We’re ten days into the new year, and nearly forty days into the journey of spending less on take out – and more on experiences. That means it’s time for a check in.
Over the last four years, there was the same resolution, every year – spend less on take out, eat more at home. This year, I think, is the first year that we really started to put it into practice and stopped justifying the ‘busy-ness’ of life to grab take out on the way to dropping a kid off at dodgeball, heading out for an evening meeting or dropped off the kids at Grandma’s while we attend an event.
It’s been ten days since the start of 2017, and we’ve had take out out only twice. One time, we used a gift card that we received for Christmas, and the second time, grabbing the kids a couple of Happy Meals to run off winter energy at the local McDonalds play place, while we grabbed stuff on the way home to make burrito bowls, for ourselves.
The amount of money that we’ve spent on take-out and restaurants in the past is kind of horrifying when I tallied it up, like a couple of plane tickets a month horrifying – a horrible habit that took years for it to finally sink in and realise just what else we could be doing with the money that we’re spending on easy dinners, quick work lunches, and lattes.
It’s one of those things that every month, every year, we’ve always said that we’ve needed to improve upon. One of those things that we’ve always gone half-way on, and until now – haven’t been able to succeed in doing.
Trips. Travel. Experiences. Adventures. Instead of take-out dinners, and avoiding cooking.
We’re both on board now, Jamie and I. We cooked three meals together this week, and it got me nostalgic, to when we first moved in together, cooking together, creating together, eating together.
Here are some of the easy ways that we’re getting dinner on the table –
Chefs Plate | All the ingredients that you need for dinner, delivered to your doorstep. It’s the easiest way to make sure you’ve got all the ingredients, and keeps us on track for those nights that we haven’t run to the grocery store. We tend to eat dinner later than the kids, and so we get two of the meals for two, delivered weekly, to try something new and inspire us to recreate the recipe later, but also so we don’t run out for take out after the kids have eaten. Get two free plates from Chefs Plate – try it yourself.
M&M Food Market | Frozen food. Easy spinach dip, meatballs for the kids, stuffed shrimp, chicken wings to go with a bagged salad on those Saturdays when we would usually resort to take out – there are many, many options you can choose from at the newly designed M&M Food Market. Having easy options in the freezer means we can throw something together with a salad, quicker than we could actually drive to pick up take out.
The concept of having something ‘easy’ combined with something home-made isn’t new to us, it’s been one that I’ve been relying on for dinner since Olivia was a baby – but it’s just one that we need to get back to.
City Market | Have you been to the new Loblaw’s City Market downtown? There’s an incredible variety of food that’s already prepared for you to bring home. Some of my favourites are the $29.99 curry meal, and the kids are obsessed with the mac and cheese calzone. It’s in the Brewery District, and makes me yearn for something like that to come to Sherwood Park.
Putting a price tag on it | Tally up the money you’re spending on take out and put a number on it. For me, the tipping point was when I realized that a month of take out could have been a portion of an all-inclusive vacation with the kids. Now, that’s worth spending a bit more time in the kitchen, right?
It’s been more than a month, and we’ve gotten into a habit of cooking more at home and even trying a few new recipes (inspired by Chefs Plate) – I’m pretty excited to see that travel fund boosted in 2017 thanks to more family dinners around the table.