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Eating Out

Last post Thu, Mar 6 2008 9:55 AM by babs. 33 replies.
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  • Mon, Mar 3 2008 9:22 AM

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Eating Out

    We all know that dining out can be a real budget buster but a cause for debt? "Eating out is among the top causes of personal debt." says Jill Cooper.

    Read more in Stop Eating Your Way Into Debt.  

     

    Do you charge meals that you eat out?

     

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



  • Mon, Mar 3 2008 10:07 AM In reply to

    • rolo
    • Top 50 Contributor
      Female
    • Joined on Wed, Apr 4 2007
    • Michigan
    • Posts 1,932

    Re: Eating Out

    I didn't read that the cause of the personal debt was charging the meals.  That said, I think many, many, folks overspend with eating out and buying take out then, inevetibalby, do not have the savings they need for car repairs, appliance replacements, etc., etc.

    It is direct Cause and Effect.  

    That is where the personal debt issue comes in--if you have little to no savings then the plastic pays for the common life events such as tires, new fridge, hot water heater replacement, gifts, holidays.

    On a different forum I belong to, a forum poll showed that the HARDEST thing to give up, when focusing on aggressive debt repayment, is dining out/take out! That one option received the overwhelming majority of votes.  

     We budget $30-35 cash monthly for eating out for the 3 of us. 

    Lorrie

    "People take different roads seeking fulfillment and happiness. Just because they're not on your road doesn't mean they've gotten lost." ~~ Dalai Lama XIV -

  • Mon, Mar 3 2008 10:12 AM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Re: Eating Out

     I didn't think dining out was a major issue for debt either, except that it keeps funds from being used to pay off debt. Eating out is enjoyable but not worth charging.

     

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



  • Mon, Mar 3 2008 10:37 AM In reply to

    Re: Eating Out

    I agree with you guys-I think what rolo is saying rings true; even if you don't charge your meals out, if you are using up your cash and leaving no reserves, you will have to charge something you need later because you already spent your cash.

    I am still working on this issue myself.  For the first time in a long time, we have emergency savings that is just there, not earmarked for something.  In the past, I have been one of the people just described.

    BUT, we are working hard on debt repayment and have made a gradual transition from eating out A LOT a few years ago, to eating out only every so often, to eating out as a special treat, to having takeout every so often, to now, very rarely!  In fact, I can't remember the last time we ate in a restaurant and takeout is very rare right now (maybe once a month at the most).

    It has done two things for us-I REALLY appreciate it when we get it.  A break from cooking!  No dishes!  Also, I am a lot choosier with where we get it from-it's such a treat that it makes me want to pick exactly what I want instead of just eating whatever for the sake of it (like we used to do!).  I make sure I really enjoy it!  I found that a lot of stuff we used to eat wasn't really that great compared to what I can make at home-it just seemed easier at the time.

    That said, I do miss it a little bit but this has been a great learning experience for me and when we do have money again and eat out more often again, I will never consume it like I did before!

  • Mon, Mar 3 2008 10:54 AM In reply to

    Re: Eating Out

    We don't charge meals that we eat out. We used to feel good that we "paid cash" (and still do) but Rolo is right, using cash takes away from other spending and savings catagories. Even when we paid cash, we would eat out once a week (weekends) and occasionally during the week, especially "quick" lunches. We were spending about $50 cash a week on eating out. No wonder we had to put groceries on the credit card at the end of the month. Ironic, isn't it.

    I stopped eating out for lunch during the week. We stopped all fast food (better for health, too) and now eat out 2x a month and eat at places that have good specials or reduced meals for kiddos. It is our special treat and a reward for curbing our other spending and debt. Saturday was an eat out night (we usually go at the beginning of the month since we both get paid) and we went to our favorite pizza buffet. We had a $2 off adult buffet coupons, so $7 per person for DH and me. The kiddos eat the buffet at $.65 times their age. So my ds age 1 was $.65 and ds age 3 was $1.95. We did order a milk for the boys to share and DH and I had water. Great meal at a great price. Only downside: no leftovers!

    I agree that eating out can be a downfall to any budget and leads to debt when used excessively instead of cooking at home. People rationalize it as food is a necessity. But restaurant food is not a necessity! However, it was something that DH and I could not fully give up as a "luxury." We just modified it as much as we can so it fits into our budget and life. Not having a break from cooking EVER would be hard on both DH and myself. 2x a month is very workable for us. Oh, our budget is $40 a month for the 4 of us and we are already under budget for March!

    Erika
  • Mon, Mar 3 2008 12:05 PM In reply to

    Re: Eating Out

    We used to have a break once a month, on the non-mortgage paycheck.  Might be ordered pizza, take and bake pizza-Papa Murphy's here, 10 for 10 taco bell, or Noodles, or just stopping at Dairy Queen in the summer (aslo a tradition after flu shots for everyone), or getting doughnuts on a Sunday morning.  A few times a years, mostly when the in-laws are in town or after the tax return, it is a restaurant meal, we like Mexican and Indian food.  We've been discussing our tax return meal for weeks now!  

    Dh usually would take a day off in the sunmmer for a movie matinee and lunch once a year, and I have tried to do this once in the winter, too, either during winter break or the Thanksgiving break.  

    It's always expensive, over $100 with the 9 of us, even drinking only water, but worth it!  We order appitizers and desserts if we want, it's only a few times a year.

     

    Tracy
    Beginning Debt Slayer


  • Mon, Mar 3 2008 12:37 PM In reply to

    Re: Eating Out

    ah... I miss Noodle's & Company! Sad

    I occasionally walk to BK that's 1/2 a block away from me to get something small. I used to be the kind that drove through McDonald's and "charge it" (debit card) since it was faster than cash. I don't eat out much unless it's with family and dad pays... it's just cheaper to eat at home. Plus I don't run into "I can't eat that" when mom/me is cooking.

    Movies I don't even rent (will be finding the library section though this summer) let alone go to the theaters. We do have a $1.50 theater but I am not fond of going solo to movies. I'll watch tv or dvds that I bought in the $5 bin at Walmart. 

    Will be learning how to read and listen to music/Joyce Meyer lessons (been able to get the cd's for $1 donation lately) this summer versus always sitting around staring at the spud tube. 

    I'm not confused. I'm just well mixed. ~Robert Frost
    Laziness may appear attractive, but work gives satisfaction. - Anne Frank
    I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

    Married my Blessing 10-16-10 :)
    Became an Auntie 12-10-10 :)
  • Mon, Mar 3 2008 7:50 PM In reply to

    Re: Eating Out

    Take out/delivery or eating out can be a big budget buster without realizing it.  My dh never ate at home before marriage and spent hundreds on that per month.  Lots of people don't add it up.   I thought we weren't that bad but even with fastfood once a week and delivery pizzas etc couple of times a mth, its adds up to $150 per mth.   Have cut back on the eating out but also try to mix it will social things.  Like delivery pizza on once a mth bead night with the girls. or dh out with friends at wendys. or playdate at mcd with friends so the kids can play in the playtubes.  I admit when we have homestay students, we do takeout etc more because I am the only cook and like more breaks. since I have to put more proper meals on the table not just pb sandwiches etc if I don't feel up to cooking.   Summer will be a challenge with the heat!

    My Family's Interests
  • Tue, Mar 4 2008 6:24 AM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Re: Eating Out

    Rolo,

    This was the line that prompted me to ask if anyone charges their meals out to a CC, "Do you really want to get out of debt? Then get up, stop charging, and get cooking!"

     

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



  • Tue, Mar 4 2008 6:27 AM In reply to

    • Brandy
    • Top 10 Contributor
    • Joined on Wed, Mar 28 2007
    • Saving in South Mississippi
    • Posts 25,145

    Re: Eating Out

    mamasjob:
    But restaurant food is not a necessity! However, it was something that DH and I could not fully give up as a "luxury."
     

     Our dining out buster rests with my husband who works long hours and never knows when to expect to come home long after dinner. He has been packing a lunch but will eat out if he isn't going to be home early enough for dinner. Some weeks this has been a week long issue.

     

    The Dollar Stretcher Community Manager



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