My Story: Avoiding Take-Out Meals

contributed by DG

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We don't eat out much. First of all, it doesn't save time to tie up the whole family while driving to a restaurant, waiting for service, waiting for the bill, and driving home. But that consideration doesn't often convince us. Instead, I looked at our vulnerable times for eating out and worked to overcome those temptations. When are our vulnerable times?

- after church
- when we're headed into town (an hour's drive away)
- when I'm tired or sick
- on busy days

To curb the temptation after church, I plan quick meals before leaving for church. For example, I make sure that I have lunchmeat or leftovers on hand. Another great option is to start the slow cooker first thing in the morning!

When we're headed into town, which is an hour's drive away, we pack a picnic, pack snacks, or get snacks while shopping to munch on in the car on the way home.

When I'm tired or sick, a few freezer meals are a lifesaver. I had a sinus infection this past spring and there were several days when I just dumped a freezer meal into a casserole dish and popped it in the oven. Even commercial frozen dinners are good to have on hand for days like this.

On busy days, plan to have a slow cooker meal. This is great for the nights when the kids have to be picked up at 5 p.m. and then have to be at Scouts at 6:30 p.m.

Now, our eating out is planned. I like it better that way and so does my checkbook!

"My Story" is a regular feature of The Dollar Stretcher. If you have a story that could help save time or money, please send it by

Take the Next Step

  • The slow cooker is a great way to get dinner on the table on the busiest of days. Find some great frugal slow cooker recipes in the TDS recipe section.
  • Your groceries cost less when you get cash back! Checkout 51 can show you how!
  • We are always finding new ways to help you trim food costs. Visit our food & groceries section each week to get tips for keeping more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket.

Share your thoughts about this article with the editor.

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Food, gas and other prices keep rising while my family's income remains stagnant and I worry we are heading for debt trouble. Tell us: Yes, I think we are heading for debt trouble and could use some help! or No, we're not in debt trouble but I like finding new ways to help keep my family finances on track!

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