We all know eating out is expensive but do know exactly how much more you’re getting charged than if you were to cook at home? Restaurants.com reports that pop is marked up 800%, potatoes 977%, pizza 600 to 800%, salmon 900 – 1000%, chicken noodle soup has a 1650% markup, and since eggs wholesale for less than 10 cents apiece — and are one of the least labor-intensive dishes — they are one of the absolute most marked up restaurant foods with the average egg dish costing $5-$12.
Eating out is easy, fun, and quick but if you find yourself indulging a bit too much you may be pushing your wallet to the limit. Today, I’ve got 8 quick tricks to get yourself to eat at home more.
8 Quick Tricks to Get Yourself to Eat at Home More…
1. Don’t let yourself get too hungry or tired.
Who hasn’t been on the way home after a long day at the office and you know the last thing you want to do is cook a meal. Be sure to take an actual lunch break and eat snacks throughout the day if you need to. Also, resist the urge to stay up late scrolling through an Instagram black hole into the wee hours of the night so you get all the sleep your body requires.
2. Plan ahead.
Having a plan in place will help you end that omnipresent question: “What should we eat for dinner?” Pre-planning your meals for the week really doesn’t take that long (use these free meal-planning calendars) but it makes a huge difference with how much time and money you can save by doing so.
3. Make it fun.
Turning on some fun music or a favorite podcast can easily make a less-than-ideal task more enjoyable. I love to turn on a podcast when I’m cleaning, cooking, or organizing around the house.
4. Cook with others.
Round up some friends and make some freezer dishes for the week. This is one of my favorite tips because not only do you get to hang out with your friends doing something for free you also get to be productive.
5. Get creative.
Lately, I haven’t been a very big proponent of experimental cooking. For me, it always turns into a so-so dish and 3 ingredients I never touch again. BUT, I’ve found that if I combine this tip with the one above I can try something new without the possibility of a risky expense. Invite over your favorite friends who also happen to be great cooks and have them teach you how to create one of their most creative dishes. Ask them to bring over some of their exotic spices and oils too so you’re not stuck with a $10 bottle of an ingredient you’re not gonna re-use. Of course, you’ll want to share what you have available too so you don’t fall into the “mooch-zone.”. (I’ve been there so I’m hear to warn you about it.;)
6. Make it easy.
I’ve been trying to not make life any harder than it needs to be. I have perfectionist tendencies which can sometimes be prohibitive. Sometimes, unless I know I can do something 110%, I won’t even start on it because I won’t be able to do it just right. This characteristic works for me in a lot of areas in life (like my photo business), but it doesn’t work so well in the cleaning around the house area of life. Unless I have a good 2 hours to clean the bathroom I usually won’t start that task. Whereas my husband, Aaron, will do a quick swipe and sweep of everything and call it good. I’ve tried to learn from him with how he approaches cleaning. I tell myself, “it doesn’t have to be perfect to be considered ‘done.’” Sometimes, good enough is just that, good enough. When you’re focusing on cooking at home more often, you’ve got to make it easy on yourself. Cleaning up is a part of cooking at home so I’ve started using Clorox® Pump ‘N Clean™ Kitchen & Dish Cleaner. If your kitchen is dirty, you’re less inclined to want to cook at home. But if you clean as you go, you’ll have a clean kitchen to cook in. I can hold the baby in one arm and cook with the other. Then, with a quick grab of the sponge and a pump of the Clorox I’ve got my kitchen cleaned up and I can get on with my life. I’ve found that if you can make the whole process of cooking easy, you will do it way more often!
7. Remind yourself how much healthier eating at home is.
While eating out is costly, it is also usually not incredibly healthy. When you cook at home you know everything that goes into your food and that is obviously a very good thing. In restaurants we can only assume what’s in our food, and even if something is marked as “heart-healthy” or “a slim pick” or something like that you don’t really know what’s in it. Plus, you have no idea if the cook washed their hands after that last visit to the restroom. Not trying to gross you out but you what I’m speaking the truth here.
8. Calculate the real cost.
Okay, so, you make, let’s say $20 an hour. Your dinner out costs you $46.00. Do you really want to spend approximately 2.5 hours of your life for that ONE meal out? When you think about it like that it makes that meal out way less enjoyable…especially when you figure that you could get a bunch of groceries for that amount and make a lot of meals.
Saving money and enjoying life is all about trade-offs. Sometimes eating out is worth it, and sometimes it’s not. That’s something you’ve got to decide for yourself. When you do eat out, make the most of it. Don’t choose items that you can make at home, and get int the habit of taking half of your meal home so you can get at least 2 meals out of it!
Do you have trouble with eating out too much? What are your tips for getting yourself to eat at home more?
This post is sponsored by Clorox—helping you clean on the go for a happier home.