If you intend on eating out, why not use your money more wisely? Here are some ways you can eat cheaply while saving money.
Going out for dinner is one of my favourite past times. While I am sure a good home-made duck confit is ‘technically’ within the realms of possible at home, I cheerfully pay the bill at my local restaurant – the time, energy and preparation required to cook this little quack quack would take far too long.
Eating out really comes down to this. You don’t want to cook and you don’t want to clean and you believe someone can make it better than you can. However the main point really boils down to this – eating out is also to experience things you cannot make yourself at home easily.
For instance, the mystery of exquisitely crafted sushi or a bowl of Vietnamese Pho – all technically doable at home, but much better when served for you.
This brings me to a very valid point about spending money when eating out. Why do we go out and buy things that we can easily cook at home for cheaper? Wouldn’t it be better to use our money to buy items at a restaurant that are not easily done at home? That give our taste buds a new outlook?
This is why I have compiled a list of things I would never eat at a restaurant.
Have a read. It will save you money and force you to try new things and not just because you are missing an opportunity to try something new – but also because you are investing your money in something that is 75% more expensive than making at home.
Here are 5 meals you can just as easily make at home and save money doing so.
- Restaurant Price: $19- $21
- Ingredient Price Per Serve: Mince, passata, onion, pasta. $4- $6
- Saving Per Serve: $15 approx
Spag bol is a household staple and for good reason- it’s universally liked and can be used in any variety of dishes. It’s especially appealing as there is nothing better than homemade spaghetti bolognese, and you can tailor it to exactly as you like it. Nothing is more simple than frying up an onion, browning the mince and pouring in the passata (the Italian name for Tomato Puree or Tomato paste), allowing the bolognese sauce to cook for 3-4 hours. Optional extras include bacon or pancetta for extra flavour, or chilli flakes to spice it up a little. Leftovers can be used on bread or in lasagna.
Vegetarian Fajitas and Burritos
- Restaurant Price: Depending on where, but $15- $25
- Ingredient Price Per Serve: Beans, veggies, avocado, sour cream, passata, flour. $4.
- Saving Per Serve: $11- $21
Mexican food is easy, everyone can assemble it themselves and it’s generally popular with adults and kids alike. Yet, if we’re buying Mexican at a restaurant, the dollars can stack up, in Australia at least. Even in the supermarket, pre-packaged Mexican kits, wraps, salsas and refried beans can dent the budget. Keep it simple. Cook your beans in passata and whatever spices you love, especially chilli. Cut up some garlic, and mash it with the avocado. You might buy pre-packaged wraps, but save yourself even more money by mixing flour, water and oil to make your own burrito dough. A cheap and delicious homemade equivalent.
- Restaurant Price: $26
- Ingredient Price Per Serve: Fillet of salmon, limes or maple syrup, beans. $10
- Saving Per Serve: $16
Salmon is often the star of a menu, and generally it might have something to do with the fact that a lot of us are shy of cooking it. But we’re handing over an arm and a leg for that beautiful flavour, and there’s no need to. A salmon fillet will cost you around $8, and there are a variety of ways to cook it. Grill it with slices of fresh lime and coated in lime marmalade, or try it baked with maple syrup and orange juice.
- Restaurant Price: $10- 15
- Ingredient Price Per Serve: Potatoes, tomatoes, parsnip, carrot, celery, pasta. $3-5
- Saving Per Serve: $7- $10
It’s cold out there, and nothing cures the cold like soup. Why not pop by the supermarket and save yourself the additional expense of a trip to the local restaurant by making your own? It’s really whatever you feel like, whatever veggies you like best, chuck it all in, simmer it for 40 minutes and you’ve got yourself a winner.
- Restaurant Price: $7- 10
- Ingredient Price Per Serve: Flour, butter, jam, cream. $1- 3
- Saving Per Serve: $6- $7
Scones are a delightful way to spend the afternoon, and once you realise how little money needs to be spent, you’ll resent the exorbitant rates of a devonshire tea and start saving money. The trick is to use the back of a knife to cut the butter into the flour- too much warmth from your hands and you can lose that lovely airiness, so beloved in a good scone.