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When I was getting out of debt, I prioritized grocery shopping and cooking meals at home to save money on food. However, life happened. Sometimes planning a meal, buying groceries, and cooking were difficult. Eating broke people food like rice and beans everyday became boring and bland. When I did not have time to cook or just wanted a break, I purchased take-out.
Since I was broke, I developed a strategy to buying take out. The food needed to be tasty, healthy, cheap, and local. I used portion control and aimed to get 2-3 meals out of the food. I avoided all extra fees such as delivery charges and tipping costs by picking it up. Sometimes, I cooked rice at home to stretch the purchase even further. Keeping these things in mind allowed me to eat food I enjoyed without falling behind on my financial goals.
My favorite take out options when I was getting out of debt were:
1.Vietnamese Rice Dishes: Vietnamese Pho is delicious, but it often only lasted for one meal. I chose a rice dish to get the same great taste and a meal that’s more cost-effective. If the take out white rice did not last, I cooked rice at home to stretch out the purchase.
Local favorite: Mekong Delta (222 N Charles St, Baltimore, MD 21201)
My Order: Curry chicken with vegetables and white rice (shown below).
- Costs under $11 and serves 2-4 meals.
2.Mediterranean Bowls: A gyro with french fries is a tasty meal, but it was hard to save for extra meals. I chose a plate or bowl to get the same great taste for more meals. I added pita bread to stretch the purchase even further.
Local favorite: Cilantro (30 Light St Suite 020, Baltimore, MD 21202)
My Order: Chicken plate with hummus, pickles, rice, tabbouleh salad, cucumber salad, fried eggplant, tzatziki sauce, and pita (shown below).
- Costs under $10 (including the pita) serves 2-3 meals. I used Cilantro’s BOGO coupon to get a second meal for free.
3. Thai Noodle Dishes: Thai food was always a win because the options were usually a rice-based, a noodle-based, or a meat based specialty dish. I usually chose a noodle-based dish like pad Thai, drunken noodle, or pad-see-ew with a meat protein. I also added rice at home.
Local Favorite: Stang of Siam (1301 N Calvert St, Baltimore, MD 21202) for lunchtime specials
My Order: Chicken drunken noodle (shown below)
- Costs under $11 and serves 2-3 meals.
When I was paying off debt, I did not eat rice and beans everyday for three years. If I did, I would have been miserable. Once in a while, I ordered take out. By finding food that was tasty, healthy, cheap, and local, I did not fall behind on my financial goals. Comment below and let me know your favorite cheap take-out meals.
By Simone, creator of Slim Fit Wallet
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