I've had several conversations with people lately on the subject of eating out too much and trying to cook more meals at home. We all agree; eating out drains the budget like nothing else. You can easily prepare a meal for two for less than $10, but you're likely to spend 4-5 times that at a restaurant. Yes, cooking at home means lots of planning and effort, but if you want to save money, this is a good place to start. Here are some tips for making home cooking more manageable.
1. Plan your dinners for the coming week. Plan for leftovers too! Keep the list somewhere handy like on your refrigerator. This helps communicate to others in your household also. That way, when the temptation arises to just go out, it's like saying, "We already have plans, sorry." Make sure the list is manageable and full of simple recipes and favorites.
2. Try to food shop during off-peak times (day time during the week or early mornings on the weekends). This saves a lot of time and frustration.
3. Stock up on your staples. To keep from having to food shop every couple of days, buy items you use all the time in bulk. For me, this includes rice, beans, and vegetable broth.