I discovered an unexpected benefit to reducing the amount of money I spent eating out: I lost weight and felt better. Processed foods are that bad for you. I used to buy a Poptart in the mornings, run to a fast food place for lunch, and go out to dinner 3-5 times a week (usually for chicken or pasta). So, slowly cut back. I started with replacing my morning Poptarts with 2 slices of whole wheat bread topped with organic strawberry jam. Total savings over 30 days from just that one thing? About $25. And did you know that organic strawberry jam tastes WAY better?
Next, I cut out one restaurant/fast food meal per day. (I know, I ate out a LOT.) Total savings there equaled about $200. (I’m not a big eater either — for lunch I usually ordered a sandwich and a glass of water; dinner was typically an entree & a glass of water with an appetizer now and then.) Now, I’m down to eating out a few times a week — and at least one of those meals is a to-go meal. I cut down snacks the same way, except that I started by banning anything that came from a vending machine. Keep in mind, I still eat as much as I used to – I just make the food myself instead and eat mainly fruit & real ice cream for snacks.
The more I ate “natural” foods (way closer to the whole than processed at any rate) the better I felt. I now try to choose foods with as few ingredients as possible! For the most part, I like it to be possible for a person to harvest the ingredients. (Who could harvest partially hydrogenated anything?) It also became a tiny bit easier to eat out less, because after I cut back, I started to notice that I frequently felt sick after getting fast food. Not throwing up sick or anything, but just…yucky. People also began asking me if I’d lost weight, and I was surprised to see that I had! So that’s my story of how I lost weight by saving money.