Thursday, October 22, 2009

Restaurant at Home

One of the biggest ways to save money on your grocery/food budget is to eat out less. If you eat out a lot, try going for half as much the first month and keep cutting back until you're eating out less than 5-6 times a month. Here's an example of how it can really cut into your budget. On my husband's day off, we all headed off to get some shopping done at Wal-Mart and to run a few errands (I have to admit, living in a town without a Wal-Mart has done wonders for my budget!) Since we were in the big city over lunch time and had to spend some time waiting for some service to be done, we spent some quality time at the McDonald's playplace. We were going for cheap so the boys shared a happy meal (6 pc. chicken nuggets!), we all shared some large fries (and got a Boardwalk piece, halfway to a million dollars, woo-hoo!), I had a double cheeseburger, and my husband had two double cheeses and a hot 'n' spicy. Most of our meal came from the dollar menu and we still racked up a $10 dollar bill, (when I paid I was thinking we could have headed over the Pizza Hut and got a large pizza for the same price--alas, no playplace). You're thinking, that's not that bad considering we were feeding 4 people, even if two of them are sorta smallish. You're right. Because we only do stuff like that 2-3 times a month, we're doing okay; but when you're eating out like that 2-3 times a week, that adds up to $120 a month. YIKES!
So this is my suggestion, make restaurant meals at home. For example, buy pre-made hamburgers. You can get about 20 for around $6 at Wal-Mart, and a package of shoe string french fries (usually very cheap!) Add some cheese and you're favorite toppings and you have the exact same meal you had at McDonalds. There are even sites like Top Secret Chef which specialize in copying restaurant foods. He can teach you how to clone a Big Mac right down to the secret sauce, and even make you're own Oreo Cookies! This site has a ton of clone recipes, some free some not, and you can even check him out on YouTube. By eating out right in your home, you will definitely save!

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