I’ve noticed that in most choices in life, there’s a time vs. money component. Sometimes that cost is in time, sometimes it is in money.
Cooking is that way. It’s more time efficient to swing by a drive-through for fried chicken than to make the chicken at home along with the side dishes. It’s quicker to toss the boxes than to wash dishes. However, you can make the chicken dinner cheaper at home and you will likely have leftovers, which brings the cost down even more. (I’m completely leaving out the health part of the equation here. Cooking at home opens up all kinds of opportunities for avoiding additives, portion control, and using fresh ingredients.)
This is where the time and money balancing act pays off: when you have time to save money. In my own life, I have little time these days. I’m working full-time, commuting roughly two hours a day, and I take classes at night. However, my weekends aren’t so packed in terms of scheduling.
The solution? Cooking on the weekends. This weekend I’m baking a chicken, which, with all the trimmings, will make a nice Sunday dinner. Afterward I’ll cook a chicken pie and my husband will make his delicious chicken salad. Our typical pattern is to “scrounge” during the week, which means to eat whatever we have on hand, because after nine hours at the office and two hours in the car I don’t feel like cooking and his kitchen prowess is limited to baked beans, fruit salad, and the aforementioned chicken salad.
Some other ideas for cooking on the weekend which will save you money while leaving time for relaxation and rest:
*Homemade soup or chili.
*A roast or stew.
*A giant salad, to which you can add meats and cheeses for a chef salad, feta cheese and olives to make it a Greek salad, or leftover steak or grilled chicken. You can also just package up some of the basic salad with a sandwich to make a healthy lunch.
*A casserole of some sort.
These are some things that work nicely to have on hand for those weeks when life is way too busy and the time side of the equation is way too short. By shopping sales you can make sure that the money side of the equation makes sense, too.