September Food Costs
Dinner at Ruby Tuesday (birthday meal!)- $32.00
Dinner at Local Restaurant A: $17.30
Dinner at Local Restaurant B: $12.57
McDonalds (a meal here and there): $12.55
Total eating out: $74.42
Do you see something fishy here? My “eating out” spending is almost as much as groceries for the whole month!
Percentage wise, I could cut my food bill in half if we stopped eating out. Now my point here is not that you stop eating at restaurants. Hubs and I still eat out fairly often and still spend half of what the USDA recommends for a “thrifty” couple. BUT, please be aware of how much restaurant meals and fast food are costing you.
Ways to save at a restaurant:
1. Pick a cheaper place to eat. Local restaurants where we live are half the price of higher-end chain restaurants like Ruby Tuesdays.
2. Skip drinks, appetizers, and desserts. An appetizer is what fills you up before you even get started on your meal. Seven dollars for crushed ice, lemonade and a strawberry! Isn’t it weird how a $2 bottle of pop triples in value when it’s poured into a glass?? And just so you know, restaurants don’t have dibs on dessert. You can get good cheap desserts at a fast food joint, ice cream parlor, or even the grocery store. Mmmmm.
How to save at home:
A fun alternative to eating out is to plan an “extravagant” meal at home. For us (as planned in my Pizza Night book), this meal is a Friday Night Burger Bar- sizeable homemade burgers on store-bought buns (or homemade pretzel buns!) with splendid toppings of cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, onions and whatever else goes on a burger. Bacon or French-fried onions, for example.
Though this “burger bar” might cost twice as much as a regular homemade meal (my meals run from $1-2), it is less than half of what a restaurant meal costs. You could even throw in drinks, desserts and appetizers for less than it costs to eat out.
Do you enjoy eating out? What are some tips you have for saving money in this area?