Simple Ways to Save Money When Eating Out

Ways to Save While Eating Out

Eating out is a big part of a lot of our budgets. With more hours spent at work, school, and daily activities, sometimes we don’t have time to cook a meal at home. Whether it’s a treat, or for necessity, there are simple ways to save money while eating out. From fast food joints to sit down five-star restaurants, there are corners that can be cut to save you a ton of money of your lifetime. Let’s check them out!

Look for Coupons

The first and most obvious ways are to look for coupons before you head out for your meal. You can find a lot of coupons all over the internet for just about every single restaurant. A lot of restaurants also send out coupons through the mail. Next time you are at your favorite eatery ask if they have a mailing list or email subscription that you opt in to. They’ll send promotional prices to your email or post box that you can use the next time you go there!

Water not Soda

Skip the carbonated drink and go for all natural water. Most restaurants charge way too much money for drinks. The most common price I have seen is somewhere around $3 PER DRINK. That adds up quick if you have a family of five out to dinner. Not to mention the health benefits that water has over soda, but this post isn’t about health habits!

Get Appetizers as Meals

A lot of restaurants have fairly large appetizers. Easily enough food for one or even two people. They are almost always cheaper than meals as well. If you can find an appetizer that you like, opt for that instead. You could even add on a cheap side of something else just to have a more balanced meal.

Watch for Deals

Restaurants run deals almost every week. Whether it’s half priced appetizers on Fridays, or “kids eat free Wednesday”. Be on the look out for deals like these for maximum money saving. There are some places that even do two for one deals.

Eating out doesn’t have to eat your bank account. There are many simple ways to save money when eating out. If you plan the meal the right way you can save hundreds of dollars every single year! What are some of your favorite ways to save money when eating out? Have you ever used any of these methods?

Something Old is New Again and Honey Nut Cheerios Hearty Oat Crunch and 25 FPC Coupons


General Mills asked a number of us bloggers to share something we have remade, or found a new use for. If you have followed Common Cents Mom long enough you know I am a thrift store and garage sale hound and I really do hate to throw things out.

This has definitely been passed on to my daughter, she has been remaking things since she was young. Even in grade 1 she was already creating toy towns out of recycled goods. Every time there are recycled good in our house she finds a way to use them, often using them to create houses for her stuffed animals.

stuffy house



When it comes General Mills they have done a much finer job in revamping an old cereal and making it new. This week General Mills is launching several new products and well the Honey Nut Cheerios Crunch is a wonderful new addition to their extensive line.



General Mills sent my family a box to let us try the new cereal, and well the box is empty and the cereal has been declared a winner, especially by my teen. Now guess what 25 of my readers can get a box for themselves to try! How is that for a freebie? Simply fill out the link and a box will be on the way. While you are here you could always let me know what are your favorite things to remake.

Don’t get a box here, don’t worry you can get a find out more about coupons on the Life Made Delicious Facebook Page.

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Planning an Eid Menu

Ramadan is quickly coming to a close and it is time to start thinking about Eid. We are busy looking at recipes and deciding what we want to cook. For Muslims, this is like a Christian’s Christmas dinner, it really is a special meal. So we want to serve a wonderful meal that comes from around the world.


We know this Tandoori Chicken Recipe will be part of the meal.  I found this great recipe on Allrecipes.

We also want to do a good Biryani. I found this recipe Mughlai Vegetable Biryani Recipe on Veggie Belly and it looks so good,

then because I love Morocco so much I had to find a recipe from there as well. I found Lamb Tajine with Peas and Potatoes over at one of my favorite blogs MarocMama.

in addition to these I will be making a nice salad and for dessert we will pick up fresh strawberries and do a chocolate fondue with them, along with some cookies that I will get from my local bakery.

What will you be serving for Eid at your house? That is if you celebrate Eid.

My Relationship to Food: Hate, Love and Need.

groceries {notes} © by striatic

Today is Blog Action Day and the theme is food. While the need for food is an issue for so many right now it got me thinking of my of my own need for food.  I realize I have had a love, hate relationship with food since I was young.

Food became my solace, my escape when I was young. Food was my constant companion, and friend when it seemed that the world had conspired against me. I never had bulimia,or anything else that I have seen happen as so many grapple with their relationship to food. What woman hasn’t reached for that bowl of ice cream, that piece of chocolate, or that glass of whatever when they are seeking comfort and solace? I know I have.As a young woman I even hid food, so it would be there when I needed it.

As a mother another sort of relationship began with food, I wanted to be the example but after many years of the processed comfort food, it was difficult to give up my addiction to processed junk. I began a slow arduous journey that was extremely difficult, as I was living in Canadian poverty. When you are poor it is difficult to eat well, especially if you have to visit food banks, and I did. It is even harder to eat healthy when all you have in the cupboards is processed junk. For several years I became a sporadic eater, making sure my daughter was fed and me eating whatever was leftover. Some days I ate very little especially towards the end of the month. Then I had a lightbulb moment and I learned to get creative with the little income I had.

I became a woman who wanted to learn about food, and how to be a smart consumer when it came to what she would spend on, how to use a coupon to save on food, and how to source food cheaply. I am a work in progress when it comes to my relationship with food. I now menu plan, as well,  more and more I am cooking with fresher ingredients. Did you know you can get good food on a budget here in Toronto with the Good Food Box?  I have realized I like to cook, while I consider myself still a novice in the kitchen. I am working on my relationship to food, how I see it, make it, eat it. Right now my thinking is food should be savoured.

While working on my own relationship with food, I realize there are many living in poverty around the globe this night who would be happy for even one meal. Here close to home though we have many who are hungry right now. The Daily Bread Food Bank in Toronto has said food donations are down, can you perhaps spare some to help someone right here in your community? May we take one action this week to help someone who is hungry, let me know if you do.

Happy Thanksgiving and Leftovers

Thanksgiving at the Trolls © by martha_chapa95

Happy Thanksgiving to my Canadian readers!

What are you thankful for this year?

For me I am thankful for the lessons learned, the people met, my fabulous daughter and being in good health. That is a lot to be thankful for right!

So yesterday it was turkey time in my house, which means this week my menu planning is pretty simple as we tackle the leftovers.

Monday-more food coma as I am hosting a potluck tonight. I am serving the salad, everyone else is bringing something..

Tuesday-Turkey Stuffed Shells , salad

Wednesday-Turkey Tacos

after that made stock that can be frozen..

Thursday- Rachel is making her spaghetti and meatballs.

Friday- I am at Blissdom Canada for Rachel it is Subway..

Saturday-Cheese Pizza and salad

Sunday-Shrimp with Spicy Tomato Sauce and rice.

This menu will be shared as always at Organizing Junkie.

Menu Monday: More Iftar Meals

For Muslims globally we are smack dab in the middle of Ramadan (the holy month of fasting). We have just over 2 weeks of fasting left. We are almost at the time when many Muslims get more serious for the last 10 days of Ramadan when  many pray longer, harder, read more. So to be able to do this you need a wee bit of fuel. Fuel comes from the iftar meal and the suhour mea. The Iftar is eaten just after sunset after you have broken the fast and suhour is eaten just before the morning prayer. So what are we eating here?

Suhour is usually 2 eggs, some toast, some tea, some water and a piece of fruit.

My iftar meal plan for this week includes these meals:

Monday–we are doing breakfast for dinner and making cornbread muffins, eggs, chicken bacon, and fruit( my daughter requested this)

Tuesday-Chicken Balti, rice, brocoli

Wednesday-Easy Baked Pasta

Thursday-Quick Jambalaya ( yes there is sausage in this recipe, we use a halal chicken sausage)

Friday- Lemon Garlic Chicken, mashed potatoes, carrots

Saturday- Will be eating at the masjid.

Sunday- Will be eating at the masjid.

What will you be cooking at your house this week? Have a recipe you care to share? I am off to check out the recipes shared on Org Junkie and the link up there.

7 Iftar Meals in a Jiffy

It is Ramadan time for us Muslims and many of us like to spend as little time in the kitchen as we can. For Muslims this month is about worship. There are some though who have made it about the iftar meal (the meal Muslims break a fast with). At the end of a long day of fasting, I know I don’t like to be in the kitchen. So what is one to do? This week all the meals I am making for dinner can be made in less than 30 minutes giving lots of time for prayer and worship. So if you want to get in and out of the kitchen here are some meals you can try.

Monday- Curried Shrimp and Rice

Tuesday-Shredded Chicken Salad

Wednesday-Vegetarian Chili Mac

Thursday- Easy Sweet and Sour Chicken

Friday-Homemade Soft Taco Dinner (grab a kit from the grocery store to make this with ease)

Saturday-Creamy Tuna and Mushroom Pasta (video)

Sunday-Jamcian Jerk Chicken Wraps

What is on the menu at your house this week? Is it quick and easy? I am always looking for the quick and easy recipe, something that helps me stick to my budget. As well I love having leftovers as they make for a great lunch for the kids. I do participate in Organizing Junkie’s Menu Monday. If you are looking for recipes you can try you may want to visit some of the great posts linked on her blog.

31Days and 31 Ways to Save Money: Day2- Menu Planning and Menu Monday

  We are on to day two and one of my favorite ways to save money and that is to plan a menu for the week.

For the last few years I have often participated in Menu Monday a regular round-up hosted by Organizing Junkie.

When it came to learning how to plan a healthy, frugal, halal menu all I had to do was read each and every Monday. I have learned much from the different blogs I have visited.

Why should one plan a menu? why do I?

First lets define what I consider a menu plan– You plan out what you are going to cook ahead of time. Some do this for a week, some for 2, some for a month, and some have plans that rotate.

Now why?

  • My number one reason is that by planning I buy what I need, so there is no food rotting in the fridge, no food in the garbage can, get my drift-no waste.
  • As well there is no longer that 6 pm stare- no looking into the fridge and wonder what I am going to cook all I have to do is look at the menu plan.
  • By planning to cook at home we do not eat on the go, I know I have a stocked fridge, I know what I have planned for the night thus there is no mad dash for the drive thru.

Those 3 reasons are enough to leave money in your pocket book. I am sure you can come up with others. So now we have the why, time to get down  to brass tacks and the How:

First of all there are lots of online tools, email alerts and the works if you want to do it online, but for now we are going to use an old fashion system that works great whether you have internet access on a regular basis or not.

So How to Plan Your Menu

1. Get yourself a white laminated board or a laminated calendar. I got mine from the dollar store. To go along with this get yourself erasable markers and an eraser ( total investment will be less then $5) You will want to post it where it handy to all family members.  In my house I have a teen who cooks 2 nights a week.

2. Decide what you are going to eat. There are so many blogs, recipe sites, books for every style of cooking your might want to try. In my house I regularly visit those who are participating in Menu Monday to see what they are trying that I might want to try here at home. We also have about 15 tried and true recipes that we use every month. In our house we are going for a healthy, frugal and halal menu.

In our house each week you will find:

  • one breakfast for dinner.
  • One slow cooking meal
  • a pasta meal
  • a skillet meal
  • a meat and potatoes night
  • leftover night

3. Write It Down. Make it easy on yourself. We have a Corkboard under the Menu plan and on that I can attach recipes if I have printed them off a website( If I do once cooked it goes into my cookbook binder). But do write down what you want to cook for at least a week.

4. Transfer your list into into your grocery list. Yesterday I posted a great extensive grocery list you can simply check off.

One of the things I do as I think about what I want to cook for the week, I look to see what is on sale at my local grocery store. Because I shop halal for my meat I make a monthly trip to the butcher. Otherwise I look for fish or shrimp on sale. I am also looking for staples on sale.By doing this overall I am able to save even more money.

Now what is on the Menu in my house this week:

Monday- hotdogs and salad

Tuesday-Breakfast for dinner-pancakes, sliced tomatoes

Wednesday-Easy Tuna Casserole, salad

Thursday-Slow Cooker Beef Stew, rolls

Friday-left overs

Saturday- Homemade Pizza, salad

Sunday- Roast Chicken, roasted potatoes, roasted carrots

Hope if you don’t already menu plan you will try it at least for a week, once you get the hang of it I am sure you will love the savings that come by sticking to your plan. Now I am off to Organizing Junkie to get ideas for next week.

Menu Planning:Healthy, Frugal, Halal Week 4

If you are a first time visitor, and are just beginning to menu plan you might want to read this post I first wrote 2 years ago called Menu Planning 101 . Are you wondering what halal means? Halal is the the Arabic word for “permitted.” Halal is commonly seen as “Halal food” which means food that is permitted under Islamic guidelines as found in the Qu’ran. Halal also extends to the humane slaughter of animals. In our house we get our meat from a halal butcher, and shop for products that do not contain pork or pork byproducts.

This has been a busy few weeks for this mom and this week will be just as busy with Common Cents Mom celebrating 3 years of this blog on Saturday night with a Twitter Party. You can RSVP here and yes there are some great party favors. I do invite you to come party with me.On Thursday I will be at the CBC where I will be in the audience for Steven and Chris, Tweeting as part of the CBC Kids Twitter Party which will be happening starting at 2 pm EST(the hashtag will be #kidscbc), and then in the audience at George Stroumboulopoulos.

This week as I try to implement more and more Thersa’s Albert’s Ace Your Health: 52 Ways to Stack Your Deck, I am looking at labels more, and trying to use fresh, and on sale as much as possible: thank goodness I live in Toronto where there are some great local fruit and vegetable stands.So what is on the menu?

So what is on the menu this week :

Monday-Skillet Tacos, salad

Tuesday-Chicken and Lentil Soup

Wednesday-I will be out playing hostess to one of the other bloggers coming in from out of town.

Thursday-It will be leftovers as I will be getting back late from the CBC.

Friday-Southwest Roll-

Saturday-Cream and Cheesy Mac and Cheese, salad

Sunday-Keep it simple, cleaning out the fridge.

Now I am off to Laura’s and back to the Ultimate Blog Party as well to see what is cooking at your house this week.

Menu Planning: Healthy and Halal Week 3

I love menu planning.

I love it basically for 2 reasons:

1. It keeps me sane. I no longer am standing at the fridge at 6 pm and thinking: “What am I going to cook?”

2. It saves me money. By menu planning I shop with a grocery list, and hat keeps my food budget on target. I also only shop once a week.

Yesterday I roasted this chicken. The chicken cost me $9.57 at my local halal butcher. I am using the left overs as I cook this week.

So what is on the Menu?

Monday- chicken tacos

Tuesday-Vegetarian Chili

Wednesday-Chicken, Brocolli, and Rice Bake

Thursday- Breakfast for dinner: pancakes and a fruit salad

Friday-Hearty  Mexican Chicken Soup

Saturday- Homemade Cheese Pizza and salad

Sunday- Left overs.. Clean Out the Fridge.

Now I am off to Organizing Junkie to see what is cooking at your place.