13. Eat at home and pack your lunch

This one is a money saving tip that I personally struggle with. I love to eat out at restaurants!!! I love to cook too but some days I just want to have someone else do that so I can just enjoy a coke. . . .. But think about it: Fast food restaurants- Kids meals are between $2-4 now!!! So called “Value meals” are around $5 now. If you choose a sit down restaurant, well that go us up to nearly double!!! For all of us to eat at the kids favorite burger place it costs around $20.00. That same amount of money would buy 5 gallons of gas, 6 gallons of milk, 4 lbs of cheese, or almost 50 lbs of rice!!! Now don’t get all bent out of shape here, I’m kicking myself in the rear because I blow this kind of money way too often.

I remember when my kids were really little I went to a fast food chain with my brother. It was just me and the kids- 4 people. My brother has 5 kids and he had his wife with him- 7 people. I ordered kids meals for my kids and a value meal for me (a cheap one though). My brother’s family ordered a sandwich for each person, water to drink (not bottled, tap water courtesy cups), and they split side orders of fries between 2 people. He spent less on his 7 than I spent on my 4!!!!

At sit down restaurants, drinks alone can blow your budget. Soda fountain beverages are between $1.19 and $1.49 around here. I have seen drinks for as much as $2.00. Lets not even talk about drinks at coffee shops!!! No one can escape Starbucks w/o spending at least $4. That adds up!!!

Now, what can you do instead??????

  1. The entirely cheapest thing to do is to eat at home, from scratch.
  2. If you cannot, then you can pack your meal. Using leftovers is basically a free meal. Buying convenience items for the lunch box is still cheaper than restaurants.

If you cannot resist the mesmerizing smell of the deep fat fryer or the grill or if the idea of drinking through a straw just really floats your boat, there are ways to reduce the amount of money you flush down the restaurant’s toilet.

  1. Drink only water, courtesy cups, as some restaurants call them , are free. If you really want something else to drink, bring it from home and order your meal to go. You can eat in the car or at a park.
  2. Stop ordering Value Meals!!  Most people are overeating if they eat an entire value meal.  Figure out what amount of food is enough and order just that.  Sandwiches come in many sizes these days.  Order one sandwich that fills you up and forget the side of fries.
  3. Eat at the truly cheap restaurants!!  Around here they are places like Taco Bell, Hot n Now, Rallies, and we have a few local hot dog joints. 

You can do this!!!  Enjoy your leftover lasagna, your scalloped potatoes, and your ham and cheese sandwich.  Remember when mom would warm those refrigerator items up in the microwave for you on a summer afternoon?  They are good!!

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