One of the first changes we made when we participated in Financial Peace University was to cut back on how much we were eating out. I was shocked and embarrassed by the percentage of our monthly income that we were spending at restaurants and drive-throughs. Especially when we compared it to what we spent at the grocery store. The numbers were very lopsided. We have cut back a great deal since then, and usually eat out only once a week.
Eating out is still a big temptation for me, though, especially when it's an opportunity to get together with other moms and their kids. Sure, there are times when we meet friends for a spur-of-the-moment lunch. Many times, though, we have enough notice that we can pack a lunch and meet at the park instead.
I took this step a little further a few weeks ago, and packed the kids' lunches for a recent trip to Grandma's house. We were on a pretty strict schedule for this trip so we wouldn't miss Aunt L's graduation, but I just didn't want to spend the money on a drive-through, fast food meal. The kids were happy that I'd packed their lunches, and I got a few minutes back in my schedule since we didn't have to stop to pick up lunch. Grandma helped us refill our lunch boxes before we started our trip home - saving money once again! And, since we didn't need to stop at a restaurant on the way home, we did this instead. Saved money, went somewhere we'd never been before, and had a little extra quality time together. Win, win, win!