Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Sticker Shock

Our budget is tight. That means we hardly eat out, if at all. I make almost every meal, and sometimes I cheat and buy frozen pizzas or quickie foods, but it's cheaper than eating out. We got our tax refund and along with buying some long-desired, needed things around the house, I must admit, we have been eating out quite a bit. And feeling pretty sick about it, too. Not only are there 6 members in our family, but it looks like prices have gone up, not to mention the restuarant tax added onto the regular tax.


The kids loooooooove Chick-Fil-a. I think more for the play area than the actual food, but still, it's always a big hit when we go there and there's never any food left to take home. I remember it used to cost us just around $20 to eat there some time last year and two recent excursions there cost us nearly $40 both times!! A trip into town last night and a quick drive-thru pick-up at Wendy's yielded us 4 kiddie meals and 2 adult combo meals that cost $32!


I had to rescue Andrew from a locked-out truck at work when my sister and her family were here and I ran out just as it was time to make dinner after working outdoors most of the day on the swingset. After I gave Andrew the spare key, we decided to treat ourselves to dinner without the kids after he got off work. We love steak and cheese subs, and there was a Jerry's Subs in the mall, so we went there. The last time I ate there was before we moved up here nearly 6 years ago and even then, it was pricey, but not this much: $22 dollars for 2 meals and that's with the employee discount.


We went to Subway the night we picked up the swingset and for 4 footlongs, chips and drinks, it cost us a little over $23. By far the best deal for the most food and the most filling. I can split two footlongs between 4 kids and they will eat every last bit of it, and be full for several hours afterwards.


Andrew and I talked last night about the high cost of eating out and we both agreed it's just not

worth it. Needless to say, we will not be eating out anymore, except for our upcoming trip down to Florida and even then, we'll stick to Subway. At those prices, our tax refund won't last very long! We'll be packing our snacks like we always do on long trips, and maybe a picnic lunch as well, just to save on eating out at least one meal on the way down.


Fast food isn't really fast if it takes us more than 30 minutes to get there in the first place. I could have made our meal in that time and enjoyed it much more, use zero gas to get there, and hardly any trash compared to all those wrappers and bags and cheap-o kiddie meal toys that end up scattered on the floor, waiting to be stepped on.


We used to miss eating out at some of those places, liking the convience of it and hey-- I don't have to cook! But after so long of not going anywhere, we have come to find that we prefer to eat at home, whether it's home-cooked or quickie frozen pizza, it's still a home meal. Cheaper in cost maybe, but richer in every other way. -


barefoot gardener said...

I am so glad there is someone else out there who agrees that it just isn't worth it! As much as I hate cooking every. single. meal. I hate the idea of spending all that $$ to eat out even more.

When we drove out to CA, we packed a cooler with sandwich fixins, string cheese, etc. Mr. Barefoot required one meal/day to be eaten at a restaurant, but we saved big $$ munching out of the cooler for the rest of the time!

raychelle said...

seconded- and honestly home food, even though with my cooking, tastes better, period. fast food can never compete with their prices and their quality....

Cheyenne said...

We eat out maybe once a week and then it is either a sit-down diner or a fast food place. I don't like to eat out too often mainly because of the calories. Huge shock to my system, all those calories. And I am back on my calorie-counting diet again so there will be less eating out than before.

jenny said...

Barefoot-- when we used to take spontaneous all-day drives, we'd stop at a grocery store and pick up sandwich fixin's, drinks and chips then go have a picnic somewhere. Don't do that much with the gas prices these days. We'll definitely pack a cooler for our trip!

Raychelle-- meals are especially good when they come straight out of the garden! I sure can't wait until we're eating out of the garden again!

Cheyenne-- It's been awhile since we've been to a sit-down place. It's hard enough to keep 4 restless kids quiet for long periods, and waiting a half hour or more really stretches their limits. I can only imagine the bill from a sit-down place!! Nearly double the fast food bill? No thank you.

Juli said...

I totally agree! We have reduced our eating out habits! Subway is the cheapest of all, IMO!

I've gotten better at being creative and making meals that suits 4 people here @ home. I am also losing weight and maintaining it. I have been trying some recipes from Hungry Girl (a cookbook) and FYI some of the ingridents may be a tad bit expensive) I was stunned to see that spending a certain amt. of $$ to stretch over a 2 wk period works especially when you cook at home. I reminded my husband of that. I also want to plant my veggies and fruits asap so that we can save $$ as well. I try to buy in bulk but sometimes that can be hard esp. on a budget!