Find Cheaper Evening Meals Instead of Buying Take-Out

In recent months I have learnt ways to stop money from leaking out of our bank account by putting plugs in a few of the holes. One of those plugs is realising how much we were spending on take away food and coffee.

My goal this year has been to continue saving $200 every week which I did by reducing expenses and one of those ways was from getting out of the habit of buying convenience food all the time.

Just over a quarter of every household’s food bill is spent on takeaways or eating out at restaurants according to 2017 Statistics. $26 out of every $100 is spent on takeaways. Fish and chips are the most popular, followed by Indian and Pizza with an estimated average spend per order is $42.

It said that New Zealand is considered to be one of the fastest-growing takeaway markets in the world, not good news for our savings plans!

Willpower can be non-existent when your decision fatigued at the end of the day so you must find an alternative that will feed your family but not by getting pizza or a burger on your way home from work.

How to stop last-minute spending;

#1. Each week plan a few simple recipes that take little to no effort. Homemade burgers, cook your own wedges, fries or hotdogs, (my friend calls them Fake-Aways in her family). Purchase frozen pizza in your grocery shopping or ingredients to make your own sweet and sour pork or Asian meal of choice.

Plan ahead for the evenings when your tired and you know you’ll need help.

#2 Store leftovers in your fridge freezer as go-to last-minute meals for hungry people, make it a habit to save them. Even just one serving saved helps! As long as everyone is fed and you didn’t have to spend extra money, it won’t matter if one person is eating spaghetti while another is eating curry

Reheat them well, add some sour cream, sauces, or cheese and it’s good as new.

#3 Make do! Have whatever you can find in your cupboard. Make a decision to find something and refuse to go to the shops. If you think creatively I can guarantee you will find something in your pantry to make.

See the list below for some inspiration, search your pantry and get your family fed. It will save you a tonne if you get into the habit of not shooting to the shops every time you think you need to.

Here are a few ideas to start your list with:

  • Egg, poached, scrambled or fried. ‘When there’s an egg there’s a meal’
  • Pancakes, crepes, fruit muffins or scones. Think breakfast for dinner 🙂
  • Stir-fry all remaining vegetables in your refrigerator with oil/butter, garlic/herbs
  • Platter of chopped fruit and vegetables (carrot sticks, Vege-wedges, anything!)
  • Baked potato with tomatoes, onion, cheese, sour cream or leftover meat
  • Any pasta with a sprinkle of oil, cheese and herbs – I call it ‘Naked Pasta’