As I’ve mentioned before, our food budget for our family of six is between $500-$550 each month. That amount includes everything we eat for the month…so there really isn’t any room in there for eating out.
Yeah, we’re pretty sad and deprived around here. Instead of eating out, we are forced to choke down steamy pot roasts with carrots, potatoes and gravy…or homemade popcorn chicken with ranch potato wedges…or delicious homemade pizza, made to order. It’s a tough life, but somehow, we’ll try to deal with it. :)
YES, there ARE times that I’m worn out, tired and JUST DON’T FEEL LIKE COOKING. I know, you’re shocked. The Heavenly Homemaker doesn’t always feel like putting on her happy little apron and cooking a delicious meal for her adoring family.
Even when I don’t feel like cooking, grabbing fast food for our family is just really not an option. Even “cheap” fast food can cost $25-$35 to fill the boys’ hollow legs (and yes, that’s without drinks, and with coupons).
WHEN I don’t feel like cooking, we scrounge around for leftovers…or throw some peanut butter and honey on a tortilla, eat an apple, drink a glass of milk and call it a meal. Or I just quickly make a batch of pancakes and scrambled eggs (which everyone feels is a treat at night anyway!).
OR every once in a while, we’ll grab a couple of take and bake pizzas from Walmart for $7 each.
Our kids do enjoy eating out and get excited about the possibilty when the opportunity arises. That means that when we actually do go to Pizza Hut to redeem their Book It coupons…our time out with them is a treasure.
Here are a few of my thoughts on eating out…or not eating out:
- Food from restaurants is addicting. That’s because it’s often loaded with MSG and sugar, which makes you think that the french fries you’re eating are SO the best thing in the world. The next day…you’re likely to be craving more. That’s how I felt when we used to eat out a little more often. The more we ate out…..the more I wanted to eat out. Now that we practically never go out to eat, I don’t even want to anymore. (It did take me a while to get to that point, though.)
- In my opinion…by the time we get our kids ready and out the door, into the van, buckled in, drive to the restaurant, get everyone out of the car and safely through the parking lot, find a table big enough for all of us, sit down, figure out who gets to sit by Daddy (since there are only two sides of him), figure out what we’re ordering, wait for the food, try to sit patiently while we wait for the food, try to keep everyone from spilling the food, (do I need to go on, because I’m getting tired and flustered writing this)….we may as well have stayed home and cooked a simple meal. It’s far less work.
- Very rarely (if ever) do I walk away from a restaurant and say, “THAT was the best meal I’ve ever had”. Instead, I’m usually bummed out that I just spent $12 on a plate of something that will likely make my stomach hurt later.
- Our boys think it is SO much fun when I decide to open “Mama’s Kitchen” for the night. That’s usually on a night we have hamburgers and onion rings or homemade chicken nuggets and fries. Justus, my assistant chef, gets out a tray and puts straws in our water (or homemade chocolate milk shakes!) and delivers them around the table. They pretend they’re getting a kids meal from “the best restaurant ever”. (I do not pay them to say that. On the contrary, usually I charge monopoly money for the meal.)
- My boys think making their own individual pizzas SO MUCH fun. It’s kinda messy, but…whatever.
Sooo, I hope that helped to answer your questions. What are your feelings on eating out? I know some people really do enjoy it. It just doesn’t work for our family. How do you handle eating out? What are some of your “I don’t feel like cooking but everyone needs to eat” solutions?
This post is linked to Frugal Fridays.
P.S. Be sure to join us on Saturday for The little Green Project…and a GIVEAWAY!