One way we’re saving money this year is cutting back how much we eat out. When I lived on my own in Nebraska and Virginia, I rarely ate out. I’m lucky in that I grew up with home-cooked meals almost every night. I have fond memories of my Mom in the kitchen serving up traditional Vietnamese dishes or more American-fusion meals. Eating out was a huge treat, reserved for celebrations, birthdays and on occasion, holidays (she would usually make a big feast at home). Even though my Mom worked full-time as a Psychology and Vietnamese language professor she would always make sure we had family dinners and when I attended school, my Dad would make my lunches.
Johnny grew up in a different household. Both of his parents owned their own business, so eating out was a regular thing. Now that I’ve moved back home, Johnny’s rubbed off on me a little bit. I will say, we usually eat out or order takeout for time sake. We’re both so busy with work, it can be hard to sacrifice the time we could spend working on our business to cook a meal. However, in an effort to really save every dollar we can this year as we build our first home together, we are cutting back! We got an air fryer for Christmas and it’s been so great! I’m going to share some of our favorite recipes.
How Many Times We’re Allowing Ourselves to Eat Out
For the rest of the year, we are hoping to cap how many times we eat out a month to seven. This also includes takeout, not just dining out in a restaurant. That leaves us roughly 77 meals we need to make ourselves. In addition to not eating out as much, we are also severely limiting the number of times we buy coffee (this is more for Johnny than me) or any type of drinks or snacks. It sounds hard, but if you go into the week with a plan, it’ll be easier. Figure out exactly what you want to eat/make. Compile the ingredients and go grocery shopping. Buy only those things. Don’t get sidetracked with excess snacks, fun treats or an extra bottle of wine.
I usually prefer to go grocery shopping one day and then start meal prepping the next day. However, if you have time to cook throughout the week, schedule what days you plan on doing that. Nowadays, Johnny and I will cook every other night or every two nights.
RECIPES I LOVE
When I lived on my own, I would spend Saturday planning out my meals for the next week. One way we’re saving money this year is going back to meal planning. Breakfast is always easy because it entails either steel-cut oats, a smoothie or soft-boiled eggs and toast. Lunch and dinner can get tricky. However, I’m the type of person who can eat the same dinner five or six times in a row and not get sick of it. For lunch, I love soups because you can eat them cold or hot.
When I lived in Virginia by myself, I worked nights, so I usually eat lunch at home while I’m prepping for work. I love soups because I can make a big pot and have enough for the entire week. Plus, it’s super easy because all I need to do is scoop two spoonfuls into a bowl and lunch is served. Another perk about most soups is how you can eat them cold or hot! Here are some of my favorites:
- Vegan Corn Chowder
- Ginger Garlic Noodle Soup With Bok Choy
- Coconut Curry Noodle Soup
- Summer White Corn & Blue Crab Chowder
- Vegan Chickpea Vegan Vegetable Chowder
I always ate dinner at work. The thing with being a reporter is you never know when or where you’ll be eating if you get to eat at all. I would have to make meals I could eat room temperature and did not need to heat up. When I walk into work, I immediately put my lunch in the fridge, but if I’m heading out in the field, I always bring it because the chances of me being able to come back and eat my lunch at my desk was slim. I almost always ate soba noodle salads because they hold well, don’t require any heating up and are healthy! Also, I recommend buying your soba noodles from an Asian grocery store to save money.
- Coconut Soba Noodle Bowls
- Cold Sesame Noodle (Vegan)
- Peanut Soba Noodle Salad
- Smoked Salmon Soba Noodle Salad
AIR FRYER RECIPES
We are still experimenting heavily with our air fryer. However, we treat it as a convection oven, because that’s what it really is. We can make delicious toast in a few minutes without needing to heat up our entire oven. We are still figuring out what all we can make with it but here are some recipes we are enjoying so far!