Save Money: by not guessing what’s for dinner

Do you get home from a long day at work and walk around wondering what is for dinner . Just to throw your hands in the air with exasperation say ” F it “and jump back in the car looking for your favorite eats. Well you might not know but you are suffering from a sickness that result in a chubs belly and endless amount of money being flushed down the drain.

I know it sounds terrible. Would you like to get the cure! It’s actually easy ( no pills involved) all you have to do is grab a pen and paper ,then start making some lists. That’s right a few list will get you back to sexy waist and pockets of money*

(Cut infomercial)

Ahh,  it’s the beginning of the month and it’s time for the usual routine here at the Roamer fort. Prepping the dinner menu for the month.

Let’s face it, a lazy moment is almost all it takes to jump in the car and head to a restaurant or to pick up the phone and order carry out when it’s time for dinner. Lets also admit that rarely do we save money by eating out, and to top it off its rare to get food of good quality or nutrient. And for goodness sake sometimes it doesn’t even save us the time.

Having to rush through our bed time routine with the kids because we decided to go out to eat is not fun and it doesn’t happen if we just cooked at home.

Here are a few tips on saving money when it’s time to eat.
When that hard long day comes it’s going to take a lot of will power to not take the easy and expensive way out so here are a few preventative steps to take before that day to make choosing the healthiest and most affordable option the easiest.

Make a list

I know sooo boring but whatever. I make lists, its my thing and it is helpful . Really you could probably open your pantry and refrigerator and whip up something creative with the ingredients you find,  but in reality creativity sounds like challenge/work and when I am feeling lazy a challenge is not what I want. So back to the list.

The list I’m talking about is a list of all the food you and your partner know how to cook.. Including all the different varieties( so not sandwich but tuna sandwich,  chicken  sandwich, avocado sandwich) and so on. The benefit of this list?  Well sometimes we go out to eat because we are tired of having the same thing all the time. Chances are that even though you know how to make 20 different dishes you actually stick to about 5-7 meaning you repeat them often in a month. Ugh, No wonder you feel like you have pasta and tomatoes sauce twice a week,  because you are!

Now you can be in awe at the variety of food that can be had at home( I like to remind people to relish  such knowledge because really most of us don’t know what’s what until we write it down). Now that we are armed with this information we can move on to step 2(* if your list is small 10 dishes or less it’s time to spruce up those cooking skills unless a lack of variety is not an issue for you or the family)

Make a menu

I use to make a weekly menu .. Then I wouldn’t have to guess on that night what was for dinner and I was set for a week. But man it was a pain every Sunday. Neither of us wanted to make it plus we still ended  up repeating meals weekly, so now we make monthly menus . So you can start slow and make a week one or go all out and make a monthly one. The point is that even if you have all the ingredients to make something you might still not make it because you have to pull the idea out of thin air. That takes more effort, not that I’m encouraging laziness, just encouraging efficiency. (Roamer tip, don’t forget about lunch on the weekends).

Spend where it counts

I use to be quite reluctant to spend a lot of money on chicken and beef. Compared to all the staples they were the most expensive items. 

Then I came to the realization that I could spend $ 10 for 2 cuts of beef and maybe $4 more for veg and rice… or I could buy only vegetables and ground beef( cheap meat) save $5 on the beef. Then get a craving for steak every other week and spend $50+ dollars on 2 adult plates and maybe a kids plate at a restaurant totaling $ 100 more a month.  Or with those $100 I could have bought 10 more serving of protein, so I got smart and started spending where it mattered.

Pretty much what it comes down to is planning ahead can cut out lots of the issues you can encounter. This is true for our finances and is also true for our meals.

It’s funny because it doesn’t only save you money but it saves you from all the extra hassle. Some people would say doing all this(lists) is a hassle but what about all the hassle you deal with when you don’t know what’s for dinner day in and day out. Blah! Give me 30 min Guaranteed instead of potential hrs and hrs of hassle stretched out over 30 days.

Finally also make sure you have easy meals on hand. For me this is stuff that requires very minimal preparation. I am including my Avocado sandwich as and example for one of our lazy dinners.

To summarize

Make a list of all the meals you know
Create a menu
Make a shopping list
Spend where it matters
Have an easy to whip together meal for lazy days

My Avocado Sandwich Recipe 

Ingredients: Eggs, Avocado, Onions, Spinach,Bread, Lemons, olive oil

1. Add olive oil to pan, Scramble eggs in a pan, cook/brown onions

2. Rinse spinach and lime, Toast bread, Cut avocado

3.Assemble Sandwich, Squirt lemon juice before adding second slice of bread. ENJOY! you could even add a side of carrots


* result vary and are 100% dependent on what you eat and that money saved is not wasted in some other area

What Tips do you have for cutting food costs?

4 thoughts on “Save Money: by not guessing what’s for dinner”

  1. nice! and so true. i’ve challenged myself to not eat out at all in September because i am super guilty of being lazy & tired and getting take-out…

    p.s. that avocado sandwich looks delicious.

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