One way to simplify meal planning is not to be home for dinner ever. I’m only half joking when I say that. I haven’t necessarily meant to do it but that’s what’s been happening lately!

The tag line for my blog is “living a frugal and fulfilling life.” The two can certainly go hand in hand, but there will be seasons when one adjective wins out more frequently than the other. It’s not frugal to eat out several times in a week, but it frees up space for fulfilling activities. (And often the food and the fulfilling activity are concurrent.)

This week, we’re going to a friend’s place on Tuesday for a Passover Seder. On Wednesday, we’re going on a belated anniversary date to eat at Barrelhouse and go see The Lion King at the Fox Theatre. Thursday is another meal at a friend’s place, and Friday is a friend’s birthday party. What?! That’s the whole work week right there, and only two dinners at home!

We’ve been running hard for the past few weeks, and it’s exhausting, but it’s also exhilarating. And, it makes my life much simpler to not feel like I have to make dinner happen at home. It’s much less stressful to just succumb to the rollercoaster and eat where it makes sense to, whether that’s at whatever social event or meetup we’re attending or whether it means grabbing something on the way to or from.

I’ve been spending a bit less on groceries accordingly, but definitely not as much less as we’ve been spending on convenience. And we’re okay with that for right now. It’s not worth it to be stubbornly frugal at the expense of your sanity.

I’d been trying to simplify dinners lately, so it’s kind of amusing that on the heels of that came these crazy, crazy weeks. Life is less simple in other ways, but dinner sure has been easy!

How do you cope with times when your schedule blows up? What’s your go-to convenience dinner?

Laura Lindeman

Laura Lindeman