat and I definitely want to go someplace yummy with fresh food!
Amen, sistah! :)
And if you're ever in the Phoenix area, you'd LOVE True Food. Amazingly delish! ...then you'll run home and try to make the dishes yourself. Like me! haha
I'm really enjoying all of your tips! Now I just have to get better at actually applying them. I'm with you on the restaurants...you may pay only a dollar for something fried and cheap, but you pay for it later when you feel sick. Better to just eat right in the first place. That Blue Lemon Bistro looks fabulous - too bad I never went there when I lived in Utah!
All of these posts in this series make me want to shout "Yes!" I've had mothers tell me that they are envious of my being able to be my child's primary caregiver. And, I just want to scream at them...you can so do this. If I can...You can! So many of your tips are exactly what I do. Keep yourselves healthy, STAY HOME, and live simply. We live on VERY little, but we live very well and are so happy. It's great that you are sharing these things with other moms. I just hope they listen up!
I definitely agree with this one. I have special dietary needs so eating out requires advance planning and it is always a bit nerve wracking (will I be sick afterwards?).
So we hardly ever eat out. It is nice once in a while though. The last little bit we've been financing going to restaurants via mystery shopping (leaving Elizabeth home though!). I would definitely recommend this as a nice date night since a) the cost of the meal is covered b) you get to discover neat new restaurants :)
I am the queen of eating out for not much. Most of the time it is more expensive for us to go to McDonalds then out to a resturant. A good example is that on Wednesday Applebees has kids eat for 99 cents. Then if you before 6:00 Appitizers are half off (which are the size of a meal). We usually make it out for under $20 for 5 people including tip! There are lots of great deals like that if you just take the time to find out :)
It really is surprising how much better and less expensive it is to eat at home. Plus, the time saved (from not traveling to the location and waiting in line) is much better spent with loved ones hanging out and relaxing.