One of the first ways that families cut back on discretionary spending is by cutting the restaurant fare and cooking more at home. Indeed, restaurants have taken taken major hits in this recession with almost two full years of declining patron traffic.
Meal preparation gets easier and cheaper when cooking for a larger number of people, but fixing meals for a family with children is complicated by a mix of factors. Some are a function of kids and others are outside the family, but all have to be taken into account to make the dollar stretch as far as possible.
So what are these various factors?
- Obviously, the number and age of your children.
- Children’s activities as they grow older.
- Family food preferences, such as my Eldest being a vegetarian.
- Cooking time versus available time.
- Desire to maintain a "family meal".
- Cooking experience and recipe availability.
- Availability of different stores and sales.
Over the next several days, I’ll explore these aspects further, starting as always with the kids.