last august we made our very first budget as a family. to figure out how much to budget we had to look at what we actually spent in a month. whoa. it was disturbing. the biggest shocker was how much we spent dining out. oh. my. goodness.
we are both work full time, and often when we come home we are too tired to cook, and dallas has so many great restaurants. the combination was proving to be destructive to our finances. we decided to set a relatively low dining out budget at $150 per month. you can spend that much on one good meal in dallas pretty easily. when the money is gone, we are done dining out. we have stuck to it since then, and it has been good for us. it is very difficult, as i’m sure you know, but we are trying to cook at home as much as possible. here is a meal we had this week:
we had a big batch of fresh strawberries that we sliced up, for 99 cents a lb at aldi. i looked at bagged lettuce and it cost $6.99 for red lettuce and spinach. i bought a head of each for $2.69 total, and they made double the salad. i added some low fat feta and black pepper. we used balsamic vinaigrette one night and raspberry vinaigrette another night.
we also tried the barilla plus pasta this week, and it was actually good. i’ve had bad experiences with whole wheat pasta in the past, but i’m loving this kind. it has to cook a little longer, but that’s ok. we browned some lean ground turkey and added it into the mix. we tossed it together with organic vodka sauce and fresh parmesan. the whole shebang took way less than 30 minutes, and unlike rachel ray my lettuce does not show up shredded during commercials. i love dinner @ home.

dining out was our budget buster. what is yours? have you conquered it or is it a work in progress?

i’m linking to:

Friday Follow The Girl Creative

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15 Comments on frugal friday – dinner @ home

  1. Stopping by from Friday Follow to say I am your newest follower. I also am a true Arkansas girl who had to leave “home” and was transplanted to the Big Apple. I hope you’ll stop by to say hello. Have a great day! :o)

  2. Your salad looks delicious! We try to eat at home 4-5 times/week and try to save money buy buying the store brand rather than the national brand (on most things). We also like to stock up on meats or pantry items when they go on sale really cheap 🙂

  3. I definitely need to work on the eating out too much. Sometimes cooking for one just is not fun. but the salad and pasta look delish :o).

    I’m here from Follow Friday, hope to “see” you around.

    Jenn

  4. Right now my budget buster is my entry way! Oh my! I’m almost done with it and spent way too much money! However, what I have learned is invaluable. It’s my first real attempt at home re-do by my self.

    That salad has me needing a cloth to wipe off my keyboard! I’m seriously thinking it looked so real I wanted to bite into my screen and have a nibble. I wanted to grab that larger piece of lettuce off the top and wrap it around some of the pasta and cheese. Just a little taste, you know?

    I’ve learned a huge amount from this post. Saving money is such a good thing! There is certainly a freedom to it. Not only the financial freedom, but the emotional one too! Always living like we NEED to have more stuff, more this, more that, just robs us of living simply and happily!!
    Have a fantastic weekend,
    Kolein

  5. We got better at eating in for awhile but once our third kid was born…alomst every dinner out 🙂 It is the combo of not wanting to mess the kitchen & hating to clean up…but grilling season is here! Yeah! We eat home a ton & grill! Your food looks super yummy! Good job to you guys because really…it is hard!!!

  6. My husband and I were doing a ton of eating out, especially after my daughter went off to college in another state and was no longer eating meals with us. Recently however, it wasn’t any fun any more, the meals were all the same, the prices were going up, the service wasn’t all that great and we’d come home wondering why we had wasted out money and our time eating out, especially when I can do it better at home. So … now I cook most of our meals here, I use my crockpot alot, I have worked on portions for two to be just enough to have one meals worth of leftovers and we are enjoying our meals much more, not to mention watching what we put into our bodies, since both of us need to lose alot of weight. This summer I have vowed to use the local farmers markets much more frequently and to shop the outside aisles of the grocery store avoiding the inner aisles as much as possible. It can be done and much like you mentioned in your post, it sure helps the budget to eat home more often.

  7. these look wonderful! so yummy. If you like Teriyakki, I have a Veri Teriyaki Bowtie Spinach Salad recipe on my blog, under the recipe tab.
    I am new to your blog, it is very cute, I will be back!!
    If you are interested, I have a link party on Tuesdays called “Anti-Procrastination Tuesdays” we get together and blog about what we got done or would like to get done! Its been quite fun, would love to have you.
    ok this comment sounds so self promoting…just know I’m happy to meet YOU.

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