How to Solve the Eating Out Problem

Eating out is a budget leak for a lot of people.

It’s just so easy to grab something and it’s nice not to have to clean up. The problem is, though, that eating out is expensive compared to eating at home. By the time you pay for overpriced drinks and then tip, you’ve spent three, four or more times what the same meal would have cost at home. Even fast food is no bargain. Despite knowing this, many people still have trouble plugging this leak.

Several years ago I had the same problem. I tried prepping meals ahead of time, learning to cook more adventurous things, learning to cook simpler things, and meal planning and yet I still found myself in too many restaurants. The thin


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4 Responses to How to Solve the Eating Out Problem

  1. Alexandria says:

    I don’t have the money to eat out. Period. That pretty much solves that. 😀

    I share because people seem to consider not eating out as deprivation. Thing is, if eating out was so great, and that important to me, I’d probably make it more of a priority. But, too often we have high expectations for a nice meal out, and it rarely seems to be really worth it. Our track record for finer dining runs about 50/50. (Have had a couple of AMAZING meals, and many more that were pretty “eh” – especially for the price). Anyway, we are used to good home cooking, and that is hard to compete with. Second for us is probably lower cost chains where at least food/quality is consistent.

    The other thing I notice, without a doubt, is that eating out always equals weight gain. Certainly for my family. It doesn’t matter if I order a salad with dressing on the side. IT doesn’t matter that I regularly stretch one restaurant entree out into a meal + 2 lunches of leftovers. I don’t know how many times I noticed the scale before I noticed the month-end credit-card bill. It NEVER fails. Gained a couple of pounds? Ooops – ate out a lot that month. We stopped eating out when I became pregnant with my first child (mostly ate out before then). My already underweight husband promptly lost 10 pounds. I’d say, if you value your health, eat at home.

  2. Sarah says:

    Great idea about writing down how you felt about the food when eating out. It often seems like such an easy solution but can really leave you feeling let down!

    I think you wouldn’t be able to count the whole $3,000 as savings if you hadn’t gone out anywhere because you would still have to buy food for many of those meals at home. Still, it would be a decent amount of savings.

  3. ms06880 says:

    These days when my husband and I do eat out, we make sure that we use coupons (e.g.,, gift cards (received as presents or promos), promotions (restaurant week) so as not to have to pay full price. Dining out is a treat, instead of convenience. Also, when we do go out, we try to do so locally; support local business.

  4. Gail says:

    Rarely eat out since we live/work at home. I do purposely go out to eat for lunch at times when running errands since I can go weeks at a time without seeing anyone other than hubby and son. I like to go to Burger King or McDonald’s and just people watch (we don’t have an easily convenient mall to do this). This is just part of my way of being connected to others which is something you don’t always think about when someone is disabled. It can get lonely, so whatever the cost (I keep it low) it is worth the occasional out time for me as physically it is about all I can do before needing to get home to take a nap.

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