Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Little Encouragement To Cook At Home

Today was such a nice laid back day.  My oldest daughter and I hit some garage sales this morning (didn't find anything), we all had a nice nap, and this evening we grilled chicken while the kids splashed in the back yard kiddie pool.  We had such a nice dinner using some of the great deals they had on sale this week, and it was just an all around great day.

Some days don't go that way though.  Some days are so busy running here there and everywhere, and you end up not being home at normal meal times, and it is very tempting at those times to pull into a drive-thru and grabs some burgers.  This was a bit of a problem for us this past month, not for dinner, but for lunches.

As we were eating this lovely meal of BBQ chicken, fresh corn on the cob, stuffing, and salad I began thinking about how much it has all cost in comparison to grabbing a quick meal on the run.

I do not have a mouth watering picture to accompany this, but here is what I came up with:

1/2 bag of chicken leg quarters =  $2.95  (10 total in bag for $5.90 this week at Kroger)
5 fresh corn                              = $1.00  (5 for $1 this week at Albertson's)
Herb flavored stuffing               =  $0.79 (in pantry, bought recently at Aldi)
Green Salad Mix                      =  $0.49  (picked up yesterday at Aldi)
     Total                                   = $5.23  


Now, I did not attempt to include the cost of seasonings and BBQ sauce (which I think I got for free), but even adding that, I would be well under $6 for a whole meal for a family of 4.  Plus, all of these things were purchased completely without coupons, just by shopping sale prices.

Also, we didn't even eat all of this.  We still have two whole leg quarters and two whole pieces of corn left, so technically what we ate only cost us $3.41!  You could spend that much on an afternoon snack from a fast food place!  And we have leftovers that we can eat as is or turn into a different meal entirely, already cooked.  I will likely turn it into a salad tomorrow.

Sometimes when things get crazy, it is easy to think that just one time through the drive-thru won't matter, but then it turns into once a week or more, and before you know it you've spent $40+ out of your food budget that could have gone much further (or been put to use on a nice date).

I used to not think twice about dropping $20 on Chinese take out because that was cheaper than going to a dine-in restaurant and we usually had leftovers, but how much less would it cost to prepare that same meal at home?

All it took was a really nice dinner and a little math to put things back into perspective for me.

I challenge you to calculate how much a recent meal at your house cost in total.  I bet it's a whole lot less than you think!


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10 comments:

coupongalKC May 30, 2011 at 11:13 AM  

I like the information you have on your site. I'm now following you on Facebook from the Alexa Blog Hop. Please stop by my site. www.mycouponexperiment.com

Koupon Krazed May 30, 2011 at 12:45 PM  

I really love your site. you have an awesome layout! I found you through the Alexa hop and am now following on google and facebook. I also went over and did an Alexa review for you. I would love it if you could do one for me.

I totally agree with what you are saying!We have done the same thing. Just the other night we grilled a tenderloin that we bought from the reduced meat section for $1.99 and a coupon for $1 off. Total $0.99, then frozen corn, mac & cheese, sweet potato fries (all free with coupons)! We also had baked beans that were $0.89 on sale. Total meal $1.88 plus tax!The leftover tenderloin went into a stir fry the next night!

The Penny Wise Chick May 30, 2011 at 1:53 PM  

New follower here. I really like your site design! Happy Memorial Day. =)
~Penny
http://thepennywisechick.com

Amanda May 30, 2011 at 2:02 PM  

@Koupon Krazed...my husband still can't believe how cheap we all ate for (and I reminded him of it when he wanted to get a sausage biscuit on the way to church), and then I picked up some romaine lettuce at the $0.99 store and we had a clean out the fridge salad last night, and he said that was one of his favorite meals. LOL. Just doing a little calculation is helping me get back motivated to do some menu planning. =)

@others Welcome! I stopped by your pages too!

Jo May 31, 2011 at 10:13 PM  

true true- all of it. i almost always cook from scratch but do love a good meal out! just started couponing and can't believe how much i can save- what a thrill!

Mrs. Zwieg June 1, 2011 at 9:35 AM  

This is a GREAT post! We eat at home too most of the time not only to save money but we eat Kosher and it is almost impossible to find eating establishments within our budget that are Kosher. My mom taught me to price out meals vs. eating out when I was a teen. I admit, I did not always follow her advice, but now...moving on with her advice strong! :)

*Found you at the Wednesday Window Hop, I am a new follower and hope you will follow back! :)

Amanda June 1, 2011 at 9:48 AM  

@Jo Welcome! There *is* soooo much money to be saved. I dabbled with coupons since college, but didn't really get into it until I started staying home with a second one the way (she's almost 2 now). It never ceases to amaze my husband, and he use to think it was a huge waste of time. =)

@ Mrs. Zwieg Your mother was very wise! I didn't learn much about conserving money from mine. She would come home from work, rest while she decided what sounded good for dinner, go to the store and buy it no matter what it cost (along with whatever else caught her eye for dessert), and come home and cook and we wouldnt eat dinner until after 8...every single night. So I guess I learned not to shop like that LOL. Now she's asking me for advice since my dad is out of work. It's very hard for them to begin to curb their spending when they've been so used to spending freely for all of these years!

JRFrugalMom June 8, 2011 at 8:08 AM  

You are very wise Amanda. Yes, money can definitely be saved by making your own food. Last week I was caught on the road without food twice, because my husband would call and tell me that if I the kids and I were ready, he would give us a ride to school (2.5 miles in the heat..yes thank you).

So this week, I have made an effort out of making our lunches early, so that I can easily grab them and put them in a cooler for a picnik at the playground...sure saved me a lot of money, and the kids got some healthy food and drinks from home.

No matter how frugal I am, I do have it in our budget to get take in a couple of times a month....because I am the only one who cooks, and sometimes mom needs a break.

JRFrugalMom June 8, 2011 at 8:08 AM  

I forgot to thank you....


Thank you for participating in last week’s Wednesday Window @ Frugality Is Free. I hope you’ll stop by to link up your favorite blog post this week as well.

Amanda June 8, 2011 at 10:48 PM  

@JR, our biggest problem is being out and about on the weekends and hungry, especially on the way home from church. We were running late Sunday and caved and got Arby's and sadly spent twice this!

I just posted a recipe on my facebook last night and broke down the price I paid (and divided that by the 3 meals it made) and it came to $1.37. My husband was like "one of those candy bars you like from Aldi cost almost that" LOL. I guess I'll have to think twice about tossing a few of those in the basket from now on. =P

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