One of the biggest budget busters is going out to eat. The more you eat at home, the more money you save, and it also is much healthier. You get to decide how a meal is prepared and what goes into it.
Most likely, you know you should eat at home more often, but actually doing it may be another story.
Personally, there were two hurdles that kept me from wanting to eat at home. One, I didn’t know what to make. I dreaded the question, “So what’s for supper?” Most of the time I had no earthly clue, so I would look through the pantry and fridge for an idea.
That led me to the second hurdle which was not having all of the ingredients to make the meal. Maybe I had ground beef, taco shells, and taco seasoning, but no cheese. This happened to me more than I’d like to admit.
When we became a one income family, we wanted to cut back on our out to eat spending tremendously, and I knew I had to figure this eating at home thing out.
I’ve shared before how I keep my meal planning easy-peasy by having a master list of meals that we rotate through and also by keeping the sides super duper simple, but there are a few other strategies that ensure we eat at home even on those crazy nights when we are tempted to go out instead.
Organize and Take Inventory of Your Pantry and Freezer on the Regular
How many times have you gone to your pantry right before supper and realized you didn’t have an ingredient that you needed? Or on the flip side, how many times have you found something in your freezer and thought, “I didn’t know that was in there? We could have had that last night instead of going out for supper.” (I know I’m not the only one!)
One of the best ways to keep an organized pantry and freezer is to not stuff them full. I’m all about stocking up on items when they are on sale, but make sure you are only buying what you need until the next sale and are actually using the food up otherwise you will forget what’s in there.
When you can actually see what you have in your pantry, you are more likely to use it. So take some time every so often to tidy it up.
Have a List of Family Favorites
Hands down the best decision I ever made when it comes to meal planning, is having a master list of meals that my family enjoys. I refer to my list whenever I plan out my meals for the month instead of spending a bunch of time looking through cookbooks or Pinterest. My master meal list also means that I don’t have to come up with meals out of nowhere.
Does your mind ever just go blank as soon as you try to come up with meals? I know mine does. That’s another reason for having a bank of meal ideas.
Most months our meal plan is very similar. I basically rotate about 25 meals and throw in a new meal every once in awhile.
By making the same meals on a regular basis, I’ve mastered those recipes and it doesn’t take as much time to make them as it used to.
If you want a bank of meal ideas yourself, but don’t know where to start, check out my newest Meal Planning Kit available in my Etsy shop. It has over 150 supper, breakfast, lunch, and snack ideas, example menu plans, a blank menu plan, and my favorite healthy tips and time saving tips!
Keep Easy, Go-to Meals on Hand
There are nights when you are exhausted from the day and just need a break from cooking. Or maybe you literally have 30 minutes to get supper ready and eaten before you have to head out the door. Those are the nights when you need to keep easy meals on standby. Here are a few easy go-to meals we enjoy.
Grilled cheese sandwiches
Mac n cheese
Cheese and crackers
Pair these with fresh fruit and veggies and you have a healthier meal than if you had gone through the drive through. Plus there are so many healthy versions of the above mentioned items that you could choose to purchase.
Bonus Tip: Clean Your Kitchen Every Day
How about you? If cleaning your kitchen up each night is not a daily habit, now is a great time to start.