As my family finished off meatloaf sandwiches last night for dinner I told them I was proud of us for not eating out. Besides, is there anything better than leftover meatloaf between two pieces of good bread and a cold glass of tea? I digress.
Sulphur Mountain Restaurant courtesy of ahisgett
A couple years ago we ate out every Friday night, and then again on Saturday nights. We also grabbed something out a couple times during the week. We still enjoy the occasional meal out as a break from coming, but now we attempt to make it more of a treat than a routine. For instance, if the kids have a school function and we know we’ll be out anyway, we’ll plan a dinner out to celebrate something (we recently did this to celebrate paying off our family vehicle).
Of course, just because you eat out it doesn’t mean you have to break the bank to do it. When we do eat out, or pick something up to bring home, we like to split meals, skip drinks (order water only), pass on dessert, order a lunch portion for dinner, etc. There are plenty of strategies for surviving a meal out at a restaurant.
These days we’ve scaled back to an average of one meal out per week as a family. Recently, we splurged for a nice steak dinner at a local steakhouse. After dinner I used the opportunity for a teachable lesson for the kids. I told them that our small steak, baked potato and salad cost over $10.00 per adult. That same meal could have easily cost less than $5.00 at home, with Dad grilling steaks on the grill, Mom making her famous loaded baked potatoes, and my kids helping with salads.
Sometimes Mom, Dad, and even the kids, just need a break. So enjoy the occasional meal out. Set aside some of your budget to pay cash for the meal – using plastic guarantees heartburn later on. Remember to budget enough for a good tip for excellent service (we’re frugal, but we aren’t cheapskates!).
How often does your family eat out? Have you scaled back because of the economy, or simply because you are trying to spend less money?