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Have you ever found yourself looking at your checking account and seeing all the charges for dining out? The last couple of months our life has kind of spun out of control. This is what I mean: hubby traveling 5 days a week, kids after school activities every-single-day, leading to drive-thru dinners and a menu plan that has flown to another planet! Can you relate?
Despite trying to menu plan, I felt overwhelmed and exhausted by our lifestyle. To top it off I was unmotivated to change it and felt sorry for myself.
The consequences of dining out so much are we have all gained some weight. Additionally, we don’t have a ton of time at the table talking to each other and survival mode has crept in.
If you haven’t heard of survival mode, that is when you do the bare minimum just to get by. All your systems to make life easier, seem to be non-existent and you are just trying to survive.
With the busy schedule we had, I was just trying to make it one day at a time.
The stress was increasing and my clothes were getting tighter. That led me to take a hard look around. I spent some time looking at our calendar and figuring out what could help with getting us back on track.
My husband’s travel schedule wasn’t going to slow down anytime soon and the after school activities will only change as the season changes. Which meant I had to be more proactive and be deliberate with a daily schedule and create a meal plan.
But most importantly, I needed to make some changes before my few pounds of weight became a boatload of weight.
We have decided we are going to try and eat at home every day except for 1 meal a week. This is a huge commitment considering we have been dining out at least 3-5 times a week! Kind of scary to admit we were dining out that much!
I created a FREE Menu Planning Printable that you can download by filling out this form:
How to stop dining out
- Freezer meals! I am a HUGE fan of freezer meals! Once a Month Meals is my go-to when I create my freezer meal menu. I have been making freezer meals for years and I highly recommend Once a Month Meals.
- Dine out once a week.
- Plan ahead (why is this easy to write but SO HARD to do?)
- Think outside the box
There are 2 motivating factors here: money and weight loss
The Money Factor
Dining out is a huge budget buster. We can easily spend an extra $150 a week on just dining out. That money adds up fast! Let’s round down to $100 and if we do that every week, that’s an extra $400 we are spending in a month!
By eating at home I am giving my family a $400 raise!!!
Let’s say I use $16 of that $400 and buy the monthly meal plan at Once a Month Meals. I am still saving money! I will have a meal plan that is already created and I will have meals in the freezer for those nights where the activities run right into each other.
For me to get our life back on track to eating at home, I had to commit to cooking and being prepared. Having freezer meals helped me to be prepared. I would make the freezer meals at the beginning of the month, then I would have them to rely on the rest of the month.
Grocery shopping is the one task I can not stand. I hate everything about it. Making the list, going to the store and then bringing them home and putting them away. My saving grace has been the convenience of my grocery store offering to do the shopping for me!
Let me tell you, all I have to do is drive up and the pick up the groceries. It is the best thing ever! Plus it saves me money because I’m not purchasing those spontaneous little buys or the candy at the cash register.
Since I have freezer meals already, my weekly groceries are far less. It mostly consists of produce and some bread and deli items.
Happy Wife, Happy Life
Despite having to work hard for a day and make the freezer meals, the rest of the month is rather easy. I love having us eating at home more. There is a relaxation that is happening since I am no longer running through the drive-thru. And this makes my family happy because I am happy.
Remember how I said that we had all gained some weight over during this time where I was unmotivated to fix the problem? Since we have been eating at home, that weight has come off, not just me but my kids too (well they probably grew and it evened out). But I haven’t grown and the weight has come off.
For me bringing the family back to the table has been priceless. We aren’t rushed, we aren’t eating in the car but we ARE enjoying each other.
If your life is spinning out of control, I highly recommend you start freezer cooking! Once a Month Meals has recipes for every meal. You can have breakfast that is frozen so all you have to do is warm them and go.
I have a challenge for you if your life is spinning out of control. First, stop take a deep breath and acknowledge something has to change. Then go to Once a Month Meals and get their free mini menu and make it. Having 5 meals in the freezer where all you have to do is cook, will give you so much relief! It is the best feeling to know you have some meals prepared and all you have to do is make some easy side dishes.
Once you have done that, I want to hear from you! Please tell me how the challenge went and what you did and did not like. You can sign up for my email list below and get my email that way. Don’t forget! I created a FREE Menu Planning Printable that you can download by filling out this form:
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Stephanie has been blogging at Sticky Note Mom for 4 years. Before starting her blog she worked in the finance industry working on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade to working for major financial institutions with personal financial planning and the mortgage industry. Now she shares all she has learned about frugal living to help others learn how to stop spending and start saving more.