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Eat In and Save Cash!

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Eating while on vacation doesn't have to cost you an arm and a leg -- check out these secrets.

Family enjoying picnic

Recession Mama Michele Ashamalla: I like to travel -- and a lot of the costs associated with travel have gone down. Eating out with several children, however, one of whom is too old to order off the kids' menu and another that is going through a growth spurt, can get pricey.

The last time we went on vacation, we spent part of the time in a rental house. We arrived about dinnertime. We hadn't seen any restaurants in miles, so my husband went off in search of a grocery store. He came back with what I thought was a crazy amount of food, probably because he was shopping hungry, which can be dangerous. He spent about $68.00. Turns out, he actually chose pretty well, since those groceries made seven meals. Seven meals for five people, so each meal was less than $2.00 per person. It was a little extra effort to cook, but we were making some pretty basic stuff -- spaghetti and meatballs, grilling chicken or burgers, and steaming vegetables. The cleanup wasn't so bad either.

If we took a day trip, we packed a picnic, because I couldn't stand the idea of not using the food he had already bought. I knew we were saving money, but I didn't really realize how much until I got back and figured it out. If we'd had to eat out all those meals, I estimate we would have spent about $350, and definitely wouldn't have been as healthy. Next trip, I'm going to plan ahead and stop at the grocery store on the way there. Maybe I'll even bring some coupons!

next: How Can I Keep My Kid's Cholesterol Low?
3 comments so far | Post a comment now
Stacey-ann October 14, 2009, 8:12 AM

my family and i took a mini vacation a couple weeks ago we did the exact same thing…we stopped at the supermarket and did a little smart grocery shoppind and it turned out great!!..just make sure u book a room with a fridge and stove or at least a microwave!….but it deffinatley worked for us!

Heather October 14, 2009, 1:57 PM

Another tip if you are eating out is to share meals. My 9 year old doesn’t like to order off the kids menu anymore so him and I often share a meal. It saves money and means that we eat less calories while we are out.

Also, we have started a “only water” rule while we are out. It was hard at first, but everyone is used to it now. And no appetizers.

Many times for our family four we order two meals (one mostly for dad and sis and one for son and I) and only water. It really cuts down the cost.

ame i. October 15, 2009, 7:46 AM

Our daughters actually asked us to prepare meals in our room the last 2 times we were at Disney World. We did grab an occasional snack but mostly took our own in a small backpack. It made us feel better when we did eat at a couple of restaurants.

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