My month long moratorium on dining out has proven to be quite successful in this first month that it has been implemented. I made the decision that in order to quickly pay off our vacation credit card charges I would have to implement a few spending moratoriums. The first one is on dining out. So this past month we have not dined out once and I was pleasantly surprised when the VISA bill came in to see how little we spent based on months past and how much more I could pay off because of this. I am feeling very optimistic that we will be debt free going into this holiday season.
But the moratorium took some really extensive planning on my part. It is quite difficult at time with my hectic schedule to continue to ensure that all dinners are made at home and in a timely manner. But I am an engineer by trade and a career analyst and process supervisor in my job. Certainly I can create a "meals at home" process from all that training at work.
I sat in front of my computer and created a calendar for each month. In that calendar for each day I chose the meal that I was going to prepare also based on the schedule of activities. So for days where we have baseball or dance planned the meal will be a fairly easy one such as spaghetti, salad and rolls. Sundays are reserved for the nicer, bigger meals like lagasna or turkey and trimmings. I also managed to incorporate some of my kids favorites. How I accomplished this was I took a survey with all of my kids and asked them to tell me their top 5-6 meals they really like for me to cook. I simply filled in the calendar days with some of the favorite meals.
I am still playing this game and loving it so after I pull up my shopping lists, I grab my weekly calendar with meals filled in and go about writing up a shopping list of what I need for my meal plan.
I build in one easy day a week for those inevitable times when we literally are running in and out. On those days we have frozen pizza and salad and everyone is happy including mom.
I had my doubts at first because it does take a bit of planning ahead and sticking to the plan but so far it's working out nicely.