giving up on good 5

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I had always tried to stay in a very tight budget while grocery shopping, but after awhile I noticed that we were eating out more than we had planned.  I (Husband) wondered if we spent just a bit more on groceries if we could save ourselves some money on the times when we go out due to convenience.

See, Husband and I don’t mind spending money to go out to eat with friends.  We see that as in integral part of spending time with people in our culture.  It happens.  People share their lives over food, and sometimes people like to go out.

But, what we didn’t want to happen was for our “dining out” budget to balloon because we were trying to be frugal in our grocery budget.  We noticed this happening after watching it for a few months.  So, we decided let’s increase our overall grocery budget by about $10 per week–purchasing one very easy to prepare but delicious to eat convenience meal and a fun dessert or snack to look forward to.  That is really what we’re looking for when we grab the takeout menu, ease and taste.  This cuts the temptation of eating out due to convenience, and also cuts some of the temptation to eat out because it’s FUN.  This ends up saving us much more than $10 when all is said and done, and it also allows us to allocate those dollars to when we want to eat out with friends or treat someone to a meal.

I know that having a lower than low grocery bill is a very good thing, but for us adding a bit more margin into the budget helped us stay on track in other categories of our budget.

Jump in the Giving Up on Good link-up by adding your link below.  What do you give up that is traditionally a “good” thing, but isn’t so good for you in this season?

13 Comments

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  • Reply June 7, 2012

    Tiffany

    You are right about making a plan for quick meals. It really does save money in the log run. I like to eat out too, when it’s planned. What drives me crazy is running through the drive through because I didn’t make a good plan and I’m running short on time.

  • Reply June 7, 2012

    Abbie Unger

    I love this. What a great idea to get a yummy dessert to look forward to as well as an easy dinner. (PS I think Dave Ramsey would be proud of ya’ll for this)
    Abbie

  • Reply June 7, 2012

    Kasey M.

    I’ve learned that I really need to be realistic about how much time I am willing to spend cooking. It has had a HUGE impact on how a spend my grocery money!

    I would much rather a spend a little more for produce (tomatoes & avacodos) and fresh cheese for a quick meal (sliced tomato + avacodo + motzarella + balsamic vinegar=delicious) than a little less money on pastas and sauces or rice and meat meals. What can I say most nights I’m only up for throwing something together rather than preparing a meal.

  • Reply June 7, 2012

    Paige

    I try to build a quick & easy meal into the plan for that exact reason. I also try to build a new recipe into the plan at least once a month for variety. We try it and vote it in or out of the rotation. Of course, making a meal plan and list (and sometimes coupons) helps us keep within budget.

  • Reply June 7, 2012

    Casey

    Never thought of it this way!!! Smart thinking. Freezer meals help me a TON, but ah, finding the free afternoon to cook them all…

  • Reply June 7, 2012

    Sarah

    This is a great idea & a great way to think about spending just a little more on the groceries. If buying one easy meal a week means one less “just because” meal out, it’ll definitely save some dollars!

  • Reply June 7, 2012

    Corrie Anne

    That makes sense. I feel the exact same way.. eating out with friends is great and wondreful. Eating out for convenience? More expensive.. and probably not as healthy as what you’d make at home. Even out of a convenience food!

  • Reply June 7, 2012

    Rose

    Our grocery budget is not as small as I think I would like it to be, but it’s an area I try not to worry about too much. We’ve given up on making it tiny because we always end up eating out or eating unhealthy when we try to sacrifice from there. For health reasons, we have to buy a lot of gluten-free and dairy-free products, which are expensive. We just thank God we can afford to buy what we want to eat, and try to be frugal from there. One vegetarian meal a week, only a little red meat, buying chicken and turkey in bulk, and fish when it’s on sale have all helped keep my grocery budget manageable, but not sacrificed.

  • This is something I love Trader Joe’s for – I splurge on one of their mostly-ready entrees, or some ingredients that will make it super easy to throw together a meal. It makes the grocery budget higher, but it’s still much cheaper than going out. I *hate* going out to eat/picking something up purely for convenience, so I try to avoid it as much as possible.

  • Reply June 8, 2012

    sam

    this is a great idea; especially love the comment from Sheila@Seasoned Joy; I rarely buy the frozen Trader Joe’s items, but I should!

  • Reply June 10, 2012

    Emily @ Life on Food

    You are absolutely right. The weeks when I find myself going out to eat more it is because life gets busy and there is nothing in the fridge to throw together quickly and easily. One extra meal at home can make all of the difference. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply June 12, 2012

    Jessica Sliman

    Great post. A fresh way to think about our food budget :)

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