Eating Out Is Fun!

According to my blog survey a few weeks back, most of you don’t spend a whole lotta dough on eating out. I was actually fairly surprised. Those of you who spent more than $250 a month do so because of crazy schedules with your kiddos. While I’m not trying to put the restaurant industry out of business, I would like to give you all some tips on how our family makes sure we don’t spend much on eating out. Here goes:
  1. Plan a menu. This might seem difficult for families where both the moms and dads work outside the home. But that is why it is SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT. I remembered how easy it was when I’d come home from teaching years ago and not have a plan. We’d just go grab a bite to eat instead. Make sure you include an EMFH night…Every Man For Himself. You could also call it “Leftover Night”. Everybody’s got leftovers.
  2. Choose restaurants where you don’t have to tip. This is especially good when the whole family is going out. Our boys don’t care about the nicer places. They just like the fact that we are eating out!
  3. Save expensive restaurants for date nights. And by “expensive” I mean places where you will tip. And if you are going to tip, tip well. Especially on SUNDAYS!!! Many in the restaurant industry will say they hate Sunday lunch! Let’s give them a reason to look forward to Sunday lunch! Maintaining your witness for Christ is a 24/7 job.
  4. Limit your eating out to once or twice a week. I know that may be difficult for many of you. You’ll not only see the difference in your wallet but also in your health. There are a lot of added things in restaurant food that you don’t need to be adding to your body.
My two cents. Take it or leave it 🙂

17 thoughts on “Eating Out Is Fun!”

  1. Good tips—love the “make a menu”. Have done that one forever and now I see my grown girls doing the same.

    The manymeadows didn’t eat out very often—too expensive, too crazy. It was a treat when we did. With only two left at home, we go out a little more often, but we still go to cheap places.

    Thanks for the tips!

  2. Those are some great tips, we are soo guilty of eating out like its our only option. This month I am making a commitment to not eat out but 1 a week and make a menu. Thats for the reminder of something I have been putting off. 🙂

  3. Just recently (five weeks ago) we started a new program in our house of not eating out nearly as much plus trying to eat healthier (organic where we can.) I will say my grocery bill is horrendous because organic is so much more expensive. I’m hoping the health benefits outweigh the costs.

    I do feel better than I have in a long time and we are only five weeks in!

  4. One year for lent we gave up eating out for 40 days. At first it was SO HARD! NO Sonic drinks, NO Little Caesar’s Pizza, not even an ICEE! It made this mama have to plan ahead. We developed some habits that we still carry on, and we now eat out as a family once every other month.

    When I go to Sam’s (which is every 20 days – ‘nother story altogether), I buy a box of assorted, individually packaged snacks, and a box of Welch’s fruit snacks. We keep the boxes in the car, along with a case of bottled water, which the kids can get into when they get the munchies. Voila! Fewer cokes and french fries consumed by all!

    The kids and I plan our menus, since they are learning to prepare meals for the family, and we have “Self Supply” (Every Man for Himself) on Sunday nights. I get a “grown-ups only” dinner out every week on Thursday, and the kids alternate having breakfast out with Daddy on Saturday.

    Now that I’m firmly in the meal-planning habit, our budgets and our health are in much better condition. Great post, Cindy!

  5. When I was not faithful to plan our meals it was chaos! I would come home from work and we would have ball games/practice with two boys on oppposite ends of town at the same time! We were always scrambling. We have had our times where we have eaten out way too much! Just going to our favorite burger joint in town and getting our beloved UCO special takes a big bite out of our budget at 40.00 plus tip. We just refuse to continue to throw our money away on food!

    When we do go out now as a family we all order water and follow many of the tips that you share.

    I think you touched a nerve with many. Prices are rising and it will be interesting to see if this continues to be one of America’s favorite things to do.

  6. Also, I’ve found that you can get some really good coupons to restaurants on their websites . . . And, also on ebay of all places!

  7. Witcher’s can get out of Ted for less than $20 every time. Maybe even $15! Our tiny girls don’t eat squat and we’ve learned not to order them something at Ted’s because they get full on the set up. So, JT and I enjoy a split dinner and we come out cha-eap!

  8. We have enjoyed the “kids eat free” nights at certain restaurants. Or the buy an entree get one free option. Also- Merrick’s favorite restaurant is Taco bell (Thank you Jesus for cheap tacos!). Thanks for the tips!

  9. Thanks for making an exception to eat lunch with me yesterday! It was great to get to know you a little better–and in person, too! 🙂

    Great tips. I’m looking forward to having a family someday. Sometimes cooking for only one person (myself) is such a pain, though it DOES come cheap.

  10. I’m all about eating out twice a week. I try to plan a menu but find it VERY difficult do to finding time to go grocery shopping. UGH!!

    Any tips on making menus? I have two teenagers and a 7 year old and trust me they are picky!!!

    Thanks for this great post.

    I added you a couple weeks ago to roll. Your insight is awesome.

  11. thanks for the tips! I have started to make more crockpot meals and this has helped tremendously. I get off work usually by 6 but twice a week I get of at 7:30 this is where the fastfood came in I didn’t want to come home and cook at 8 and eat by 830 or 9 so on the days that I work late or we have practice or ballgames it’s crock pot night. this has been great I get home and dinner is ready. you can find crock pot meal in Kraft Food magazine or on line I also tear out resipes in magazines too.

  12. Yeah….well….we have a toddler who takes the crazy pill every morning. So…we don’t make it out much. Our six year old’s favorite restaurant is Quiznos, so that is really easy. But when we do go out, we leave the kids with g-parents.

    Thanks for the tips (when we do make it out with the kids, it will help). I am also a fan of the having a living room picnic of take-out food once in awhile. =) That way, crazy is as crazy does.

  13. I’m personally waiting for a SUV with an electrical outlet in the cargo area. That way I can go to the grocery store, prepare the meal, and serve it up on my bumper at the baseball field. Can I get an “Amen!” Honestly, those 6:00 games (Please arrive at 5:30 to warm up) really cut into the homecooked meals I’d rather be serving.

    If any of you other moms have good ideas for hectic athletic schedules? I’m all ears. 🙂

  14. Amber and I are so bad at eating out. We both will just crave a specific restaurant at the same time…not a good thing. We have recently had to calm way down on our eating out, because it gets so incredibly expensive. It’s amazing when you look back at how much you have spent on just eating out. So the last few weeks we have been grocery shopping a lot more and also making meals where there will be leftovers. And then making sure to eat those leftovers. Thanks for the tips.

  15. This is for Lisa. I can totally relate to having to be at games early. Last year we had two sons playing for the high school teams, one the freshman team, and the other on JV. My husband and I were both coming from work. We also had our teenage daughter with us. Many times we grabbed something quick but we are going to be more purposeful this next football season. We just can’t afford to do that all the time and the food is never healthy. I am going to prepare snacks/food the evening before I go to bed and have ready in the fridge. I am also going to keep snacks, water, gatorade, nuts, and handy wipes in a container in our van. I going to throw a cooler in the back of the van. I would much rather buy a bag of ice for under a buck and bring our own water/gatorade than to stop at 7-11 and pay a premium for those things.

    I would rather eat my own sandwich while driving down to Norman for a game than to stop and shell out the bucks somewhere else. Last year was crazy for us and sitting through four hours of games two nights a week was hard. This year at least they both will be on the same team! YEA!

    It can be done. I am hoping that preparing a plan ahead of time is going to help us tremendously.

  16. Vickie,
    The cooler thing is something I did for a while last year. Thanks for reminding me of that. Its great for sandwich stuff and drinks. My little “food snobs” got a little tired of sandwiches, but you’ve inspired me. I’m going to start compiling a list of “cold foods” I can serve up as a decent meal.

    With my son playing on two baseball teams this spring and my two daughters keeping stats for 3 middle school teams I may actually buy a tent and build a campfire.

    Thanks again

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