How To Cook More At Home So You Stop Eating Out

Sometimes the idea of having to cook more at home can be a very daunting task. Most people who eat take out often, think they would never have time to do it. 

Since I was married I have always made dinner with the exception of a few times we went out to eat. It was just normal for me to do it because that is what my mother did and her mother did. 

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Is it cheaper to eat out or cook at home?

I never realized how much people are willing to spend so they don’t have to cook until I met a friend of mine who constantly went out to eat. 

As I talked with her I was surprised how much they spent and they felt it was totally normal to do that. Lots of people spend $6-$10 a person every meal and think nothing of it!  

So let’s just say $6 per person per meal if you were going to eat out every meal of every day.  $6 a meal for 3 meals a day is $18 per day. Multiply that by 30 days in a month and it comes out to $540 a month per person just to eat out every meal!  If it is $8 a meal that $720 per month!!! 

I decided to add up how much we really were spending on food because of my cooking. We were spending less than $100 a person per month for all 3 meals a day and snacks! usually around $550 a month.

$780 is more per month than we spend on our entire family! That is a savings of That is a lot of money saved by cooking at home!

We save at least a couple hundred dollars a month because I plan what we were having and take the time to cook it. Sometimes that time is 15 minutes and other times it is an hour but I think it is overall worth the savings!

what foods are cheaper to make at home?

Depending on the place you live and how things grow there are many ways foods can be cheaper to make at home.  

When foods are in season they are always cheaper.  So it is always going to be cheaper to cook more at home with in-season produce.  Because prices of pre-prepared food stay the same year-round, the savings will fluctuate.  But here is a list of the foods that are cheaper to cook rather than buy. You will also find that they will often taste better too!

But if you are like me and need a list of foods that you want to cook at home that will save you money, here is a list of 10 items that are cheaper to make at home.

Beans 

Croutons

Granola and granola bars

Freezer burritos

Hummus

Pancake mix

Pasta sauce

Salad dressing 

Spice blends like taco seasoning or chicken seasoning

Whipped topping

Each of these items is easy to make and takes very little ingredients. We like to make most of these in bulk and have them for later. 

how can I motivate myself to cook more at home and make cooking easier?

To make cooking easier and keep you motivated, there is an easy way to plan and take the stress off yourself so you cook more at home.

1. Make a list of meals you love

This gives you a running list of go-to meals that are easy to cook.  You will be able to use this to plan off if to save time.

2. Meal plan

There are so many ways to meal plan.  

One way to make cooking easier is by planning a month at a time. This means you do a once a month planning session that gives you a month of planned meals to work with. This also gives you a break from having to worry about it.

If you are one to use your leftovers in other recipes, this way of planning is a great way of planning. 

Others may find it easier to do it for 1 week or 2 weeks. This is better if you are one to want to use leftovers all in 1 night.  It is much more flexible.

I always put 2 meals without meat in it each week so that we are having more fruits and vegetables than meat. This also saves us money since we use less meat.

When I make my plan I sit down with a calendar and Pinterest and start searching recipes for what I want to make. 

Then I open my recipe books and start looking through them and writing things down. We make it a point to try at least 3 new meals a month so we are building our list of meals to pick from so we don’t have the same things all the time.

3. Use your leftovers

When you are planning your meals, schedule at least 1 day a week of leftovers. You can arrange leftover days where you eat everything you have left and don’t have to cook that night. 

You can choose to use your leftovers in other recipes or to just have a leftover night where you 

 Even though we tend to eat our leftovers for lunches as well, we always seem to have a huge amount of them in the fridge, so a day of leftovers is a must so we get the most out of our grocery budget.

4. Make a grocery list and stick to it.

Once the plan is done you should get the grocery list together. This is super important to make the most of your grocery budget and to be sure you get what you need.

If you are the type to go grocery shopping once a week, you will just need to make a list of what you need for this week’s recipes.  Remember to always check your pantry and fridge for the item before you buy more.  

If you are the type to make a shopping trip every 2 weeks you can make the grocery list for the 2 weeks of planned dinners.  Be sure everything you need is on your list so you don’t make unneeded trips to the store.

Then go shopping. One really helpful tip to stay in budget is to shop with a calculator to commit yourself to your budget and not go over it by frivolously buying. 

It is really important you stick to your list.  Only get the items you really need. This will help you to have everything you need in your fridge that you need to cook without overwhelming you with other choices and options.  

how to get in the habit of cooking?

Once home it is time to get things out for dinner. This can be the hardest part because you don’t feel like you have time.  You don’t remember to cook. (oh, just me?)

This is a totally normal part of the transition to cooking more at home.  Don’t beat yourself up! Let me say that again because it is important. DON’T BEAT YOURSELF UP!

Just dust yourself off and try again.  It is also ok to not eat right at 5:00.  If you are a little behind don’t stress. There are helps worked into your meal plan that helps with you being too late and help keep you from spending money eating out.  

If you are really just too late to cook what you have planned, find something on your list that is faster and switch them around.  that is part of the joy of having a plan ahead of time.  

Some people worry about not feeling like whatever is planned for that night. That is a totally justifiable worry because we are human and you can’t always predict how you will feel about your food.

If that happens just go to the next day or another day in the plan and switch the meals. no worrying about sticking 100% to your plan.  plans are there to be a loose set up. They are not there to rule over us.

Cooking at home should be fun.  Using these tips will make it easy to cook more and home and help you to feel like it is easy!  Enjoy cooking and bon appetit!

More helpful money-saving advice:

produce in a grocery store stacked nicely on a wall. has a text overlay that says how to pick produce so you can save money over the picture.

How to shop for in-season produce so you save your family money

How To Cook From Scratch

Learn to cook from scratch

How to start a garden growing vegetables

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