Author Topic: Too Much Spending  (Read 2490 times)


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Too Much Spending
« on: April 14, 2018, 02:16:17 PM »
Hello, I am new to the community and am currently trying to take steps towards decreasing my spending. I have since cancelled a few of my memberships and been more conscious of what I do spend my money on. Now I am trying to break a bad habit of ordering out. Does anyone have any recommendations besides the obvious eating in more?


  • Bristles
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Re: Too Much Spending
« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2018, 02:45:57 PM »
Trader Joe’s frozen food. Still easy to prepare quickly, and much more economical!  Be sure to get frozen veggies to go with it. We are particularly fond of the green beans.

Sarah Saverdink

  • Stubble
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    • The Saverdinks
Re: Too Much Spending
« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2018, 03:29:01 PM »
We occasionally purchase the pre-made 'toss in the oven' meals from Costco. Plus, the $5 rotisserie chickens are a great deal.


  • Pencil Stache
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Re: Too Much Spending
« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2018, 05:09:43 PM »
On weekends, make a couple of big meals for the week.  Right now, we have a sausage and lentil soup on the stove (two meals for two, at least), and a veggie-heavy bolognese sauce for lasagna.  We'll assemble the lasagna tomorrow and that will see us through for four meals for the two of us, taking us through to Thursday. 

Other weeks, we also make our own version of chana masala (chick peas in a curry sauce, with loads of veggies).  Or we make a big pot of chicken noodle soup.  Or, a big pot of stew.

Making two big meals at once is great because you can do all the washing and chopping at the same time.  The veg base for both meals today was onions, celery, carrots, red peppers, garlic.

(We are in the midst of an ice storm today - sleet, snow and freezing rain. Temps are -4 Celsius, feels like -11 C with the wind.  So we are still into the winter food, even though we live in Southwestern Ontario where we should be well into Spring, FFS.)

In the summer, we will grill up twice the amount of chicken we'd normally eat, and make either a pasta with chicken and veg the next day, or a chicken salad.

When you cook your own food, you have more control over what you're eating.  You control the fat and sodium, spices etc. and minimize or eliminate the nasty stuff (additives and preservatives you can't pronounce, antibiotics/pesticides if you buy organic, etc.).

If we ever make too much of something, we freeze it.

As an added bonus for motivation, the restaurants and take-out places are all overpriced and shite, so cooking at home is a no-brainer.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Too Much Spending
« Reply #4 on: April 15, 2018, 01:00:03 AM »
Get yourself some super basic meals that are more tempting than ordering out.

Pasta pesto is my go to meal. Prepping it takes me less time than finding a place/meal that I'd like to order and to get it delivered or pick it up. All I need to do is throw some pasta in the pan and grab some leaves from my basil plant to make pesto.

Getting excited about cooking options/certain dishes (preferably ones you can't get from restaurants) helps too. Another one of my favs is trying to imitate my favorite eating-out recipes (doing this with spring rolls and Thai curries).

Hula Hoop

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Re: Too Much Spending
« Reply #5 on: April 15, 2018, 02:08:33 AM »
We do eat out occasionally - maybe twice a month - but try to eat foods that we can't easily make at home when we go out and it's always a social experience with friends.  At home, we make super simple meals.  Tons of pasta (we live in Italy so this is the go to meal here).  One that's really easy is spaghetti plus buffalo mozzarella (or cow mozzarella if you can't get buffalo so long as it's the fresh mozzarella that comes in water), plus chopped cherry tomatoes and a bit of parsley.  You cook the spag while meanwhile chopping the tomatoes and mozzarella into 2 cm pieces.  Put tomatoes, mozzarella, chopped parsley and a generous amount of olive oil in a big heat proof bowl.  When the spaghetti is cooked you dump it over the mozzarella mixture and wait a few minutes for the mozzarella to melt.  Then serve.  Easy peasy.  We also try to cook double meals and freeze half.  For example, I made meatballs recently and froze half of them uncooked.  I also often make a big pot of soup on a Sunday which I then eat for lunch during the week - usually lentil or another kind of bean.  My pressure cooker is really handy for this.  In summer I usually eat salads fo lunch at work which takes about 3 minutes to assemble in the morning with bagged salad greens plus whatever we have in the fridge (leftover chicken, feta cheese, olives, tuna, walnuts, red onions, mozzarella, cucumbers, tomatoes etc.).  I have crackers and cheese, yoghurt, nuts and fruit at work to eat with my lunches as healthy snacks.

You just need to be somewhat organized.  Keep your cupboards stocked with things that are easy to make when you get home.  If the worst comes to the worst you just grab some fish sticks, frozen pizza or a TJ's frozen meal from the freezer.  Or fry an egg.  If you have more energy make a large batch of something and freeze half.

When we're not eating really easy stuff like pasta, we often try to replicate take out meals.  For example, we love Indian food so I often try to cook various Indian dhals and curries at home.


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Too Much Spending
« Reply #6 on: April 15, 2018, 08:25:12 AM »
Eating out can be a hindrance and a crutch for a healthy diet, but sometimes it can be an inspiration to try new things at home.   Me and my wife constantly go through phases where we eat out a lot, then we look at our bank statement and freak out a bit, and then give it up for a while.  I know this answer is not addressing the general question you asked, but it's just a small piece to add.  When I lived in San Diego, I tried lots of types of food I had never tried before including authentic Mexican, Korean, Vietnamese, and Ethiopian cuisine.  I really grew fond of Vietnamese food and me and my wife now regularly make it at home.  There are some recipes that are easier than others and although there is a little preparation involved, the results are gratifying and delicious in the end.  I don't know if you're the cooking type or not and I noticed some people recommended already prepared meals in the grocery store.  I totally get the appeal of that and not saying it's a bad idea at all, but just remember that frozen meals can get old very fast, and the more you open yourself up to cooking different types of cuisine and trying things you never thought of, the more inspired you will be to put in the work to get it done.  It does take patience, perseverance, and determination and you will mess things up and feel like you wasted money sometimes, but in the long run, you save money, get healthier, and learn a new skill.  It's totally worth it. 


  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
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Re: Too Much Spending
« Reply #7 on: April 15, 2018, 09:29:55 AM »
Now that we may finally be getting some warmer weather, something I find really helpful is picnics.  BYOB, frisbee and food to share or not its really up to your group of friends.  But this way you can control what you spend ahead of time and most of the time its better than eating out because your not rushing to help waiter churn a table for tips.

The other suggestion I have because some takeout is so hard to give up is work on stretching the meal.  Like eg: I just can't cook curry to taste like my fav resto so I'll buy my fav curry chicken.  There's so much more meat and sauce than I would normally feel comfortable eating in one meal.  So maybe I'll add more of my own rice to the dish and instead of just one meal I'll have two. Or I'm on diet anyways so I'll add a portion of just frozen veggies on the side to fill me up and use left over for another meal.  Some goes for adding a little more of your own protein and beans.


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Too Much Spending
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2018, 01:15:23 PM »
It's hard to go from takeout to scratch cooking everything all at once.  I would ask myself, Why do you order out?  The answer will help point you to what you have to do to replace delivery with eating in.

If it's a matter of convenience/lack of time/lack of planning/laziness, then buy groceries that are as quick and easy as takeout: frozen meals, pasta and bottled sauce, pre-chopped veggies and pre-seasoned meat, etc. Cheaper than takeout, and gets you in the groove towards cooking from scratch at home.

If it's because you like certain foods and don't know how to make them yourself, learn--videos, websites, cookbooks from the library, etc.

If it's just an unthinking habit, maybe line up a buddy to help you set new habits of menu planning and grocery shopping.

Good luck!


  • Handlebar Stache
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Re: Too Much Spending
« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2018, 02:27:01 PM »
I agree that you have to go slow at first if you don't cook a lot now. I'm doing an ongoing project where I take requests for takeout dishes that are your personal weakness and I try out different options for making it at home. Want to list your personal faves on the request list? I'll see if I can come up with some ideas.