Eat in or out – and still save some bucks

Eat in or out – and still save some bucks

By Russ and Tiña De Maris

Joe Shlabotnik on flickr.com

With fuel prices shooting up like an oil field gusher, saving money where you can on the RV budget can make your trip last longer, or leave a few bucks for other attractions. Saving bones at the dining table can help. Nah! We don’t mean boiling up the chicken carcass for soup (but hey, it’s not a bad idea!).

Eating “in” can be a real money saver. After all, the cost of home-cooked foods is most always cheaper than you can buy in a restaurant. Still, even the seeming “laid back” fulltime lifestyle does have the occasional need for fast food. Here are some fast food items you can make in your own galley, stuff away in the freezer, and pull out on those occasions when you’re in a hurry – and still have it cheaper than at McDoogie’s.

Breakfast Sammies: Like the old Egg-McDoodle? Then snap up a package of English muffins, cheese of your choice, a package of sliced Canadian bacon, and a clutch of hen fruit. Fry up the egg, best to a fairly solid yolk consistency. Slip it in between the muffin halves, and add a slice of meat. Wrap ‘er up tight in plastic wrap. When you’ve got several completed, put them all in a freezer bag and stash away in the freezer. To reheat, we suggest you DON’T use “high power,” as it will make your muffin tough. We often use “defrost” to reheat bread-containing items.

Burrito-A-Go-Go: One of the male-side’s favorite luncheon items. First, cook a beef roast for dinner, and don’t oink out. Now put the leftover meat in a pan with added juice or water, add Mexican spices (oregano and cumin are really good), and slowly cook it until the meat falls apart. If your original roast had veggies, now’s the time to add them, chopped down to size. Lay out a good-sized tortilla and lay the meat and veggies in the middle. Fold the tortilla around the meat to blanket the goodies inside. Again, wrap individually in plastic wrap, and bag the whole thing before freezing. Reheat like you would the Breakfast Sammies. While corn tortillas taste better, the flour ones hold up better in this operation.

Does saving money mean forgoing restaurant fare? Not at all. While fast food can be cheap, it isn’t always best for the health. You can still visit mid-range rest-o-raunts at a fair price. Here are some tricks:

Partner up: Instead of ordering two full meals, find something you and your mate can agree on, order that and an appetizer and split it.

Do the Doggy Bag: Want a whole meal to yourself? Fine and dandy – but strategize your eating. Start with the veggies and starches and go slowly when you hit the meat. Oftentimes you can walk away with a leftover slab of whatever, great for making lunch in the next day or two. We like hitting the restaurants that offer a really great salad bar deal with an entree. Sizzler restaurants have a great deal for seniors. We hit the salad bar and browse well, then start on the main course. Invariably we’ll have a whole ‘nother meal in the styro carryout box when it’s time to hit the road.

Watch for Specials: Daily specials, lunch specials and early bird specials are often good portions at less expensive rates. With an RVer’s time flexibility, it’s not hard to get the early bird deals. Just as long as they’re not worms, it’s good by me.

Careful on the Beverages: Some places have inexpensive coffee, but most – whoa! If you can live without it, order ice water. We often do this, and find asking for a few lemon slices can make that normally bland (or chlorinated) restaurant water taste pretty good – especially when it saves nearly $5 on the tab between the two of us.

Good Fast Food? Sure you can still eat healthy in a fast food joint. One of the distaff’s favorites when traveling is to whip into a Wendy’s and order off their “value menu.” She picks out a side salad, a container of chili (cheese on the side) and a little bag of taco strips. For less than $4 she creates her own healthy “taco salad” that satisfies appetite, health and budget.

##RVT844

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12 thoughts on “Eat in or out – and still save some bucks

  1. travilenman

    Come-on folks we can agree to disagree….Enjoy what you have, while you have it…SOOO what, if you eat in or out, have a big rig or a little rig, or anything else…What really matters is being happy doing what you are doing…

  2. Cal Bridgers

    Are you thrownig away money needlessly each week?

    We all get some type of mass media advertising in our mailboxes each week! Do you really look at it? Or, just toss it in the trash?

    I find several 2 for 1 deals from outlets such as Hardee, Wendys, BK, etc. Most have a 30 day expiration date. I clip ’em and use them for lunch on a regular basis since I spend a lot of time on the road providing motorcycle escort for Our Veterans as part of the Patriot Guard Riders.

    They are also great for a RV lunch stop.

    On any given month I’ll save upwards of $10 and more in the some months.

  3. Suzanne

    Denny and Robbie…..many are new to the newsletter so it wont be the same old stuff to them. We have read Chuck’s newsletter since the paper version. If my interest wanes with an article we move on.
    We look forward to it every Saturday.

  4. Shela

    I found it interesting. You spend one places, save others.
    It’s all about choices, kids!!

  5. Vanessa A Simmons

    I quit paying for drinks when eating out years ago. Once in a blue moon I’ll have a coffee with breakfast. If I go through mickyds I try to get water with my meal but that is a foreign concept. I asked for a cup of tea with only water one time. Most of the time I take the meal and tell them to keep the soda when I get to the window. No “sweet tea” or sodas have helped me lose almost 50 pounds.

  6. Primo Rudy's Roadhouse

    I don’t understand the big deal about cooking while camping (glamping, etc.) We take a portable gas grill (coleman roadtrip) with us. We can grill anything for supper. We have had grilled catfish with mushroom/pablano sauce, grilled steak, salmon (our favorite), chicken, etc. Enjoy the outdoors, cooking with a beer or glass of wine. Great opportunity to meet other people and their dogs! For breakfast a fresh egg/meat/cheese sandwich is easy to cook with a cup of coffee. Fresh breakfast tacos. Any thing that can be cooked at home, can be cooked outside. Cooking on the grill, outside is FUN, easy clean up, and won’t smell up the coach. And yes, we do eat out sometimes and bring the doggie bag home, often for lunch.

  7. Alaska Traveler

    We eat in because it’s convenient. Lately I’m lowering calories to lose some weight. Favorite fast food when situation places us in that direction is Taco Bell and Wendy’s. 2 hard shelled beef Fresco tacos…280 calories. Wendy’s large chili is 250…yum!

  8. john stahl

    Because people are paying big money to travel in an RV is why they may not have a lot of extra money. I think most people live on the edge and many RVers probably do to. So I think the tips in this article are good. And if we ever get in a bind these are good tips to know. I appreciate the information but do not need to use it now and pray I will not need to use it in the future. There is no telling what the future will bring to us or our country.

  9. Denny wagaman

    Come on guys do you really think that a few cents are going to make a big darn difference to rv’ers that are shelling out hundreds of thousands for a rig.? The people that I know anticipate fuel prices to be much higher than they are today. I think that you are stretching to find something to write about. Old news is no News. 😁 sorry but time to get on with new articles.

    1. Robbie

      Denny, Fulltimer here, and fully agree…Time for some new news instead of hashing over the same old stuff over and over.

      1. Shawn McAnney

        A wise man once said, “watch your pennies and the dollars will take care of themselves.” Nothing wrong with being frugal.

    2. Jim

      Denny, I did not and do not have hundreds of thousands to spend on a rig. So yes I do watch my pennies so I can enjoy myself. I was forced medically into an early retirement just about the time I could actually save some serious money.
      So yes “a few cents are going to make a big darn difference” to me.

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