We love eating out. There’s something great about getting out of the house and sitting down in a new place; it stirs up all sorts of fresh conversation between us, all from a change of environment. (It’s also nice to have a night off from cooking or cleaning-up.)
There’s a problem, though. The amount of money we spend eating out each month has become enormous (to us, at least). It’s hard to say no when friends invite us out, and saying yes one too many times has begun to cost us.
So here’s our plan: No eating out for the month of April. No take-out. No delivery pizzas. No Coffee shops. No Taqueria Mexicano Grill #9. Nada.
What this means for us is that we’ll have to buck up and plan better when we grocery shop. Eating out, for us, is always a kind of special treat; the problem is that we indulge a little too often in the luxury.
There’s a flip side to this, too. Notice the title of this post is not “No Eating Out Month.” That reads as a little restrictive, maybe even like a reprimand. Instead, “Our Month of Eating In” emphasizes the positive side of this: the more time we spend eating in, the more focused we’ll be on loving our home — even on Friday nights when we could be eating enchiladas at #9.
That’s a truism I’ve gleaned from homemaking lately: your home is way more fun if you do fun things there. After being in college for so many years, “home” (read: dorm room) was really just a rest-stop — a place to refuel in between classes. It was liminal in every sense of the word. Our home now, although we won’t live here forever, is the opposite. If we don’t invest in this space as somewhere to grow and mature, then it will become just another rest-stop, and I get the feeling that we’ll always have a sense of something missing if that’s the case.
I’m not saying eating in will change our lives. But I do have some (fairly practical) goals:
- Save at least $100 that we can transfer to savings.
- Find some new, good eats to cook at home.
- Perfect our home coffee-making skills (so we can resist the urge to drop by the coffee shop).
- Have more people over for dinner rather than caravaning out to eat.
- Do some heavy-duty menu planning and see how it effects our food budget overall.
- Become excited about eating in, even when our friends are out on the town.
And one last, somewhat silly goal:
- Buy cheap placemats.
Placemats? Yes. Every meal feels more important when you’re eating off placemats. Why not change up our dinner time scenery a little?