#6: Eat at home.
This is a tough one for me. I was raised in a family who ate out at least once a week (twice or three times most weeks). Between brunch after church, Peter Piper Pizza Wednesdays and Pizza Hut Fridays, we ate out a lot. The Farmer's family? Did not.
When we moved to Des Moines (only one month after our wedding), eating out seemed like the thing to do. 1) We wanted to explore our new city! Trying new restaurants seemed like a fabulous idea. and 2) We didn't know anyone. Going out to eat gave us the opportunity to be around other people! Even if we didn't know them. But we quickly realized that with neither of us having a job (we didn't get them until after we moved), eating out was not a good idea. So we curbed the habit. Sort of.
I like to eat out (ask Gammie, Auntie Rosita and Auntie Kannon, they do too). I can't help it. If I had it my way, we'd order pizza every night. Just kidding. But it's what's always in the back of my head on Friday nights (so I usually end up making my own). I suppose it's from eating out on the weekends during childhood, but I know it's neither healthy nor good for the wallet.
So want to save money and your health? Stop eating out. This goes along with the fast food post, but eating at home lets you see what's going in your meals (eating at home doesn't mean ordering take out!) and you spend a lot less than you would at a restaurant. I figured out that I can make two large calzones and a small pizza (from one recipe of dough) for less than $5. If we ordered pizza it'd be close to $20 and there's just the two of us! I can't imagine what large families are spending on eating out.
Restaurants usually use way more sodium than you would at home and many meals are full of fat and lacking good foods like whole grains and veggies!
Eat at home and eat together. Your kids will thank you for it (maybe not today, but they will). So my challenge for you is to keep eating out for special occasions or social outing with friends. In a perfect world, I'd like to eat out once a month. So I hope you'll strive with me, to eat out less and eat at home as a family more. It'll be hard, but it'll be worth it.