The Problem: I was at a meeting recently where I met a lawyer in her early thirties who had a husband (also a lawyer) and two children, ages five and two. She lived in Kentucky, and was complaining about the fact that Kentucky restaurants didn’t have many, if any, vegetarian entrees on the menu (she was a vegetarian). I commented that she must rarely go out to restaurants for that reason, and her reply was, “No, actually, we go eat out twice a week, and the other days we get take-out. We never cook at home.”
I was only partially astounded by this answer, because a couple years ago my husband and I would get take-out almost as frequently. Nonetheless, now that I’ve committed to a frugal lifestyle, it was shocking to think of the amount of money wasted by her family on take-out food (not to mention that as a vegetarian she mainly eats side dishes!). Since she and her husband are both lawyers, they make a good income, but they also work long hours. I wince to think of all the time she has to spend away from her children, in order to earn money that just gets wasted on take-out food. It got me thinking more about how even small frugal steps can be beneficial for people. There are three things I mentioned to her that she could do to substantially reduce her food spending, that are not too time consuming (considering how much she works).
- Pick up pre-assembled, uncooked meals (see, for instance, this business that serves my area). (approximate savings= $150/month)
- Make pizza dough once a month (recipe here), split into four dough balls, freeze them, and then use them to make a pizza at home (recipe here) once a week. (approximate savings = $50/month)
- Make macaroni & cheese for the family once a week (recipe here). (approximate savings= $120/month)
The Daily Citron contains tips for frugal living, money management practices, ideas for living “green,” thoughts on parenting, and recipes that tie it all together.