How much do you spend eating out???

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I'm curious. Moreso for those that have at least one child. I was going through the credit card statement and was totally surprised how much my family spends eating out, close to around 400. Yeah....OUCH. But I think about the reason's why we eat out....time constraints....wife is an RN so really weird schedule...daughter is a busy body with dance, after school stuff, piano lessons, etc. etc. Wife and I both have a 45 minute one way commute so there are times we just don't feel like cooking or we get home and turn around and hit the road again for the daughter. I'd be willing to bet that some of ya'll would be shocked if you set down with your card statement or receipts and started adding them up. And please, don't horse for this. Life happens and sometimes, you just got to hold on.
 
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I use Mint.com and earlier this summer I was spending WAY too much (I won't say how much). I'm a single guy with no kids but part of it was indeed a time/laziness issue. After my bloodwork came back and had less-than-stellar numbers, I immediately limited my dining out to once a week or less. The way I made it work was to focus on simple but healthy things, and to occasionally supplement with pre-made stuff. There are a lot of good websites, cookbooks, etc with foods you can prepare with minimal ingredients and in a short amount of time. I experimented a bit until I found the recipes that I liked and felt comfortable making. Many of the items can be pre-made and frozen, then just thawed when you're ready to eat. It did bring my food expenditures down a bit, but the best part is that my health has greatly improved as a result.
 
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We honestly spend very little. This year picked up a couple of half priced deals (pay $25 get $50 towards your bill) similar to restaurant.com. We just used it last week, after holding onto it for a year (used it the day before it expired). We're actually the other way when we get home though. After me driving 45 minutes to an hour each way and her going an hour to hour and a half each way, pretty much the last thing we want to do is go back out, drive 15 minutes to a restaurant, wait for our food and drive home. That said, $400/month isn't all that surprising. I have coworkers that each lunch out almost daily $8 - $10 a day and then go out to dinner often.
 
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Originally Posted By: 99Saturn
I have coworkers that each lunch out almost daily $8 - $10 a day and then go out to dinner often.
I see that all the time too -- and maybe even worse. Coffee and bagel at Starbucks in the morning ($5), out to lunch somewhere ($12), afternoon coffee ($3), beer & appetizers for happy hour ($15), out to dinner later that night ($25). They must be spending $50/day+ on food.
 
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Well, the good thing is that you have lots of space in your budget to save money! We spend a fraction of that, but we're out in the sticks too so accessing fast food is anything but convenient. Fruits and veggies, real cheese sandwiches don't need to be refridgerated for a day so we bring stuff like that along on day trips. My wife is a stickler for making dinner but I keep a stache of frozen pizzas in the freezer for the odd time neither of us is ready to make something. They seem to be a loss leader all the time so $4-5 is a good price for a junk food family dinner! We still do fast food the odd time too, but we'll split a 12" sub and a XL coffee to save some bucks. We go out for dinner once every couple months to a decent restaurant too. So all told its probably $60-80 month on average, I'm sure it will creep up abit when the kids get older, but so far they have no real interest in any fast foods.
 
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When my son and I were doing cross country trucking,,30days times 6 meals a day for two of us was about 1600 a month,,,on the road at truck-stops...
 
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Before 2011 - I would NEVER eat out. 2011, I got a job travelling for work. The good thing was - I would be able to make it home most days and cook something (not bagged lunch!) , but there were some days where I absolutely was not able to make it home and would have to eat at Subway, McDonalds, etc. Wasn't too bad for cost because I could recoup costs with mileage frees. Then I started dating someone who was a fast food junkie. Ate out a lot. Though, I didn't always pay for it luckily. 2012 - I started a new office job where I was not traveling. Some times I was just too lazy to make my lunch and started to eat out 2-3 times a week. At one point, I was spending $20 a week in eating out! Not good. I feel there was a high correlation between eating out so frequently at work and home and ending up in the hospital with heart problems late 2012. I cut down and would limit myself to once a week at work. The last two months I have stopped eating out at work completely. If I am at work and I forget my lunch, I walk across the street to Aldi and pick up a few frozen vegetables and mix together to bring home. I have coworkers that spend $5-$10 a day eating out. As far as food for home, I spend maybe $25 a week. I eat pretty healthy and pretty well.
 
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It is very tempting to eat out each day for lunch rather than brown bag it. The wife and I try to limit our out lunches to once weekly. We set similar goals for dinner. Once a week is a nice respite and the goal helps keep everything in line. It is easy to forget how quickly even a daily trip to the vending machine can add up. I am frugal (some would say cheap) and I have learned some tricks to maximize our fast food dollar. As someone else mentioned, a large dollar iced tea can be shared by two and a foot long sub can be split into two or even three satisfying sandwiches. We went on a trip with my in-laws once (also frugal) and they showed us how they get an inexpensive snack and/or lunch for the road by making PBJ sandwiches out of the items available at the “free” hotel breakfast. It may seem silly but both where able to retire early and maintain a very nice lifestyle so it pays to save wherever you can.
 
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We went through this too. We have 2 kids and our eating out budget is around $30 a month now. Enough for one date per month at a modest restaurant (we usually share an appetizer, entree, and dessert, and don't drink alcohol at restaurants because it's ridiculously overpriced). I have some friends I eat breakfast at a diner with twice a month also, and I budget for $5 each time.
 
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I go out once or twice a week with GF. Children are married. I don't drink and she may have a glass of wine, so there is some savings. Trying to loose a few so I avoid an appetizer or desert. I am good for a $15 entrée and $2 soda and she is a little more.
 

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Ouch....50 a day!!!! Agree Miller that eating out a lot can be related to health issues. What was that show where some dude at McD's everyday for a month and his health went to kraph. It's not like that for us. Some of those meals are kind of expensive....27 bucks a pizza hut for two medium pizza's and Arby's...that place ain't cheap. Like Chicken Express but again they aren't cheap. Nice to see I'm not too far out there. But I'm going to concentrate on lowering that amount...that's almost car payment money!!!! One thing I do try and do when we eat out, get something "not that bad," if you will. I mean, I'm not talking double-bacon cheeseburgers here...(by the way, the McD's 2 dollar menu Double McBacon is EXCELLENT) will order like chicken wraps with tea, or a chicken fried steak dinner with a salad and mashed potatoes (for ya'll that have a Braum's nearby, that's good stuff) or plain-jane tacos. But none the less, they are all loaded in sodium and who knows what.
 
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I have just about stopped eating out. I too was spending $40-50 a week on just lunch and I decided to start making my own lunch and bringing it to work. It cost less than half to do that and I can just relax on lunch rather than drive somewhere and be in hurry up mode the whole time to get back.
 
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Originally Posted By: dparm
Originally Posted By: 99Saturn
I have coworkers that each lunch out almost daily $8 - $10 a day and then go out to dinner often.
I see that all the time too -- and maybe even worse. Coffee and bagel at Starbucks in the morning ($5), out to lunch somewhere ($12), afternoon coffee ($3), beer & appetizers for happy hour ($15), out to dinner later that night ($25). They must be spending $50/day+ on food.
Yeah I see the same thing, not as common but not uncommon either. The same people typically eat half their meal and 1. say they didn't like it 2. say they are full but don't like leftovers so toss the rest. shrug Admittedly I have a similar addiction to sale shopping/FAR groceries as I do to FAR oil, so my opinion is skewed.
 
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We, my wife and son and I, used to eat out quiet a bit as her job in the health care profession requires a lot of her time. That is until I had a massive heart attack back in April of 2012. Then a quad bypass....and I'm a non-smoker....never haved smoked. Anyway, when we do eat out, it's usually at a Lion's Club meeting or church. Baptist's love to eat! So we spend less than 50 bucks a month.
 
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We spend very little, and what we do spend, we try to maximize. This means, very few trips to what I call "ambience restaurants", where you pay as much for the decorations on the wall as you do for the still-overpriced food (places like Applebees, Chilis, Red Lobster, etc). When we go out, it's usually combined with another trip to the mall or Sam's Club, so it might be a deli or a food court. Wednesday Evening Fellowship at church is $15/family, so that's $15 of our weekly spending. Our kids are 8 and 5, so we see little reason to buy $60 dinners at those "ambience restaurants". Our entertainment budget, which includes are going out to eat, is $80/check (every two weeks). So that's on the order of $160/month, give or take, depending on the paycheck cycle.
 
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Originally Posted By: ddrumman2004
We, my wife and son and I, used to eat out quiet a bit as her job in the health care profession requires a lot of her time. That is until I had a massive heart attack back in April of 2012. Then a quad bypass....and I'm a non-smoker....never haved smoked. Anyway, when we do eat out, it's usually at a Lion's Club meeting or church. Baptist's love to eat! So we spend less than 50 bucks a month.
Did you eat bad foods when you ate out?
 
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I looked at mine and luckily I only spent $10 last month eating out. Usually if i want something, I'll get the cheapest thing off the list at McDs. Fast food to me is just to keep the hunger down, and not as a "real" meal. I love eating out, but since I am a single guy with no kids or close relatives, it's kind of awkward going into a restaurant by yourself. I am also a very bad cook, so I bet the eating out would be healthier in the long run until I figure out how to not burn water.
 
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