As you know we are living off of one income now. It’s been a bit different but I think we’re doing well so far. One thing we’ve done to help stretch my paycheck is to cut back eating out so often. I didn’t think we ate out too much before the income switch but now I can see that we had a budget leak that could have been more savings for us. And we’ve discovered there are more benefits than saving money!
We were already in the habit of making dinner at home and having family time together. It was the weekends when we usually ate out. Saturdays were probably the worst culprits. We would get up and go to our favorite diner for breakfast. Then as we’d go and take care of things during the day we’d find lunch somewhere. This would also tend to be pretty unhealthy. I’m talking mall food here. Afterward we’d be too beat to make dinner so we go out for dinner or order in. Three meals may not seem like a lot but it would drain my wallet pretty quick! I would usually go to the bank on Friday to take money out for the weekend and often I’d find that I was broke by Sunday!
And that was just eating out on Saturday! I didn’t even get to eating out on Sunday or during the week. Sundays would usually be breakfast and lunch out again. During the week we usually ate in but if we were tired we would easily get food out!
Overall we’re really happy with the fact that we have been eating at home more.
Here are six ways eating out less has made our family better:
- We have more more family time together. When we eat we eat together at the dinner table. We have more time for conversation to talk about our days. Our daughter knows that dinner time is “family dinner.” “A family that eats together stays together.
- We are eating healthier. Sometimes we would eat out at a nice restaurant with great food but most of the time it would be at a chain type restaurant. Yeah, we filled up but the food wasn’t really great for us. Now the food we eat is prepared by us and we know better what the ingredients are.
- We’re setting a better example for our children. By eating together at home our kids see that we don’t have to eat out for every meal and they can learn how food is prepared. This will set them up to take care of themselves later on in life.
- We’re saving money. This is a big one for us. This is Free From Broke after all! It’s tough to put a dollar figure on what we’re saving but I can tell you that I don’t have to go to the ATM twice in one weekend anymore!! We’re finding that although our food shopping expenses have gone up some we still have extra money at the end of the month that we didn’t have when we ate out more often.
- We’re being more efficient. Now when we go food shopping we know that everything we buy on our grocery shopping list will be used. It used to be we would go out to eat and the food we had would spoil. Even when we ate out our meals were so big most of it would go uneaten.
- Our home is a home! It’s hard to explain but our home is more complete now that we eat out less. We’re using our home to it’s fullest extent. All those things we got for our wedding like salad spinners and cooking sets are being used rather than sitting up on shelves. It just feels like this is what it’s supposed to be.
It’s a shame it took our going to one income to take advantage of all of these benefits! Imagine what we could have been saving when we had two incomes?!? Or how much healthier we would have been eating?
We haven’t completely given up eating out. We still have the occasional pizza night. And we’ll get together with friends every now and then at a nice restaurant. But eating out less has definitely benefited our family in more ways than we would have thought!