Love Eating Out But Hate The Cost? Do It Yourself!
I’m lucky to have a funny, beautiful, and intelligent partner in this quest called life. Ms. My Dividend Growth and I have really embraced frugality and investing in ourselves and our future. We’ve spent much of this year attempting to take our expenses to new lows and our food costs have always disgusted us. Like a lot of people, we love food of all kinds, but eat out far too often. We also noticed that we weren’t planning meals properly when cooking the few recipes we did know and ended up throwing away a lot of perished food. Early in May, we decided to take control and learn to cook easy dishes that would satisfy our taste buds and our budget. Our budget planner spreadsheet inspired us to make a food planner spreadsheet. Our goals are to plan every meal for the coming week on Sundays, learn new recipes, use ingredients in a cost effective way by eating leftovers on a regular basis, limit visits to the grocery store to at most twice a week, and spend less than $50 a week for two people. Sometimes eating out with friends or for ourselves is a must, but it still counts against our goals and we get a sadface. 🙁
Our biggest fears were being sick of the leftovers and the commitment of time as some recipes take well over an hour. But so far, we’re really liking the change. In a short time, Ms. My Dividend Growth is becoming a master in the art of cooking. Not only is she enjoying it, but every dish she puts out has been absolutely delicious (meanwhile, the one dish I made was inedible and we had to throw it away!). I’m happy to help with prep and washing dishes. Also, during the process of creating a food planner and cooking, we’ve gotten to spend more time together which is always nice. I encourage everyone to give it a try. By preparing meals and learning to cook, you eat healthier, save money, and get to make what you crave.
Below is what our May Food Planner looked like. You can see how we organize our shopping list and costs. I also included some ‘Recipe Links’ that inspired our cooking. I highly recommend the BBQ Pork Sandwiches! Week one was expensive because we bought a lot of reusable ingredients. Week two we had two sets of friends in town and had a heavy eating out cost. Week three we finally beat our goal and only spent $33.54 to eat 14 meals! Although we exceeded our budget these three weeks, we are motivated because we believe we can take charge of our out of control costs and enrich our lives in the process.
Do you plan your meals? How do you do food?