Let’s be honest, after a long day of work, the last thing anyone wants to do is go home and cook dinner. But unfortunately, our current age has made it all too easy to go down the street to a restaurant or get takeout delivered to the door.

The downfall comes with the cost of eating out and opting for less nutritious choices. With that being said, it’s no wonder that there are many benefits to cooking and eating at home.

Eating out can be an addictive habit that is difficult to break. Let’s discuss five ways to break this unhealthy habit for the sake of your health and your wallet.

1. Make a Commitment

As with anything, you need to commit to it if you are going to follow through with it.

  • Plan how you want to cut your eating out. This might look like planning how many times a week you can afford to eat out. For example, maybe you decide that you will cook at home on weekdays and opt for takeout dinners on weekends.
  • Alternatively, you may determine how much money will be set aside for eating out each month and stick to that budget.

As with anything, you need to make a plan. Consider planning out meals for the week to cook at home so that you are less tempted to order out.

You could also block out what days you can eat out on the calendar according to your budget.

2. Shop Frequently and Effectively

When it comes to grocery shopping, many items will last longer and be more cost-effective than meals eaten out.

Make a plan before you start planning your meals and determining needed staples. You can also consider buying bulk items that can be frozen for later.

If you tend not to use grocery items such as produce and milk, consider shopping more often in smaller quantities. Yes, you may need to make more frequent trips to the store, but you’ll end up wasting less food and spending less money in the long run.

3. Master Meal Preparation

We opt for takeout most of the time because it’s a more convenient option than cooking at home.  However, if meals are already prepared, it reduces the chance that you will choose the more accessible yet more expensive option.

You can do this by deeming one day each week as a meal preparation day. One option is choosing to prepare lunches, making you less likely to buy your lunches, which can add up in cost rather quickly.

Another choice is opting to prepare some dinners for the week for a simple meal that you do not even have to think about. All in all, preparing meals ahead of time will save you both time and money. Furthermore, it reduces the chance for the impulse decision of eating out.

4. Choose Wisely

Trying to curb a habit of eating out does not mean that you must stop eating out altogether. Eating out can still be enjoyed in moderation, as with anything. Here are some things to keep in mind:

  1. The key is to choose wisely when you are eating out (find restaurants that offer value for what you spend like Chipotle or a local place that is cost-effective).
  2. You can also opt to skip drinks or appetizers to lower the bill.
  3. Additionally, can also consider getting a meal that will provide leftovers so that you are getting two meals for the price of one.

5. Make Small Steps

Overall, it is crucial to take small steps to curb the habit of eating out. If you are currently eating out four days a week, it’s challenging to go down to one day a week. However, even small steps such as preparing one or two meals a week and choosing one weekday to eat out are great starts.

As your habits begin to change, you can increase these to align with your cooking goals at home and your financial goals.

Image by [Bobex-73] via [Shutterstock.com].