If you've hung out on Passionate Penny Pincher for any length of time, you know that spending lots of money on food (which just gets eaten and then is gone . . . ), is something I just don't enjoy (at all!) However, as I looked at our schedule this fall, I realized that there was no way that we could eat at home on Monday nights. (Between just three children, we have seven activities between 4 PM and 9 PM . . . crazy.)
Last year we struggled through and tried to grab sandwiches in a mad dash early in the afternoon, but as the 3-4 o'clock hour is now taken over with homework, there's no (reasonable!) way that I can manage dinner at home this one day of the week . . . anyone else have one of those nights on their schedule?
While we don't eat out much, and certainly not very extravagantly, even two to three meals out per week can really hit a budget when you're feeding a family of five (especially when one of them is an 11 year old boy!) And, while I know that fast food isn't always the healthiest option and wouldn't be my first choice most nights, by limiting the number of meals that we do eat out I feel like it's occasionally worth the splurge to save my sanity.
So, I've been trying to come up with a few inexpensive restaurant meals on the cheap those nights that dinner at home just isn't going to happen. Here's what we've had so far:
- Little Caesar's Pizza and Crazy Bread (using $1.99 Crazy Bread coupon): Paid $7.02 for dinner by bringing drinks from home.
- Subway (using Buy One Get One Free coupons from recent Sunday inserts): Paid $10.24 for 4 subs by bringing a can of Pringles along with drinks from home. (You could also use this great Saveology deal: get a $10 Subway Gift Card for $6.50)
- Jack's (using Buy One Get One Free coupons from Enjoy the City booklets): Paid $12 for 4 cheeseburgers, fries & drinks
- Sam's Club (everyday low price!): Paid $12.45 for 5 slices of pizza with drinks
And here are a few more restaurant deals to try on our list . . .
- Earthfare Kids eat free Thursday nights with each adult meal purchase (we've fed our family of five for around $13)
- Quizno's using Buy One Get One Free coupons
- Arby's with their free menu item with sandwich purchase
- Taco Bell's Naco Surpreme (at least my hubby and I can eat on the cheap!)
- Chic Fil A Kids Eat Free night
- Free Chicken Salads at Mc Donald's thanks to Recycle Bank coupons (free when you buy a Happy Meal . . . I'm hoping I can convince my hubby to eat a salad there too!)
We've really watched our dining out expenses these last two weeks, and have managed to save $75 in just two weeks by planning our meals out in advance, always ordering water (which is hard some days, but saves almost $10 per meal!), and trying to eat at home on nights when we don't have a crazy schedule. I was pretty shocked when I saw just how much money we saved just by changing a few habits; which means maybe my hubby and I can enjoy a movie night out with a sitter with our savings! 🙂
What tips do you have for saving on your family's budget while eating out? Please leave a comment to share (I need all the help I can get on this one!)