Eating out can be expensive, especially when you have more than one kid. Not to mention, all moms know the score – taking kids out to restaurants can be a bit of a harrowing experience! It’s not the same as the days before we had children, and there is a myriad of different things which could get in the way of having a good time. I’m here to seed the idea on how to save money by bringing the out-to-eat experience home.
Save Money and Eat at Home by Making Home Feel Like Eating Out
Finances are clearly one of the biggest excuses for not going out to dinner. When you have a large family, the cost of lots of meals is pricey enough, but then there are all the other things on top. For example, making sure to tip your servers is so important, but it outprices many from eating out in the first place – after all, if you can’t afford to tip, you shouldn’t go to that establishment in the first place! It’s not only the costs, but practicalities, your children’s behavior, and kids being fussy in general can really spoil a nice family trip out.
So, what are your alternatives? Eating at home! Yes, it can be a bit daunting, but you can make special occasions every bit as “special” as when you go to your favorite restaurant, and it doesn’t take as much preparation as you might think.
What Should You Make?
Children are notoriously fussy, but the earlier you start them on different dishes, the more accustomed they’ll become. Of course, special occasions are not the best time to test the water. If it’s a birthday, young children should suffice with party foods – yep, that means all the stuff you normally say they can’t have!
When they’re older, treats come in different forms. Think of your favorite treat meals; what do they entail? One of the classic “going out to dinner treats” is, of course, steak. The key to getting it right is all in the preparation, as Promopony explains to feed our cravings for beef! Looking for value, knowing the best cooking methods for each cut, and obviously, prepping a dessert to keep everyone in the family happy, is absolutely essential. Seasoning and marinating are key, and you can even do them on the BBQ if the weather is nice.
Obviously, not everyone’s going to be a meat eater, and that’s okay, too. Vegetarianism and even veganism provide plenty of ways to get creative in the kitchen, which can be especially impressive on those big family occasions. Kids often like to experiment in their teens, too, so even if you’re not all of the herbivore persuasion, trying something new for one night can be an interesting challenge!
Setting The Scene
Of course, it’s not all about the food. When you go out to dinner, atmosphere comes into play as well – that’s often the appeal and why we go! Children’s birthdays are easy to decorate for, and you should consider inviting extended family members and a couple of their friends to join you, to make the evening seem busier and to keep the conversation more “fun”. Of course, this requires more food – so perhaps ask everyone to bring something along in your theme for “pot luck”. After all, you can’t eat steak without some kind of delicious potato accompaniment, salad, or veggies.
If the kids ordinarily do chores, this might be the perfect night to give them a free pass. After all, nobody wants to do the dishes on their special night – especially if it’s their birthday!
The most important thing to remember is that historically, eating has always been a bonding experience. It’s great to save money but coming together is important. It doesn’t matter if you overcook the meat or if you’re literally crying over spilled milk – as long as everyone’s had a good evening, it’s a success!