Author Topic: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017  (Read 12281 times)

iowajes

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #100 on: June 04, 2017, 09:56:12 AM »
Still doing well with this. We have a vacation at the end of June, so we will eat out meals on it. But we got an AirBNB so we will at least do breakfast there.

marble_faun

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #101 on: June 04, 2017, 04:34:08 PM »
Just opened the fridge, saw some ground beef and asparagus, and made a delicious garlic/ginger meatball meal!

I've gotten good at improvising my own tasty, one-pan dinners. All you have to do is spice the meat, cook the meat, then sauté some vegetables in the same skillet, maybe adding a little broth.  (Maybe this seems obvious to everyone else... but to me it seemed like an exciting formula to discover.)

The whole process takes maybe 20 minutes. Just enough time to listen to a short podcast. Much less time than waiting on a pizza delivery. And it's healthier, and cheaper than pizza. A win on all counts!
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iowajes

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #102 on: June 04, 2017, 05:32:36 PM »
I've been waiting years on pizza delivery. No one comes to our neighborhood!

:)

iowajes

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #103 on: June 12, 2017, 02:55:03 AM »
My parents made a last minute road trip change and stopped by to see us on their way too the US Open. Apparently they mean to treat, but since it was counter service it was a bit strange. They picked up DHs drinks though. And the brewery had surprisingly good food.

That brings our tally to:
DH:7.5
Me: 4.5
For others: 5

Parents swing back this way after the open. They will hit us dinner one of the nights and we plan to home cook the dinner we are on the hook for.

AnnaGrowsAMustache

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #104 on: June 12, 2017, 03:14:43 AM »
They're only for special occasions around here. Going out to eat as a group because work colleague is leaving this week, and totally happy to do so.

monstermonster

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #105 on: June 12, 2017, 09:21:02 AM »
$30.56 in May on Restaurants. Not my best month, not my worst. Largely a result of lack of proper meal planning, which hit my grocery bill as well.

I have $130 budgeted for restaurants this month, have spent $4.50 of it. It's so high because I'm traveling to Amsterdam for a work conference for a week, and don't get a per diem unfortunately, though the conference has breakfast & lunch some days.

I love one particular falafel stand in Amsterdam that's affordable and amazing, so that will be a cheap dinner at least twice. I'll need to find something else affordable the other days, which is a tall order in Amsterdam. I'd be happy eating falafel every single night, but I've been informed by my traveling companions they will not be.
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marble_faun

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #106 on: June 12, 2017, 05:57:18 PM »
I've been pretty good about not going to restaurants! 

With the exception of a $5 lunch out once a week -- I stick to the core meal and don't add on any sides or drinks or anything, because that's how The Lunch Man gets ya.

My husband and I did have a special occasion to celebrate, so we went out to the four-dollar-sign Steakhouse in town and pulled out all the stops. I ordered filet mignon and an Old Fashioned. Oh!  How I savored every moment, sitting in the tall leather booth under the dim lights, eating steak and talking.

We only do this kind of thing once a year. And as I've found, eating at restaurants less makes eating at restaurants better. I appreciate the experience more!

Now back to my regularly scheduled leftovers and crockpot meals!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2017, 06:02:00 PM by marble_faun »
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iowajes

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #107 on: June 19, 2017, 07:01:38 PM »
That brings our tally to:




I got a coupon for mellow mushroom for a free father's day pizza. Even though it was my coupon, we'll call it DH's meal was free (and the beer was on Ibotta.)

So we are up to:
DH:7.5
Me: 5.5
For others: 5

Not bad for being almost halfway through the year and entertaining a ton of guests due to new baby.

Feeling Blessed

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #108 on: June 24, 2017, 12:02:03 PM »
Count me in!  Does anyone else find that eating out is just a knee jerk habit?  I've been practicing stalling for 10 minutes... look in the frig/freezer.  Pour a little glass of wine.  Think about what you could whip up and how the alternative is driving, waiting, getting low nutrient food, paying too much, more driving.... all of a sudden eating at home looks pretty awesome.  Also, making sure the kids have 'skin in the game'.  When they are begging and I'm trying to change the plan... i occassionally remind them that their dinner out probably costs $20 or we could eat x at home and maybe Mom might have an extra $5 to throw in their stash if we go that route.... i don't use it very often but its really effective when resistance is high.  Also, when traveling, CHEAP EATS.  My town is short on low key cheap eateries but often when traveling, the best restaurants are the off the beaten path ones that trip advisors lists under 'cheap eats'.  So great!

iowajes

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #109 on: June 26, 2017, 06:50:07 AM »
As planned our trip added quite a bit to the tally.
We ate at:
Friday:
Breakfast at home-
Fuddruckers (used a email coupon so only paid for one meal, again, my coupon, but I'll call this 0.5 of a meal for each of us.)
Urban chestnut brewery
Saturday:
McDonalds breakfast (my meal was less than $2, but still eating out)
Cheesecake Factory (ridiculously expensive $70 for the two of us, but it served as lunch, dinner, and then breakfast.)
Sunday:
No eating out

And although we popped a homemade pizza from the freezer into the oven for dinner after getting home, DH wasn't happy with anything for lunch today (we had some canned soup) so will be going to subway, so that's in the tally.

So we are up to:
DH:12
Me: 9
For others: 5

We have a July vacation that will add to this, but I think we are doing okay for the year.
« Last Edit: June 26, 2017, 06:52:12 AM by iowajes »

monstermonster

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #110 on: June 26, 2017, 09:50:57 AM »
International work trip followed by conference back home, and I need a reset on no eating out.

Spent €79.65 in a week in Amsterdam on eating out, which was frugal for most-meals-out-for-a-week (only a few provided conference meals), but greater spending than the previous three months combined.

I think July will be no eating out at all, though it is my 30th birthday, I think I'm more into a nice meal at home (I'm hosting a huge event the next day and need to conserve energy).
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iowajes

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #111 on: July 09, 2017, 12:47:07 PM »
Our city had a free music festival yesterday, so we stopped by to try a new beer and listen to a band (plus got a 5 mile walk in). We ate at the food trucks, so now we are at:

DH:13
Me: 10
For others: 5

This seems like a lot. We have a multi generation family vacation next week so the numbers will likely double. Will probably only do breakfast in...

OurTown

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #112 on: July 10, 2017, 07:30:51 AM »
Actually, I have not been inside a restaurant in July!  Improvement?  Yes.

Chesleygirl

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #113 on: July 12, 2017, 12:39:38 PM »
Re: Restaurants.  It's now customary to tip 20% or more for the meal. I've heard of customers being confronted by management when they left "only" a 25% tip. I have nothing against tipping, but it used to be 15% was customary. So due to the increase, I no longer dine out at sit-down restaurants. That means, of course they don't get my business anymore but I also win because I save a LOT of money this way.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2017, 05:51:07 PM by Chesleygirl »

Cassie

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #114 on: July 12, 2017, 03:20:53 PM »
WE always tip 20% unless the service is bad or the waiter very rude. In many states the workers only make less then 3/hour so need to make up the salary with tips. Thankfully a few states require them to be paid minimum wage.

Chesleygirl

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #115 on: July 12, 2017, 05:51:42 PM »
I don't tip at all because I don't dine out at restaurants.

iowajes

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #116 on: July 13, 2017, 05:43:23 PM »
Got caught between appts and hadn't packed a sandwich. Spent $2.64 at McDonald's.

DH:13
Me: 11
For others: 5

Week long extended family vacation next week, so I expect this to go up a lot.

cantgrowone

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #117 on: July 13, 2017, 09:20:56 PM »
Hi. I fought the urge to eat out after seeing this. Might do lunch tomorrow that could lead to a new job though.

Keep it up guys!

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iowajes

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #118 on: July 24, 2017, 06:53:02 AM »
Just got back from vacation- 7 days-, and we did okay with eating out- lots of cooking and breakfasts in the unit.

Meals out:
Travel day from 10 am- 2 am (weather delays!) bought Subway for each of us on the way to the airport for lunch. Dinner we had snacks in the Admirals lounge, nothing purchased.  Also ate packed snacks

-"Entertainment" we did a pizza crawl of Lake George. Wasn't too expensive (about $15 total)- but I'll count this as lunch for DH and I both.

-We did a dinner at Texas roadhouse, but parents paid, so that doesn't count by my rules.

-DH and I went and ate Sandwiches in town one day for lunch. These were SO good.

-Entire family went to a fancy dinner, so that counts for both DH and I. It cost a fortune ($60 each!!)- since we 'split the bill evenly', as a non-drinker, I got totally screwed. My pasta was overcooked and I'm still annoyed by this one because we had said we weren't going because of the baby, got guilted into going and it was not a fun or tasty evening.

-Went into town and bought a whole pizza for us and our (teenage) cousins. So that ups DH and I by 1 each, and we purchased for 2 other people.

-Travel day: again started the day with Subway for each of us.  Gave in to airport food and each had dinner at a burrito place (no chinese place for our traditional shared meal). DH's was good, mine was crappy- should have just stuck to packed granola bars.

So 7 days of vacation and purchased 7 meals each, plus 2 for others.  Since we ate 21+ times, I think we did okay.


Year to date:
DH: 20
Me: 18
For others: 7

Rimu05

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #119 on: July 24, 2017, 12:03:53 PM »
I moved out of my aunt's house and finally have a kitchen I can use myself so I am in on this. I can finally cook. I am taking it slow. Last week, I brought lunch three days out of the week and then ate out for the other two.

I need to find a way to meal prep mid week and put a twist on my dishes. With beef stew it's easy, but not so much with beans and soups...

While I go to the farmers market which is very affordable, I buy spices, pound cake and some things I can only find at Whole foods from whole foods. I no longer buy veggies there though. Not when I can leave the farmers market with my arms hurting and only have spent $10.

On this note, somewhat suck at grocery shopping and meal planning. I am still twiddling with recipes so we'll see what happens.

iowajes

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #120 on: July 29, 2017, 10:00:02 AM »
No excuses here, but the Thai last night was great. My tally is getting sadly high (vacations really hit it)

Year to date:
DH: 21
Me: 19
For others: 7

marble_faun

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #121 on: August 12, 2017, 12:18:54 AM »
Have been traveling a lot, which throws my cooking habit all out of whack.  Blah.

It's especially rough, because nowadays I often don't like restaurant meals as much as my own home-cooked dishes. I worry about the quality of ingredients (especially when asked to pay $2 extra for "real maple syrup" -- seriously! Even somewhat hip-seeming breakfast places are charging customers extra to avoid high-fructose corn syrup!).  I don't love having to wait for a seat or having a waiter hovering around. I can make great meals myself, exactly they way I want them to be, for much less money and effort!
« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 05:36:09 PM by marble_faun »
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marble_faun

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #122 on: August 26, 2017, 05:57:52 PM »
Back from another long trip.  I ate out so much and hemorrhaged money. Failure!

Then I came home to a nigh-empty fridge. Thought about ordering take-out, then face-punched myself. Instead I'm going to open a can of tuna, add a few seasonings, and eat it straight up.  I also have some almond butter I can eat.

Tangent:

It's strange, but I'm realizing that I don't yearn for travel as much as I used to.  I have focused more on contentment in my own home environment and inner world, to the point where there is nowhere I would rather be, than where I am. Travel is about disrupting my routines and experiencing something new, but I am always so relieved and happy to come home.
"Time flies pursue it Man. For why? thy days are but a Span."

Travis

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #123 on: August 26, 2017, 06:22:50 PM »
After a 3 week summer vacation I'm definitely done with restaurants for a while.  Having said that, this month I ate some high-quality pizza at a going-away party for work and went to nearby office building cafeteria for lunch on Thursday. They served a fresh buffalo chicken salad for $5 that was enough food to split into two meals.  It was good and I thought I got a good value, but that may be a once a month treat with coworkers since I usually bring my own.  I lucked out with the pizza too. We had such a large group that the restaurant accidentally made an extra pizza. Since I was the last person there to pay my bill they asked if I wanted to take it home for free. 

As a family we haven't eaten out in over a month, which helps the numbers game since we're hosting a handful of people tonight and bought some Papa Murphy's pizzas for dinner.  We ordered online and as we frowned at the total, we realized we still had a cheap frozen pizza we could give to the kids tonight which knocked about $15 off the order.  We've been disappointed and disgusted the last couple times we went to a major sit-down chain so our list of "approved" places to eat has dwindled quite a bit.  I still enjoy sampling new places when I travel on business since it's not coming out of my pocket.

A "normal" month for us eating out over the last year has been $100-$150. 
-$20 DW Starbucks
-$20 lunch with coworkers
-$30 DW lunch with coworkers
-$20 fast food for DS when we drag him around for long shopping trips

I'm happy when we can keep it to $100. This year DW is telecommuting so the work-related lunches and snacks should be consistently lower.
« Last Edit: August 26, 2017, 06:40:54 PM by Travis »

iowajes

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #124 on: August 27, 2017, 12:09:18 PM »
Got caught at an appt for 2 hours longer than planned and my blood sugar dipped way low. DH and I split a sandwich at subway.

Year to date:
DH: 21.5
Me: 19.5
For others: 7

I wish I had kept track of money spent too. The count seems insanely high, but many of the meals were super cheap.

Lentils4Lunch

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #125 on: August 27, 2017, 07:46:46 PM »
I'd like to be part of this thread, even though 2017 is 2/3 over... So, are you just keeping a running tally of the number of times you've eaten at a restaurant this year? I'm too lazy to read through the whole thread...

iowajes

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #126 on: August 27, 2017, 07:48:19 PM »
I'd like to be part of this thread, even though 2017 is 2/3 over... So, are you just keeping a running tally of the number of times you've eaten at a restaurant this year? I'm too lazy to read through the whole thread...

That's what I'm doing, but not everyone.
Not just restaurants though, anytime I buy prepared food out, even if I eat it at home, or if it is grocery store prepared food takeout.
Mine is only when I pay. I'm perfectly happy to eat at a restaurant on company dime, for instance.

iowajes

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #127 on: September 03, 2017, 10:44:28 AM »
Year to date:
DH: 22.5
Me: 20.5
For others: 7

Got a groupon, so it was a great price, but we went out again.  You know, we go out way less than "normal", and the vacations really upped the counts, but this is really adding up!

OurTown

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #128 on: September 05, 2017, 09:39:12 AM »
I've been to restaurants a whole lot less recently because I've been doing more intermittent fasting.

We wen't to Gus's Fried Chicken on Sunday.  Yum yum.  That's it for the month so far.  I think we may go out on Saturday.

marble_faun

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #129 on: September 15, 2017, 04:49:47 PM »
Have been on a good restaurant-free streak!

One thing that has helped is keeping around healthy-ish canned goods for times when I'm starved but don't feel like cooking. My typical meal is home-cooked, but a can of vegetarian chili can function as a kind of "harm reduction."

I keep a supply of high-fiber, high-protein snacks around, mainly almonds, roasted chickpeas, and ingredients for fruit smoothies.  These are quick and filling and help take the edge off. They have been crucial to success.

I'm also getting into tofu, which is not something I have normally eaten. But I like it because it doesn't require as much care or thought as meat preparation.

With this, I have lost 15 pounds since last year and have not felt deprived at all!  Nor have I changed my exercise routine. I attribute this to avoiding take-out carbs, like the croissant at the coffee shop and the white rice that comes with Thai curry.

Plus, as I educated myself more about fresh ingredients and whole foods, some switch flipped in my mind, and I now view junk food as distasteful.  (My whole diet used to pretty much be take-out, brunch, and junk food.)
« Last Edit: September 15, 2017, 04:54:59 PM by marble_faun »
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TempusFugit

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Re: Stop Eating at $&%@#$! Restaurants, THE RETURN: 2017
« Reply #130 on: September 17, 2017, 03:03:44 PM »
I'll add my view here, even though it isn't completely in harmony with the thread title.  I don't want to stop eating at restaurants, but I do recognize how much $ I am spending for this particular 'hobby'.  So maybe 'moderate' my habit of restaurant dining is a more accurate goal for me. 

I very rarely eat lunch anyplace but at home.  I'm fortunate enough to live near work so I come home almost every day for lunch and make a sandwich, etc.  I realize that I'm being half wasteful here in that I do travel home for that lunch rather than just take lunch with me, but darn it, I really enjoy the break from the office.  I have time to eat lunch and then read a little or play with the cat or just sit outside on my deck on a nice afternoon for a few minutes before re-engaging in the office.  About twice a month I will meet a friend for a cheap ($10) lunch.  So that's not my issue.  My issue is eating dinner out about 3 nights a week. 

Being single, approaching middle age, and living in suburbia, I have found restaurants to be my social activity.  I have a few that I frequent pretty much weekly and I almost always have an enjoyable experience meeting up with other friends that I have met in this context.  So I don't really want to eliminate this from my life. 

That being said, I do recognize 2 negatives that result from this choice of recreation.  One is the fact that I drink more than I should.  I don't ever really get drunk, mind you, because my consumption is spread out over several hours (usually 3+, I make a night of it), but the total intake is probably bad for my health.  On a Friday and Saturday night, I consume about 3-4 drinks. Sometimes 5.  And this is directly correlated with the second negative, which is the amount of money I spend on a weekly basis.  My restaurants of choice are the kind with $12 cocktails and $16 glasses of wine, so I spend an average of $85 for a meal.  Now, I get some fantastic meals for that money, but it's still a lot of money. 

This was a habit that I got into several years ago when I was doing a lot of freelance work in addition to my 9-5.  I would come home from the office and spend a couple hours working on my side gig and then I'd find myself hungry and ready to get out of the house.  The extra dough rolling in from the freelance work made it really easy to rationalize spending lots of money to blow off steam and relax.  Then it became a habit.  I am a creature of routine.  To a fault.

When I stumbled upon MMM and the FIRE culture earlier this year, I had a bit of an awakening.  I didn't realize how close I was to FI. I knew that I had FU money (a few years of cushion should I lose my job), but I didn't know the (ridiculously simple) math behind early retirement.  Now, instead of a far off goal in 10-12 years, I see that I'm only a few years away.  That makes it much more real and actionable.   

I started by actually looking at my spending in this area.  I knew I was spending a lot, of course, but I wasn't really tracking it and putting a number to it.  Since I always use a CC, I was able to review my annual expenditures at my regular dining establishments.  That was...unpleasant.  Being somewhat a glutton for punishment, I even did the math on the opportunity cost for that money.  So I decided to make some changes.

The first thing I've done is to eliminate one night (mid week) of dining out.  That was something that I had most recently added and was the least enjoyable to me, bank-for-buck speaking.   I was not generally meeting up with friends for that meal, so it wasn't as social as other nights.  So, low hanging fruit, so to speak. 

Next, I've begun to pay more attention to how much I'm spending at a meal.  I'm buying smaller / less expensive portions and maybe reducing the drink count by 1.  Baby steps.    I'm also eliminating one or two of the weekend night outings each month.  These rather small and (we'll see) painless changes should reduce my monthly spend by something like $350 - $400.

I am fully aware that even after these changes I'm spending what many (in this community) would consider a ridiculous amount of money at restaurants.  But in my view, spending is ok so long as it isn't creating (or prolonging) debt and, importantly, it needs to be mindful.  So long as I know what I'm spending and I make the conscious decision that it is a trade-off I'm willing to make, then so be it.