Friday, April 10, 2009

Bring In The Dining Out! {tips that work}

Hi everybody! So, As I was preparing dinner for tonight, I figured I would take a quick moment to share a cost saving dining tip with all you fabulous moms! Many times if we all look over our budget, we will see that we can spend an insane amount of money on dining out. At least this is the case for me. Whether it is because of my lack of dinner planning or for the days that I just simply don't feel like cooking...the dining bill can get way out of hand. So quite some time ago, I started collecting take out menus from our favorite restaurants, cafes, and smoothie shops, and instead of going there and giving them my money, I figured out a way to make some of our favorite dishes from their menu. For instance, we love O'Charleys Chicken Salad which is served w/their signature honey mustard dressing. Yet instead of going out and spending about 20 bucks plus tip, I made my own version (pictured above), and purchased their homey mustard salad dressing from the market. Not only did this save us money tonight, but there are plenty of leftovers for tomorrows lunch!

Not only will this tip save you money, but by collecting to-go menus, you will collect a HUGE amount of dinner, appetizer, snack, beverage, breakfast, and dessert ideas for you and your family to enjoy!

Psst: Put all of your to-go menus in a cute little 3 ring binder and organize them with tabbed dividers according to categories. Also, In addition to collecting your to-go menus, you can also browse the restaurant menus that are available from lots of destinations online!


  1. I do the same thing! Being Vegetarian, it helps me keep variety with our meals.

  2. We decided that we were going to try and cook 90% of the food we eat for a myriad of reasons - cost being only one.

    I need to swipe some menus, too - that is a really great idea.

    We have one Caribbean restaurant we love and they make the BEST curry chicken. We go about once a month but even that is too much so I think I will try my hand at it this week.

    (it's jerise - I moved from blogger to Typepad). Still love all the work you're doing online.

  3. Great idea! I've been doing this for a few years but have recently realized I need to start using those recipes again. I usually don't grab the menus. I'm in the habit of finding copycat recipes online and printing them out. I keep mine in a binder (I read your tip on that on YMIB a couple years ago). It's really fun for me trying to recreate a great dish I had at a restaurant. And as you said, it saves money. Another reason I like doing this is I know exactly what is going into the food and I can adjust for things to make it more healthy.