My husband and I are notorious take-out food eaters. Unfortunately, as we begin talking about children, we’re realizing that our budget is not going to be able to afford take-out food forever. Since we are loathe to give up our take-out food, we’ve begun strategizing ways to enjoy our pizza and Chinese without the extra costs. If take out food is your vice, this is the guide for you.
My husband loves pizza. When we first started dating, he was eating a pizza a day. I’ve worked with him and he now has more variety in his diet, but pizza is still his favorite food.
Luckily for me, he’s usually pretty happy with frozen pizza. We stick it in our toaster oven for twenty minutes and he has dinner in less time than it would take the delivery guy to get to our house.
If he’s feeling fancy (or I’m joining him for pizza), we can make our own. Making pizza at home is way easier than I would have ever given it credit for. You can buy pre-made dough at the grocery store in tons of great flavors. I’m partial to the garlic dough. Slap on a couple of spoonfuls of your favorite sauce (I like Alfredo), some cheese, and toppings, and throw it in the oven. The great thing about this is that you’re not only saving money, but you know exactly what’s going into your pizza, and you can get whatever whacky toppings you want without paying a ridiculous up-charge.
Chinese food is my vice. I’ve actually loved the eat at home challenge because it means that I can have Chinese food on nights my husband is eating pizza. We don’t have to worry about paying two delivery fees, and the leftovers of both of our foods go straight towards our lunches for the week.
Of course, Chinese food is useless without rice. Although you can cook rice in a pan, I’ve found our rice cooker invaluable. If you don’t already have a rice cooker, check out this list of rice cooker reviews. You will thank me later.
The frozen food section in the grocery store is a huge help with Chinese food as well. You can find frozen General Tso’s, Orange Chicken, and Beef and Broccoli pretty easily. While eating pre-packaged frozen food isn’t as healthy as making it yourself, I’ve found with Chinese food it’s the easiest thing to do, and it is way easier to swallow a five dollar purchase at the grocery store than a thirty dollar take-out bill.
My husband and I would pick up sub sandwiches on our way home from work when we were feeling like eating vegetables (not often, I’ll admit, but it happened sometimes). Now that we’re not eating out, we’ve been struggling to eat this at home. Lettuce goes bad in our fridge way too fast!
The trick with this food, I’ve learned, is shopping with multiple purposes in mind. If I buy a bag of rolls, I know that only two of them are being used for sandwiches, so I plan the rest of the rolls to go with my meals that week: I can make garlic bread out of them, or peanut butter sandwiches for lunch, or toast for breakfast. Instead of buying lettuce for our sub sandwiches I buy spinach because it can easily be tossed in pasta or cooked up with eggs. The great thing is that not only have I found a way to enjoy sub sandwiches, but I’m encouraging my creativity as a cook after the fact as well.
That’s it–three easy way to slim your take-out budget. I’ve found that with a little meal-planning ahead of time, it’s actually quicker to make take-out food at home than it would be to wait for delivery, and it’s definitely cheaper!