Three Key Ways to Motivate Yourself to Cook at Home

Sandwiches with salami and smoked salmonCooking at home always seems like a good idea when you’re charting out your monthly budget. You know that cooking at home is cheaper than eating out, and you probably even like the idea of sitting down to a family meal together. The problem comes into play when it’s 6 PM, and you haven’t even started dinner yet. How do you resist that temptation to just gather everyone up and shuttle them off to McDonald’s or Applebee’s?

Have A Plan
The first key to keeping up your motivation to cook at home is to have a plan. The worst question to be stuck with on your way home from work is “What am I going to fix for dinner?” You can avoid this dilemma by creating a menu plan for the entire week all at once. Create your plan on Sunday (or whatever works for your family’s schedule). Then, shop for the entire plan. Now, it will be easier for you to go home and cook dinner than it is to start all over again and decide where you’ll go out to eat.

Prep In The Morning
The next key to motivating yourself to cook at home is to prep as much of your dinner as you can in the morning before you leave for work. No one wants to work eight hours and then come home to prepare a meal that will take two hours to cook. However, if you know you already put that casserole together and that all you have to do is pop it into the oven, cooking dinner at home seems much more hassle-free.

Remove the Temptation
Finally, one other key to staying motivated to cook at home is to remove the temptation to spend extra money on eating out. Once you decide what your allowance for food is for that week, place that amount of cash into an envelope. Take that envelope with you and use that money when you purchase your week’s groceries. Now, whenever you’re stricken with the temptation to eat out that week you can simply look into the envelope and see if there’s enough money to eat out there. If there’s not, you know you can’t eat out.

Often, many people choose to eat out because it just seems so much easier than cooking at home. However, if you plan and prepare you meals, you can remove, or at least minimize, a lot of the obstacles to cooking at home. In no time at all, you’ll wonder why you ever preferred to eat out.

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Start Preparing Financially Now For Christmas

Start Preparing Financially For Christmas Now!Christmas is a time of celebration. It is also a time for expenses. You know that you are going to give gifts to your family, your friends and your coworkers. You may also have to prepare a special dinner or a party. It can put a strain on your budget if you do not prepare for it. Fortunately, there are several ways you can prepare for these expenses now.

Go Over Last Year’s Christmas Expenses
In order to have an idea of what your expenditures were last year, take another look at your bills last Christmas. What items did you buy? Include everything associated with it – cards, clothes, gifts, decorations, food, etc.

Determine Whether You Spent Appropriately or Not
Sometimes, you are so engaged in the activities of the Christmas season that you open your purse and pull out your money without thinking. Unfortunately, this is not a good habit, and can even put you in debt. After reviewing what your expenses are, determine whether such expenses are really necessary.

Prepare Your Budget
You now have the important items you bought last year, together with their costs. Be mindful that what was true last year may not be true this year; as there is annual inflation. What was valuable last year may also have lost its value this year. Take into account probable changes, then list them and their costs. Include them in your Christmas budget. It is better to overestimate than to underestimate.

Share the Budget With the Family
Budgeting is a family affair. Even a well-prepared, well-intentioned budget can fail if no one cooperates. Inform the family about the budget and make sure they understand, so that they don’t make any unnecessary purchases when trying to save money.

Start Saving
There are simple ways to minimize expenses, and saving a little each month can really add up when the holidays come around. Several examples are skipping that dessert course while eating out, packing lunches for the kids, and renting a DVD instead of going to the theater.

Keep Records
To keep track of expenses, write them down. This allows you to identify losses and inappropriate spending. In addition, list the names of the persons whom you will be giving gifts and how much you will spend. If the budget becomes too tight, change the amount you have allotted for the gift.

Determine Whether You Will Pay Cash or Credit
Paying with cash gives you the advantage of not going over your budget; but credit cards can provide you discounts and paper trails. Decide what you want to use and stick to one credit card if you go for credit. Review your transactions so that you do not go over the limit. Always pay on time.

Be at Ease with Your Spending Plans
Some people are stressed by financial planning because of the limitations imposed on their spending. This should not be the case. The budget gives you a spending plan so that you will not be overwhelmed during the Christmas season. By sticking to your budget and being comfortable with it, you will be able to celebrate Christmas without worrying about overspending and debts.

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