Cooking all of my meals at home really wasn’t that bad, and I spent so much less than I usually do. The hardest part was figuring out a menu for the week that would be interesting and filling, using affordable ingredients. Once I was able to do that, the rest fell into place.
Some other tips, if you’re thinking about trying the same thing:
• Watch for cost-drivers: If you’re someone who likes to eat meat for every meal, it’s going to drive up your budget. I was able to get the most bang for my buck by sticking to vegetables, grains — and just a little bit of meat.
• Know that you’ll be tempted to cheat: By Saturday, I was definitely ready to go out for brunch or dinner, and it took a bit of self control to resist. But focusing in on a specific goal (in my case, an upcoming trip), helped me stay on track.
• Plan according to your schedule: On Sunday, I laid out my plans for the upcoming week and organized my week-long menu so that it made sense with my schedule. If you know you’ll have an early morning or a late night, plan for less time consuming meals. You can also meal prep even more than I did to reduce cooking time throughout the week.
All in all? The end result was worth it. I saved a lot of money. Like, a noticeable amount of money. I realize budgets are a personal thing that differ from person to person, but I was almost shocked when I looked at my bank account on Monday and realized how much I reduced my typical expenses just by cooking at home. In the future I want to find a happy medium between the top — still eating out or ordering in just one or two nights per week, but cooking all of my other meals at home.
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