Eating Out is Our Struggle – What’s Yours?


Eating out too much

Throughout my pregnancy and after I had my daughter in August 2021, our family has been eating out entirely too much. I’m talking about nearly every day a meal is eaten from a drive-thru or takeout. It’s insanity! I know it is, but it is also so difficult to not do, especially with us both working full-time and being FT stay-at-home parents. At the end of the day, the last thing either of us wants to do is cook.

Similarly, if we have busy work days, it might be easier to run through the drive-thru at lunch rather than cook something here or stop and make something (at least that’s what we’ve been telling ourselves). However, I decided to sit down and take a look at the numbers so that my husband and I could discuss them and come up with a plausible solution.

Hashing Out the Numbers

In all honesty, it’s a bit embarrassing to say how much we’ve been spending on eating out. Most of the time, a meal out is anywhere from $30 to $50 for our family of three. If we are having said meal delivered, tack on another $10-$15 in delivery fees and tips.

If we eat out for lunch and dinner (which has happened more than I’d like to admit), we are spending up to $120 per day on food alone. Most of the time, there is food in the house that we could be eating. We either don’t want it or are too exhausted to put together the meal after a long day.

There was one week when we spent $500 just eating out. I sat down with my husband to go over the numbers and he was floored. We are spending at least $1,000/month in just fast food, delivery, etc. If we put this towards our debt, savings, and other financial goals it would make a HUGE difference.

So, what are we doing to fix it?

Sticking to a Meal Plan

Another thing we’ve struggled with in the past is sticking to the meal plan. My hubby is a picky eater, while I am not picky at all. He won’t eat any vegetables outside of corn (if that even counts). When we are trying to eat healthier, most of the time he just has a piece of meat on his plate. That is frustrating for me, especially as the person who cooks in the family.

Additionally, his reaction when I tell him what’s for dinner drives me crazy sometimes – lol.

That being said, we need to stick to a meal plan to get past our eating out too much. We’ve been fairly successful with this this week, but we had to include a lot of easier meals that don’t require a lot of putting together – sandwiches, pasta dishes, and healthy “on the go” snacks.

Ideally, I would meal prep twice a week but neither of us are a huge fan of leftovers and that feels like you’re just eating leftovers for days on end. So, the answer for us (I think) will be to find easier meals for most of the week and plan a nicer meal to make on Friday or Saturday. We are limiting our eating out to a single meal per week – and hopefully down to no meals out in the near future.

This has been a serious struggle for us because eating out is almost always less work (for me, especially). What aspects of spending do you struggle with? Any tips for our family?

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