Thursday, February 7, 2008

Frugal Confession- We Eat Out.


It's a terrible, terrible thing in the personal finance world. Eating out is a budget killer.

We do it. Two or three times a week. Never eating out would be much cheaper but sitting around our favorite table at our favorite deli drinking great tea and only paying $12 for our family to eat- it is just something we love to do. We pay for the great food and the great experience.

In fact, we pretty much eat at the same restaurant two or three times a week. Sadly enough we actually know all of the managers by name and how many kids they have, etc. In our less frugal days we ate out way more often, like 5-6 times per week. Life was busy and we used it as an excuse to eat out. Now that our pace has slowed and we are trying to get out of debt, we make most of our meals at home and try to only eat out a couple of times per week while really looking forward to each of those meals out. Every pay period we budget money for dining out into our grocery category and usually stay within that constraint.

I wouldn't say that we eat out for the food as much as the experience. We love to eat without having to perform work for it. Meals at home are much healthier and usually more filling but often take over two hours to prepare, eat, and clean up. I think that's why we really enjoy eating out- it's quick, relaxing, and enjoyable. It's the only "entertainment" we pay for. It's been a nice outlet for us and it allows us spend a little extra money on this when we are getting low on gazelle intensity.

We've reduced our dining out significantly over the past year, but will we ever get to the point of rarely eating out? It's possible. We hope the Lord blesses us with lots of children so eating out really wouldn't be a very easy or cheap solution for meals. In the mean time we are still enjoying relaxing at our favorite restaurant and adding in the dining out money to our monthly budget.

1 comment:

www.thehungrydollar.com said...

My wife and I also struggle in this area. It is amazing how much you can spend eating out in a month if you're brave enough to add it all up. It truly is a win win situation to eat at home. It's cheaper, healthier, and the portions are a lot smaller (the average restaurant serving size is 2.5 times that of what you need).