Eating out is getting really, really expensive. Before COVID I know we ate out a lot. Probably mostly takeout and fast food being busy. But I can say with a certainty we were eating out 6-7 times a week. We typically ate out Friday nights, Saturday/Sunday Lunches, and then maybe Saturday dinner, then 1-2 dinner during the week. This was not occassionally but with regularity.
Then Covid hit and we like everyone else went to zero/cold turkey. It was like a special diet. Not only did I not get to eat out but I also had to cook. Of course I found my groove again and began cooking from scratch. During the time pre-covid I pseudo cooked. I heated pre-made costo or trader joe's meals. Something easy and fast and cheaper than takeout. But definitely not from scratch.
But with covid, being home, going nowhere? Cooking from scratch became more of a hobby. Something to do out when I had so much time. It also made eating at home more fun. We were going months without eating out. Definitely not eating in restaurants, maybe occasional pizza. Then Covid began easing and we've been getting busier. I'd say we definitely were going to start eating out more last year but then I noticed probably middle of last year that food prices were getting really expensive. Some food places raised prices faster than others.
But really I would say in the last 6 months it's really hit home. I don't know why but I guess since school started I consciously have not eaten out. We aren't afraid of covid, and our income hasn't changed but our perspective has. Now I see my $100 eating out bill and think "geez i can do better." And sometimes I can.
Eating out is definitely a treat and something we savor more. As a family we savor it and really think about what we want and what is a bit harder for me to make. Covid brought back my cooking and DH's cooking skills. Unfortunately i'm in a rut again making the same things over and over. But the number of recipes has broaden. My kids would agree.
DH and I when we met agreed we should cook. So he came up with this idea of 10 easy meals that we would learn to do fast and leave always on tap. We did that, mastered it, and always cooked. We brown bagged our lunches easily over 15 years together even with kids. We always made a concerted effort to make lunches during the week. But before covid we were "boring". We ate a lot of the same meals over and over.
But now with food prices rising, I noticed I also cook a lot of the same things because I am shopping what's on sale and that sort of drives the menu. Ground beef on sale? Burgers, shepards pie, meatloaf, salisbury steak, indian curry, loco moco, bolognese. Chicken is curries, fried, breaded, baked. So it really depends on what is on.
But eating out? Well we ate out tonight and it was okay. Convienent and super close to home. But maybe a 7 out of 10. We went out to eat on Saturday since we went to see a movie, quick burgers by the theater. That was better than tonight. This weekend? Right now no plans since we ate out this week and were invited over for Easter brunch to someone's house. Let's see if we can make it through the weekend.
I will admit I do buy still some costco instant fast meals like ravioli. It really has been saving me recently with not cooking and being extra busy. I bought costco lasagna and might make that this weekend.
Have you cut back on eating out? Prices? Habit? Not enjoying it? What changed? For us it really is noticing the prices.