Our family is on a money saving journey as we raise a bunch of kids on one income and attempt to pay off some debt. We are always on the lookout for creative ways to save money. That’s not to say that we are experts at frugality! I actually consider us to be students of thrift.
One of the first points that crops up when a family is striving to save money is food. Grocery bills. Dining out. Starbucks runs. Drive thrus.
And ordering pizza.
That’s one of my weaknesses. About once a month I have the kind of day where time gets away from me. Before I know it, it’s suppertime and the family is asking what there is to eat. On days like this, the temptation to order pizza is strong! And many times I don’t resist it very well.
When I do order pizza, I always feel like I’ve failed my money saving ways. That isn’t necessarily the case since we don’t use credit to pay and it doesn’t happen frequently. But I still wish I could stop ordering last minute pizza.
You need a plan! Let’s put one together.
Planning ahead is the number one way to save money.
Why do you order last minute pizza?
- Is it because you are mentally or physically too tired to stand in the kitchen?
- Is your kitchen such a mess that you can’t dirty up one more dish?
- Do you not have time to cook?
- Is there no food in the house?
Once you know why you are ordering the pizza, you can start to figure out how to solve that problem. Some options for next time…
Make some freezer meals to keep on hand.
These meals could be something that you plan out on a weekend. There are many resources for finding freezer meal ideas. One I especially enjoy is Life As Mom.
If it’s just a matter of being tired on that day, simply pull a meal from the freezer, bake it, and be done!
Plan to buy frozen foods
If you have a condition that makes spending this time in the kitchen too difficult, you might be better off keeping frozen pizzas or other items from the freezer section on hand. It’s probably not the kind of food you’d want to eat daily, but keeping some of these types of food on hand for tough days is better on the budget.
Keep it simple!
Obviously, you want to make an effort to keep your kitchen clean by keeping up with the daily dish load. However, during busy seasons of life, this can be easier said than done!
If you tend to order pizza when the kitchen is a mess, invest in some tossable foil pans. You can often find them on sale (especially during holiday seasons), and that will still save you money in the long run.
The cupboards are bare
If there is no food in the house, try to keep an emergency stash on hand for the next time. Then realize that it’s time to shop for more food once you are down to just your emergency stash of food, not when everything is gone!
Many times we say there is no food in the house when the truth is that there is a strange hodgepodge of foods. At food.com there is an option to plug in the ingredients that you have and they will find recipes for you from those ingredients. It might be time to get creative!
Get Ahead of the Craziness
I highly recommend that you take a bit of time on Sunday evening to look at your week ahead. If you have some busy days on your schedule, plan for a crock pot meal that day.
I can usually find some time in the morning or early part of the day to throw something in the crockpot. It’s such a relief to hit suppertime and only have to move the meal from the pot to the table and be done!
Be sure to keep this list of last minute dinner ideas on hand!
Quick and Easy (Non Frozen) Meals
If pizza ordering is a matter of not having much time or energy, but you have a little bit of both of those things, here are some ideas:
- spaghetti and sauce
- macaroni and cheese
- breakfast foods (cereal, toast, instant oatmeal)
- hot dogs
Budget For It
If getting pizza occasionally is something your family enjoys, there is no reason for you to feel guilty about it. Just be sure there is room for it in the budget and set that money aside for those nights. Don’t forget to look for coupons and deals before you order!
How do you avoid spending money on last minute foods like pizza?