Yesterday, I wrote about Marriage Tension and Money, which was inspired this graphic in this month's Money Magazine (click for larger version):
The real reason that graphic got my attention was the bottom line that 28% of couples frequently argue about "What's for dinner?" My wife and I don't argue about it, but for years that would be the question come around 2PM. The problem was that at that point, we didn't have meat defrosted. I greatly prefer to defrost in the fridge overnight rather than microwave or hot water... it tastes much better. Not only that, but we were limited to the sides that we had available.
What's worse? Sometimes we'd just throw up our hands and go out to eat. It was the easy fallback option. However, even with these tips to save money at restaurants, avoiding the restaurant in the first place is the best way to save money.
When our second child was born, I decided that enough was enough. Managing two children under 16 months was going to be a lot of work, dinner didn't have to be. I blocked off some time with the wife and we put together a list of a dozen meals that we can make easily. The 3 or 4 slow cooker meals are ideal since I can make them whenever I have time and they are ready to eat for hours. I can always use more slow cooker recipes, so hit me up in the comments with your favorite.
After we had all the meal ideas, I did something crazy. I scheduled them in Google Calendar (my wife can edit the calendar and schedule meals too.) I can tell you what I'm having for dinner two weeks from now... sausage and peppers. I can tell you that the night before is left-over night. We scheduled a weekly date night where we go to a restaurant by choice, not default. We can plan our date night for a Tuesday when restaurants have special deals. Getting those deals and not having to resort to going out for lack of planning saves us big money.
I admit that my wife thought this was crazy at first. By the third day of scheduled meals she said that it was one of the smarter things we've ever done.
The meals aren't set in stone. Nothing prevents me from moving a meal to another day if we get a last minute dinner invitation. Best of all, there's never a conversation about "What's for Dinner?"
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