If you are the type of person who regularly eats out, you are certainly spending a lot of money without even knowing. For example, if you spend $25 a day eating out, that would amount to $175 a week. For someone who’s not a high-income earner, this can be a substantial amount of money to spend on food alone. To save extra money and live below your means, you must learn how to stop eating out.
This post will serve as a guide to help you figure out how to break the habit of eating out and wasting money on food. If you are resolute about managing your money and sticking to a budget, these strategies would be impactful.
Can I Really Stop Eating Out?
You really can stop eating out. But you must know what to specifically do to get rid of that urge. Although it will take some time for you to finally adjust, it’s possible when you set your mind to it.
How To Break My Eating Out Habit For Good?
The number one rule for breaking this habit is learning how to prepare your own meals. When you prepare your meals, you will be able to curb the urge to order takeouts or eat out.
On the other hand, you must also learn how to manage your time effectively because you might be compelled to eat out when you don’t have enough time to make your meal.
Why You Should Stop Eating Out
If you haven’t found valid reasons why you should know how to stop eating out, here are some things you should consider:
- Saves You Money
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average American household spends $2,375 on pre-prepped food. Unfortunately, people keep spending this substantial amount of money on food without considering their financial situation. When you have a mortgage, credit card debt, or student loans to pay off, you must find every possible means of saving money, and that includes food.
Breaking the habit of eating out will save you a lot of money over time.
- It’s Way Healthier
Restaurant food may taste good, but sadly, it’s because the food contains a good amount of fat and calories. People who eat out tend to consume more calories than people who eat homemade meals. When you prepare your own food, you have control over everything. You can decide to minimize the amount of fat and calories in your meals, and that’s much healthier.
- Good Knowledge Of What You’re Eating
Another good reason why you should know how to stop eating out is to prevent yourself from eating a meal that is not good for your system. Over 30 million Americans have a food allergy, and around 200,000 people receive medical treatment yearly due to this. If you are allergic to certain food ingredients like garlic, mushroom, or shellfish, you need to be very careful about how you eat outside your home.
Buying takeouts or visiting restaurants regularly might be risky since you don’t know if you’d have allergy reactions to some of the ingredients in the food. But when preparing your own meal, you can deliberately avoid any food item that is not good for you.
- Better Control Of Your Hygiene
With the increasing cases of foodborne illness in the US, there’s a need for you to be utterly careful of hygiene when it comes to what you eat. There’s no denying that street food can be very sumptuous. But before you start salivating, think about your health.
Preparing your own meals allows you to take control of your hygiene. Your kitchen and all the utensils used in cooking can be kept neatly. Of course, you may not be a fantastic cook, but you can be sure that your food is prepared hygienically.
How To Stop Eating Out With These 9 Key Tips
Saying “I quit” is not enough to make you stop eating out. Instead, you need to take actionable steps to turn the situation around for your good. Here are some helpful strategies to stop eating out:
1. Meal Planning
Planning your meals is a brilliant idea. Eating at home can be tedious when you don’t even know exactly what to eat. With a meal plan, you can know what to eat every day of the week specifically. For meal planning to be easy, you need a comprehensive cookbook with several recipes, teaching you how to make different meals at home.
Also, you can find help on YouTube. There are thousands of cooking videos made by professional chefs. These videos will teach you how to prepare sumptuous meals without wasting time.
Once you’ve learned to prepare your meals, you can create a meal plan by preparing some delicacies and storing them in the refrigerator. That’s how to stop dining out when you come back home tired and unable to cook right away.
2. Take Your Food With You
Learning how to stop eating out is much easier when you are at home. For example, if you work remotely, it means you barely leave your house. So it’s easier to make your own meals. But for people who leave the house at 7 a.m. and return home at 5 p.m., how can they eat at home during breaks? It’s simple; take your food with you to work.
Instead of grabbing fast food during your one-hour break, eat something prepared by you. This shouldn’t be difficult if you manage your time effectively.
Take for example; you have to leave for work at 7 a.m., it means you should wake up two hours earlier to prepare your food. If you are married, you don’t have to do this every time. Your partner can prepare the meal for you instead while you get ready for work. The ultimate goal is that you have found one of the ways to stop wasting money eating out.
3. Avoid Social Gatherings Focused On Food
Do you love meeting friends for food or attending events that will compel you to spend money on food?
Truth be told, if you want to learn how to stop eating out, you need to avoid public gatherings that revolve around food. There are so many ways to have fun outside your home without having to waste money on food. You could walk to the park, go hiking with your buddies or visit the museum closest to you.
If at any time you need to break bread with your friends, then you meet for a picnic. If organizing a picnic seems overwhelming, you can simply invite them for hot chocolate and toast marshmallows.
4. Prepare Your Own Meal More Often
Knowing how to cook your meals doesn’t mean you will always be enthusiastic about cooking. In fact, some people who waste money on food can cook for themselves. But perhaps they are too lazy to do so. You have to actually push yourself to love cooking, and you need to make it one of your hobbies. Start by cooking the kind of meals that excite you the most.
By cooking your favorite meals, it won’t seem like hard work anymore. Instead, you will enjoy the process. As you get used to cooking for yourself, waking up at 6 a.m. to prepare a quick breakfast won’t be overwhelming anymore. This is how to stop eating out to save money.
5. Try New Cooking Recipes
Trying new recipes and exploring different flavors and cuisines will help you learn how to stop eating out. Consider this as a learning experience.
As an American, it’s cool you learn some French recipes or Indian cuisines. You can surprise your friends or family members with a French meal, something they never expected from you. Imagine the excitement it brings. But more importantly, as you try to learn how to prepare new delicacies, you will always be more eager to cook.
On the other hand, cooking new meals will help you discover the ones that are quick and easy to prepare. As a working-class person, you can’t afford to waste hours cooking a meal. You need to be able to prepare breakfast or dinner within the shortest time possible and get on with other activities. One effective way to learn quick meals is by trying new recipes.
6. Find New Activities
By learning how to stop eating out and start saving money, you are making a very good financial decision.
At some point, however, you may get bored. This is because eating out doesn’t only mean you can’t prepare your own meals. You can be impelled to eat out due to boredom. Hence, since you want to break the habit of eating out completely, you must find interesting activities that can occupy your mind and prevent you from visiting the nearest restaurant.
Try learning a new language, acquiring a new skill, or engaging in fun activities that also inspire you.
7. Preserve Your Leftovers
When it comes to managing your money and learning how to stop eating out, you must avoid wasting food. As long as you own a refrigerator, your cooked food should never go bad.
Always preserve your leftovers and consume them later. This also means you shouldn’t cook food in large quantities, especially when it’s not your favorite meal. You will end up not eating all of it. Mind you, when you waste food, you are indirectly wasting money. This is because you actually purchased the food items with your hard-earned money.
Moreover, you need to preserve the groceries you buy from your local store. For example, If you open a gallon of milk to make a bowl of cereal and after using some of it, you abandon it on the kitchen counter, there’s no way you will find that milk in good condition much later. Your eggs, broccoli, bread, and other food items should be preserved at all times.
8. Keep Frozen Pizzas On Hand
One of the ways to avoid eating out is by keeping extra slices of pizza in the fridge. Sometimes you might be too tired to walk into the kitchen and prepare a meal. If you have leftover pizza, that would save the day. You can warm it up in a microwave oven for a few minutes, and there you go; hot slices of pizza ready to fill your belly.
However, this should be done during emergencies. Only at times when you know for sure that you can’t cook. Otherwise, if you keep buying pizzas regularly, you are technically still eating out.
9. Join A No-Eating-Out Challenge
This has to be one of the best ways to stop eating out. A no-eating challenge can be the perfect motivation and boost needed to break this habit. Ideally, it should be a 30-day challenge. You won’t spend money on takeouts or visit restaurants during the period of 30 days. Basically, this challenge is an excellent way to practice not eating out. Ultimately, you can examine your progress and how well you executed the challenge.
Mind you, you might find yourself in situations (emergencies) that require you to eat out. However, that doesn’t mean you should end the challenge and lose interest in your goal. Even when you default due to unavoidable circumstances, pick up from where you left off. Learning how to stop eating out and save money won’t happen overnight. Consider it a gradual process.
Quick Summary: How To Stop Eating Out To Save Money
Now that you know the strategies to help you stop eating out, you should get to work as soon as possible. But always remember that you can’t pull this off if you aren’t motivated enough. Find ways to motivate yourself to stay on track. The no-eating challenge is a perfect example of one of the ways to stay motivated. Yours might not be 30 days. You could try a 14-day no-eating challenge instead.
Setting small goals and succeeding is what matters. Eventually, figuring out how to stop eating out won’t be a problem anymore. You can even go 6 months without eating out. It’s very possible.
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