A regular feature of Thrifty Living is recipes. I've never really talked about why I dedicate a good portion of this blog to posting recipes...its certainly not to show off my cooking prowess! Most of what we eat is simple food, not elaborate like many cooking blogs.
Save money by cooking at home instead of eating out. Any time you eat out, you could have made the same thing at home for less. Eating out costs more because someone is preparing your food, serving you, and you pay for the convenience of choosing from any number of items on the menu. This does not mean that you can never eat out if you are living frugally! Especially if you are used to eating out a lot, going cold turkey may be an unreasonable expectation. We plan our times for eating out, and try to stick to only when we have planned. This way we stay within our budget for restaurant food, but also are able to look forward to when we will be going out to eat.
Those spur of the moment "I don't feel like cooking; let's eat out tonight" moments are still hard. But having a goal (even if you fall short) is going to help way more in the long run!
A big part of eating out for me is particular foods....some things just always taste better out! So I've worked to pinpoint favorite foods I want to eat out, then we try recreating them at home. One of my favorite things to do is "copycat" recipes...especially things like Cherry Limeade from Sonic or Chick-fil-A chicken nuggets.
(Creamless creamy tomato soup with grilled cheese)
Keep it simple. Have a few recipes that are easy. Preparing a highly labor-intensive homemade meal every night of the week is probably not going to make you want to eat out less. You may be more likely to want "a night off" from the kitchen because it is so much work. We have a few "stand-by" favorite recipes, depending on the time of year. Right now a quesadilla is a super easy dinner that does not require the oven, and we've been giving our crock-pot quite a workout! In the fall and winter, chili is one of our favorite go-to meals.
Mix things up! A few favorites are good, but can get old quick if you are having them every week. Pizza is on our menu most Fridays, but we try to have different versions of pizza instead of the same old same old...BBQ chicken, stuffed crust, pizza bagels, etc.
Trying new recipes can be great when they work, but chances are if you are doing a lot of cooking at home, you are going to have a recipe flop! Sometimes you can figure out what went wrong, and sometimes the recipe needs to be filed away with a note that says "gross"! I've had to do both!
I've been enjoying trying some new recipes lately, and I can't wait to share them with you!
(Avocado and White Sauce hot dog)