Monday, March 26, 2007

Fast Food Frenzie

On my drive to work, I tend to think a lot. What else is there to do in a 30 minute commute besides think or road rage? Today’s thoughts went toward thrift and the mistakes I seem to be repeating over and over.

For example, going out to eat when there is plenty of good food in the house. We have lots of food at the house – I went to Aldi on Saturday and spent $68 (with tax) on groceries for the next two weeks. Yet we still go out to eat.

Last night, hubby was coming home from a side job that had him busy from 9:00 until 4:30. I told him that I saw a kickboxing training bag being thrown away by a neighbor. Hubby wanted it to use for SCA practice. After he picked it up, he came home and I went outside to see if I could help him. Apparently it was still full of water (water weights it down) and it slipped as he tried to lift it down. It hit his glasses and the glasses bent horribly and gashed his eye.

First thing I wanted to do was go to the ER. He refused but did agree to butterfly stitches from Walgreens. So after cleaning him up, off we go to Walgreens. $2.16 later, we are in the car. Hubby is starving. I am worried about him. Dinner prep has not been done.

What do we do?

We go to a local Mexican restaurant. Our total was $18. $18! That is a big chunk of my weekly food budget. WHY do I do this? This is our biggest budget destroyer.

Do any of you have suggestions for curbing this monster???


Mom2fur said...

Well, first, I hope his eye heals quickly. Second, $18 for dinner is a heck of a lot cheaper than the emergency room, LOL! Third--how about keeping something like a few cereal or protein bars in your car, or some little bags of trail mix? Just something to take the edge off the munchies until you get home for a real meal? And finally, instead of just randomly going out each week, why not set up 2 "Date Nights" a month? Maybe every other Friday? This way, you can work it into your budget. In fact, if you can, do it on a weeknight when restaurants have better specials. Keep your eyes open for coupons. ( offers some amazing deals.) At the restaurant, drink only water. Soda is overpriced. Finally, don't feel guilty. Going out to dinner with your husband is very romantic!

Anonymous said...

Being a young college student on my own, I need to cut corners anyway I can. For me, I found that if I make an 'idea list' of what I may want to eat for the week, I can go to the store and just get what I need rather than buying this and that, which may never get eaten and will have to later be thrown out. I've limited myself to eating out once a week and I also have a 'crockpot night' once a week. This has helped me considerably from when I first started out. I hope his eye gets better!

Maggie said...

This has been a problem area for us for the last 10 years. The 2 things that have helped us the most recently is planning out and posting menus ( with freezer meals that can be microwaved if neccessary) and planning a few dinners out we can look forward to. So far we have decided on birthday dinners and milestones. The next one for us is when my son gets his braces off we are going for ribs to celebate ( to be followed up with caramels and popcorn LOL!)

Jenn @ Frugal Upstate said...

Having a few things that you KNOW you can throw together fast and cheap helps. Some ideas:

#1-Scrambled Eggs and toast. Cheap, quick and filling. If you really want to be ritzy (and bring up the cost) you could do the whole breakfast for dinner thing and add some bacon or sausage that you could keep in the freezer.

#2-Pancakes and sausage-same as above, especially if you use Bisquick or the Aldi's or Save a lot brand baking mix. Again, quick and easy.

#3 Spaghetti-Boil noodles, jar/can of sauce (I can get the cans of hunts for $.89) maybe keep a bag of the frozen meatballs (or make your own and freeze). You can nuke the meatballs to defrost then add them to the sauce to warm. Each person really only needs 3 or 4. Cheap, fast. Can take regular bread, butter it on one side, throw a little salt and garlic powder on it and broil in the oven for a couple of pieces of garlic bread to go with.

#4 Mac 'n Cheese w/ hotdogs. Again, the cheapo box only costs like $.33 at Aldis, or you can go for their brand of the "creamy shells" which is like a dollar. A pack of cheapo hotdogs is around a buck. Make separately, toss together, add a can of veggie on the side.

I wouldn't recommend living on these, but for a fast, cheap, avoid the eating out trap they can really help.

Jenn @ Frugal Upstate said...

Oh, and I forgot grilled cheese and tomato soup made with milk!