Keeping my “Eating Out” monster in check

I actually don’t enjoy eating out.

I’ve done it so much as a consultant when I was on contracts, that the idea of going to a restaurant every breakfast, lunch and dinner makes me slightly nauseous.

See, as a consultant, you end up excitedly surveying what your options are around you, but when you only end up loving 2 restaurants, you go to the same 2 restaurants every day.

Then you pick only 3 meals you like from each restaurant (or less), every day.

So you end up eating 6 meals x 6 months = too much eating out.

That said, when I visit cities that have food I know cannot be found elsewhere (hello! Montreal & macarons!), I get a little excited that it is so easily accessible that I can sometimes go overboard.

(Like last month. I spent a lot of money on treats and snacks :P)

HOW I KEEP MYSELF IN CHECK FOR EATING OUT

How much do you spend on each meal out?

Multiply that by 90.

That’s your substitute “grocery budget”, and if the number shocks you, then it should shock you into eating out less.

90 = 3 meals a day, 30 days a month.

It is unrealistic, but it is a good way for me to “see the big picture”.

For example, I like banh mi vietnamese pork sandwiches and an aloe drink. They cost $2.75 each, tax included and $2 for the drink.

$4.75 x 90 =  $427.50

Now look at it for the whole year: $5130!

A close, cool $5000-ish amount on food each year JUST for eating out. And I’d probably be bored with that combination every single time.

I could also get water to ‘save’, but good restaurant meals start around AT LEAST $15 each (tax and tip included). Most times, you’re looking at $20 – $30.

$15 x 90 = $1350/month just in eating out!! Or $16,200 a year!

$20 x 90 = $1800/month or $21,600 a year.

$30 x 90 = $2700/month or $32,400 a year.

How about groceries being replaced by eating out?

What about all of the leftover money I saved?

Magic word: Saved.

I didn’t eat that extra money.

I saved it.

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.