When you have 5 kids it isn't that hard to spend a small fortune on going out to eat. And if you don't track your spending you can easily let it get out of hand. When you spend $40 a meal at a fast food joint it doesn't seem so bad until you look at it being $200 for the month with only five family meals at a cheap restaurant.
In the past our family has picked a random month to not go out to eat. You read that right. One entire month without eating at a restaurant or from a restaurant. This year we picked January. Here it is the 26th of January and we're staying on course to reach the goal. It helps that we have done this several times before. The first time we tried it was quite a struggle.
Here are some tips if you'd like to do the same thing with your family.
- Plan this with your family. Get everyone involved, parents and children. In your plan get suggestions of what meals each person would like to have from home. It can be hard to meet the goal and eat at home everyday if the little ones are complaining about every meal. Or it can be hard for the parents if all you are eating are meals chosen by the kids.
- Make a menu for everyday of the month. Be sure to plan quick meals for stressful days. This will require that everyone in the family have all their scheduled activities on a shared calendar. You don't want to be working on your goal and then have a day that both parents are out of the home for the majority of the day and multiple kids have stuff going on after school. You finally get home and everyone is tired from day and nobody feels like cooking. Be sure to plan your menu around days like this. Slow cooker and freezer meals are great for those kinds of days.
- Go grocery shopping, with a list. You'll want to be sure that you have all the ingredients needed to make the meals on your menu. Be sure that you plan out the perishable items and buy those throughout the month. You'll want to minimize shopping trips so plan one big shopping trip to start the month where you purchase all the nonperishable items for the month and the nonperishable items for the first week (or two depending on shelf life). When you return to the store for your weekly shopping trip it is a quick trip to grab just the additional perishable items needed for the next week.
- If you really need to give in to a craving for something from your favorite restaurant try a quick google search for a copycat recipe. Check out our Crunch Wrap Supreme that we made at home.
Just because you're eating at home doesn't mean that you can't enjoy some of the same things that you would normally get when eating out.
If you haven't tried it, or it's been a while, go ahead and give it a try. Challenge your family to go an entire month with no going out to eat. If you do give it a try, comment below and let me know how it went.
Also, if you have tips to share on eating in feel free to share them in the comments.