I would say one of the easiest, and hardest, ways for me to reduce extra spending has been to cut back on the amount of times I go out to eat. I really do enjoy cooking but I also enjoy going out to eat. After all if I go out to eat I don’t have to clean up the kitchen afterwards. Over the last 3 years I have found a few ways to reduce the temptation of going out to eat. While some of these seem easy and common sense it is what I have needed to remind myself to do so I avoid eating out every day.
Find Ways to Make Restaurant Food at Home
I learned to make subs at home that taste just as good, and sometimes better, than what I would get at any of the local sub places. It didn’t take much, just a visit to the grocery bakery for some higher quality bread and a stop at the deli counter for some sliced meats and cheeses. I’m able to make six sandwiches for what it would cost me for two going out.
Prepare Work Lunches on the Weekend
This has been one of my greatest successes. By taking the time on the weekend to prepare food for the week, I have no excuses to not bring lunch to work. Many times I just make a big supper on the weekends and freeze the leftovers for during the week. I used to never be a leftover person but I started with food I knew I loved and it has made the transition much easier.
Have Some to Help Hold You Accountable
While this one isn’t full proof it certainly has helped. My girlfriend likes to go out to eat just as much as I do so we both try to hold each other accountable. If I suggest going out she will try to remind me what we are saving for and I will do the same if she suggests going out. This isn’t to say we never go out, because we do, but it does help to reduce the number of times we both agree.
There are many other advantages to eating at home than simply monetary. It can be much healthier plus you ensure you pick all the ingredients you enjoy. There is also the added benefit of spending time with family and friends. If you live alone you can always invite a friend over and rotate weeks at whose home you make some food.