Have you ever added up how much you spend on eating (or drinking) out? We've made conscious decisions over the years about where we spend money and eating at restaurants is one of them. In this episode, we're discussing the costs of families eating out all the time vs. keeping it for special occasions. And it's not just expensive in terms of money. This is pretty eye-opening and we're solidifying our goals and reasons why we choose - or not choose - to eat out. So obviously, we list some of our favorite go-to meals that you can make quickly and easily when you don't feel like spending a lot of time cooking. There are also new updates on the farmhouse and our cool things include a weird thing to do with your tea and a cheaper way to get new summer clothes.
You can download this episode from Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Stitcher, and TuneIn Radio – or listen to it below right on your computer! Then use this page to check out any links, notes, or photos we talked about in the episode. Note: If you’re reading in a feed reader, you might have to click through to the post to see the player.
Some links in this article are affiliate links and if you click on them I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.
Families Eating Out
Here is the CNBC.com article I got the statistics from about families eating out: How Much Americans Waste on Dining Out. And here are the articles that were eye-opening for Brian:
- For the First Time Americans Spend More Eating Out Than On Food at Home
- Why Restaurants Became So Loud - and How to Fight Back.
- Does Loud Music at Restaurants Lead to Unhealthy Food Choices?
- How Eating in Loud Environments Makes You Overeat.
What We Do
Do we never eat out, then? Of course not! It's fun and creates great memories, plus allows you to experience different foods than you would normally. I'm not sure that Thai Curry would be a regular part of our menus if I hadn't fell in love with Thai food at restaurants.
We keep it special by making it occasional. Brian and I have twice-a-month date nights and weekly coffee-work dates. We celebrate birthdays with family. When it's different than our normal routine, then it remains special - and allows you to save!
Ways we save eating out (I think we skipped this in the recording, but it's worth mentioning here!):
- Coupons (example: I signed up for emails from one of my favorite past Good Things, Baja Fresh, that include coupons for $ off a certain amount).
- Sharing meals at nicer restaurants - our favorite is nachos, since they're usually huge.
- Eating early from Happy Hour menus. This works out best when we're trying to get to a movie and the happy hour lasts until 6pm.
Do you have any other tips for saving money eating out?
Here are our favorite fall-back menu options I mentioned, all of which take just minutes to make:
- Salads of all kinds served with toasted bread - all from the pantry with canned tuna, beans, olives, cheese, etc. Chef's Salads (a kid fav, whether they like salads or not, since they can create they're own!), Spicy Chicken Noodle Salad, and Greek Tuna Salad with Artichokes & Feta are a few we enjoy.
- Pasta. Toss with frozen or canned tomato sauce and spinach, with or without meat. Also a garlic-olive oil sauce, pesto (like the 20-minute Mediterranean Pesto Pasta with Chicken pictured above) or cream sauce with vegetables and sausage like this pasta primavera are good.
- Quesadillas - cheese and vegetables baked in the oven or on stove top. Serve with cut up veggies
- Nachos - cheese and beans or chicken (keep baggies of frozen shredded rotisserie chicken on hand for this and more fall-backs!) topped with whatever vegetables we have.
- Soft or hard tacos (Tex-Mex is a great fall-back all the way around).
- Burgers using frozen patties served with cut veggies and chips. Also any other grilled meat and veggies!
This is the shed that is on our Aunt and Uncle's property that has inspired us to create a similar structure out of the shed Brian recently moved to our raised bed garden area. It was made completely from found and recycled items and we love the idea of a sweet sitting area like this looking out to the garden!
This is Really Cool!
Jami's: Skirt shopping at Thred Up (online consignment & thrift store) - white skirt above was the Ann Taylor I mentioned that was brand new with tags! Use this referral link to get $10 towards your first purchase if you'd like to try shopping there, too (so easy!).
Brian's: Adding a crushed 500mg vitamin C tablet in ice tea to keep it fresh and add a subtle tang.
Thanks for listening! If you like this podcast, you can really help us out by telling your friends, subscribing on iTunes, and leaving us a review – that’s how other’s will find us too.
And if you'd like to ask a question or leave an idea for future podcasts you can call (541) 658-0215 to leave a voicemail and we'll talk about it on the air!
Disclosure: affiliate links in this post will earn commission based on sales, but it doesn't change your price. Click here to read my full disclaimer and advertising disclosure.