Money has been tight for Hubby and I for the last few years due to paying off debts, maternity leave, paying for childcare, another baby, more maternity leave…! You get the picture. We now don’t have money for luxuries at all but Hubby and I decided when we had LP that there was one thing we would continue doing – We would go out once a month as a family for a meal.
Hubby and I, even when we were heavily in debt and worried about money a few years back, would go out for a meal once a month. We bought a Taste Card for a heavily reduced price and used it to get buy one get one free meals in restaurants. We’d go out as a couple once a month, spend £20 on a meal and it would be our one and only treat for the month.
Since having the children and becoming debt free we have continued this ritual. Having a meal out once a month makes the rest of the month of not doing a huge amount, not having takeaways and not really splurging a whole lot easier. We pay £30 a year for the TasteCard and then get a meal out once a month for the four of us for £30ish – Three courses and drinks. It’s our one real extravagance and I love it.
Even when Little Man was newly born we would take him out with us, now he is nearly 11 months old and joins in with the meals, sharing our food, playing and chatting away. LP has what she wants from the children’s menu – with a bit of guidance, and always has ice cream for pudding. LP knows that when we eat out she wears a bib, she often uses her own cutlery from home as they don’t often have kids’ cutlery and she knows we have starters, mains and then puddings. LP usually gets a ‘special’ drink too – juice or squash or sometimes even a milkshake!
Our meals out are an indulgence – We don’t have many of them, we lead a fairly simple life really but I realised at our last meal out that these meals in restaurants are teaching LP about how restaurants work, socialising, spending time together and most importantly, that if you work hard then you can have a treat – Everyone deserves a treat!
I’m hoping our monthly meal out will be something we continue throughout our lives – Maybe grabbing a Pizza Hut Buffet after the kids finish school one month or a day trip into London and a meal at a fancy Restaurant another month. Maybe we’ll even go to restaurants once a month when they’re grown up – Hubby and I with our 21 year old LP and our 19 year old Little Man, eating together as we always have done.
Who knows what the future will bring? But for now at least, meals out are an ordinary moment for the four of us.