Home MoneyBudget 3 Tips to Banish Takeout Forever

3 Tips to Banish Takeout Forever

by Diane

These tips will do wonders for your food budget!

Like all people with a frugal frame of mind, when it comes to my food budget, I endeavour to do these three things:

  • Cook all my meals from scratch,
  • Avoid fast food outlets and,
  • Save restaurants for special events.

I haven’t always succeeded in this endeavour. Sometimes life gets in the way of my frugal intentions, sometimes a bit of self-sabotage but more often than not it was the result of poor (or complete lack of) organization.

So, if you’re like I used to be and sometimes struggle to avoid the fast food outlets and other meals of convenience, here are three simple tips to banish takeout from your diet and food budget forever.

1. Clean Your Kitchen

Nothing puts the brakes on meal preparation at home more than a messy kitchen.

This is something I’ve battled over the years but the simple truth is: you need to clean as you cook.

Make sure every single pot and utensil is cleaned as you use them.

This is especially true if you work outside the home. Even if you think you’ll have time before you leave for work in the morning – you won’t, so don’t risk it.

If you come home to a disaster zone in your kitchen it’s guaranteed that you’ll opt for the easy solution – eating out – and your food budget will be the first casualty. Your waistline will be the second.

Prepared meals in the freezer provide a cheap and healthy alternative to takeout.

2. Make Your Own Freezer Meals

Not everyone is in the position to have all their meals prepped and ready to go in the freezer, not everyone has a freezer big enough for the job. But, you can put a few meals aside for emergencies.

Next time you’re cooking a family favorite, cook a double batch so you can put a full meal into the freezer. Ideally you need at least three emergency meal options available at any time.

Some weeks are more trying than others so be prepared for more than one evening meal emergency during the week. And remember, a meal emergency can be as simple as not having a clue what to cook for dinner!

Must Read: 21 Cheap & Easy Freezer Meals for a Frugal Budget

It’s easier to stop ordering takeout when you can make your favorite fast food at home!

3. Learn To Cook Your Favourite Fast Food

In my house, pizza is the takeaway of choice. Once upon a time we used to have ‘payday pizza’, so once a fortnight we’d spend about $20 on pizza from our local restaurant.

If we were to do that now, the pizza would cost closer to $30 – that’s a fair chunk out of our food budget!

After a great deal of trial and error with the recipe, I’ve perfected making my own pizza dough using my bread maker’s pizza dough setting (mine is an older version of this one).

Now, we make pizza at home. It’s usually just a simple tomato and cheese pizza with either chili flakes or Italian herbs sprinkled over the top, but it’s tasty and it’s cheap! We have the whole operation down to a fine art now and would never consider buying pizza again. Ever.

Related Post: How to Slash Your Grocery Bill by 50%

Do you love fried chicken, or hamburgers, or maybe you love Mexican food? If you often head to the drive-thru so you can indulge in your favorite treat, try making it at home rather than paying someone else to make it for you.

The added bonus is you know exactly what ingredients have been used so there are no hidden additives or other surprises, in your meal.

Get the Best Value for Your Food Budget

Follow these three simple steps and I can guarantee you’ll:

  • eat out less
  • stop buying convenience meals
  • and the drive-thru will be a thing of the past.

Both you and your food budget will be a lot healthier, too.

Do you have any tips or tricks to share for avoiding eating out? Why not share them in the comments?!

Last Updated: Feb 2020

Images: Canva

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Managing your Money – The framework for everything in life and business is good money management. Keep coming back to our site for more helpful tips, but if you are doing some shopping and want cash back, check out Rakuten (formerly eBates).

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Theda May 16, 2015 - 10:11 am

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Anne - Money Propeller February 25, 2015 - 4:32 am

Freezer meals have been my favourite thing this winter, they make life sooo much easier! I still have to remember to take them out the night before, but boy do they cut down on the ‘scrambling for food at the last minute’ situations, which usually lead to buying Subway.

Diane February 26, 2015 - 10:53 am

There’s nothing better than being able to grab something out of the freezer and have it ready to go when you get home. It all comes back to organisation. But, the effort is so worth it.

Stefanie @ The Broke and Beautiful Life February 25, 2015 - 1:07 am

Making my own sauces and dressings helps a lot. It makes the food so much more flavorful. Pinterest is also a great way to get inspired in the kitchen.

Diane February 26, 2015 - 10:54 am

Pinterest. Don’t you love it?! So much inspiration, so little time.

Petrish @ Debt Free Martini February 25, 2015 - 12:12 am

These three tips I agree can really help you stay away from takeout. What works for me is preparation which means cooking ahead on weekends and freezing the food for the week, or cooking quick meals with few ingredients. This takes away the excuse of eating out, and the food always taste so good when you cook it from scratch.

Diane February 26, 2015 - 10:55 am

And, it’s always so much better for you when you cook from scratch. No added nasties.

Hayley @ Disease Called Debt February 24, 2015 - 9:39 pm

I hardly ever buy takeout these days as like you, I tend to try and cook my favourite takeout meal (curry!) at home. Actually, my husband is more the chef in our household than I am. To be honest, we only have takeout a few times a year! That wasn’t always the case. Before we started tackling our debts, we’d have takeout once per week and eat out frequently too.

Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom February 24, 2015 - 1:41 pm

We get into fast food ruts now and again. We usually but a ban on in January and that gets us back into the habit of eating at home. Experimenting and learning to make our favourite meals at home has really helped. Our meal plan on the calendar ont he fridge helps too. No more “what’s for dinner?”

Diane February 24, 2015 - 1:53 pm

If only I was organised enough to have the menu on the fridge. I live in hope!

Julie @ HappinessSavouredHot February 24, 2015 - 6:32 am

Good points here! I am on a “no spend” year. Not acquiring stuff is rather easy, but not eating out or ordering food is harder. It takes planning. Right now my slow-cooker is making supper for me. 🙂

Diane February 24, 2015 - 11:09 am

Thanks! I’m in awe of your ‘no spend’ YEAR!

Holly@ClubThrifty February 24, 2015 - 12:29 am

We do a pretty decent job of not eating out too much. Our “restaurant” budget is wrapped into our grocery budget, so it we eat out more than once or twice in a month, that just means less money to spend at the store. I guess I would rather have plenty of food to cook with vs. eating out a few times!

Diane February 24, 2015 - 11:12 am

I’m like you, if it gets spent on eating out, there’s less for groceries and as I’m doing my best to cut the food budget to the bone… eating out has too big an impact and has to go!


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