Back before Mr. LL and I thought more carefully about retiring early, we went out to eat about 4 times a week, with one or two of those times being social occasions. Sometimes going out to eat was something I really wanted to do, and other times it was almost like a chore – realizing we had nothing to eat at home, then choosing a place when we didn’t want anything in particular.
As of now, we have cut our dining down to one time a week, with that one time being a fun trivia night with our friend at a local pub. However, this means a lot more food planning – and no more saying that we have nothing to eat when we almost always having something that we can whip up in a pinch.
Two meals that have become default meals are 1) loaded baked potatoes and 2) scrambled eggs, bacon, and bread. Back in March or April, I bought about 8 pounds of bacon as part of a buy-one-get-one sale, and we keep one package in the fridge and the remainder in the freezer. During weekly grocery shopping, I make sure that I always snag four large russet potatoes ($0.39 each at Trader Joe’s), and enough eggs to boil or scramble.
Our baked potatoes have butter, cheese, homemade Greek-style yogurt, and crumbled bacon. They are really satisfying and easy to make, although you have to give yourself an hour’s cooking time.
I make fresh bread to go with our scrambled eggs and bacon, so it also takes about an hour to bake. I use a no-knead bread recipe, which means that I have to prepare it the night before, but it’s so easy that it is really just a matter of putting it in the oven.
I have gotten used to only going out to eat as a social occasion with friends, and I don’t even miss it. Having home-cooked default meals that we know will be satisfying helps us save money and reduces the amount we will need for retirement.