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Around the Internet => Antimustachian Wall of Shame and Comedy => Topic started by: Sid Hoffman on March 06, 2015, 10:07:17 AM

Title: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Sid Hoffman on March 06, 2015, 10:07:17 AM
This is actually a really disturbing trend, as it seems to be part of a long-term culture shift.  The writer says this is GOOD news because it means the economy must be strong, but of course we all know this is false economy.  It would be like if Americans were spending $300/month for cable TV.  Sure, that's neat if everyone could afford that, but it is still wasteful compared to cheaper alternatives.

http://finance.yahoo.com/news/january-spending-bars-restaurants-topped-234607886.html

Quote
In January, Americans spent more at bars and restaurants than at grocery stores.

This chart, which we first saw from economist Mark Perry, shows that in January, spending at bars at restaurants totaled $50,475,000,000 against $50,466,000,000 spent at grocery stores.

Earlier in February, we highlighted this chart, which showed that spending at restaurants and bars rose 11.3% over the prior year, boosted by an increase in consumer confidence as gas prices crashed in the second half of 2014.

A serious sign of strength in discretionary spending from American consumers.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: dragoncar on March 06, 2015, 01:00:19 PM
That's so easy though.  My groceries for the month are like $5 of lentils.  That's one lunch out in SF.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: MgoSam on March 06, 2015, 01:26:09 PM
That's so easy though.  My groceries for the month are like $5 of lentils.  That's one lunch out in SF.

$5 for a lunch in SF? That might be on the lighter side from what I have read about prices in SF. How do you cook the lentils, and please let me know if you have any recommendations. I am not a huge fan of daal, so looking for easy things to do with it.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: skunkfunk on March 06, 2015, 01:41:48 PM
My lentil farm, a few guys came by and cleaned it up today. Most unfortunate, I'll have to start over.

 (http://media.cmgdigital.com/shared/lt/lt_cache/thumbnail/615/img/photos/2013/01/29/2c/60/camp.jpg)
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: dragoncar on March 06, 2015, 02:05:13 PM
That's so easy though.  My groceries for the month are like $5 of lentils.  That's one lunch out in SF.

$5 for a lunch in SF? That might be on the lighter side from what I have read about prices in SF. How do you cook the lentils, and please let me know if you have any recommendations. I am not a huge fan of daal, so looking for easy things to do with it.

Depends where you go, of course.

I like basic lentils cooked in a pressure cooker with onions, carrots, celery, and stock.  Add some seasonings and hot sauce.  Simple but nice.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: MoneyRx on March 06, 2015, 02:14:47 PM
Going to rant a bit: Saw this today and wasn't too surprised. I am starting to get to the point where I am a little bit disgusted with myself when I go out to eat, both for financial and health reasons. An easy way to sum it up is I feel stupid for being there. There is often a line of people waiting to be seated, and for everyone there its just the norm. There are tons of restaurants around here and most seem to be making a killing. There seems to be a high portion of lazy, self-entitled, and generally overweight and unhealthy people eating in restaurants when I go. I get that it feels easy and convenient, but the time it often takes is longer than preparing and eating at home, and at a much higher cost. Even if it is just my wife and I going, it seems the bill is always $30+ and usually ~$50 after tip for a meal that is generally unhealthy and some times could have been made at home.
It can be fun to eat out with friends/family, but in my opinion it is one of the most un-mustachian things out there.
Sorry, rant over.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: mm1970 on March 06, 2015, 02:35:34 PM
Eating out can be a hard habit to break.  At the beginning of the year, I made a commitment to cut our grocery bill, but then our eating out bill went through the roof.  And much of it was laziness.  Hey, we just finished swim lessons, let's stop.  Oh, let's go get ice cream.  Hey, there's a fundraiser for the school. Let's meet at the burger place for fun!

So I made a commitment about 3 weeks ago that we wouldn't eat out until our vacation in late March.  (With a few exceptions: if someone else is paying-work lunch, if we already paid for it-gift card or once a week school lunch, and for my son's birthday party.)

It has been incredibly hard.  Invited out for several things - girl's night, toddler group at the burger place.  Today we are having layoffs at work and people went out for tacos.  I've been out a couple of times for pre-paid events, and we went out for beer last night because of the looming layoffs (someone else paid though).  Depending on your group of friends, avoiding meals out is a challenge.

My husband was traveling this week and obviously ate out a lot.  I pieced together a random selection of food for lunch today.  But he decided to go out because there really wasn't anything for him to take that didn't require a lot of prep.

Three weeks down and three more to go.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: MoneyRx on March 06, 2015, 03:54:20 PM
Eating out can be a hard habit to break.  At the beginning of the year, I made a commitment to cut our grocery bill, but then our eating out bill went through the roof.  And much of it was laziness.  Hey, we just finished swim lessons, let's stop.  Oh, let's go get ice cream.  Hey, there's a fundraiser for the school. Let's meet at the burger place for fun!

So I made a commitment about 3 weeks ago that we wouldn't eat out until our vacation in late March.  (With a few exceptions: if someone else is paying-work lunch, if we already paid for it-gift card or once a week school lunch, and for my son's birthday party.)

It has been incredibly hard.  Invited out for several things - girl's night, toddler group at the burger place.  Today we are having layoffs at work and people went out for tacos.  I've been out a couple of times for pre-paid events, and we went out for beer last night because of the looming layoffs (someone else paid though).  Depending on your group of friends, avoiding meals out is a challenge.

My husband was traveling this week and obviously ate out a lot.  I pieced together a random selection of food for lunch today.  But he decided to go out because there really wasn't anything for him to take that didn't require a lot of prep.

Three weeks down and three more to go.

Baby steps. It is difficult to do, especially when getting together with friends often involves going out to eat. I have not found a way around this, although some have suggested hosting pot lucks. I have gone to friends houses where they are grilling and its just bring whatever you want to grill and this works really well. My feelings stated above still stand, but for the most part right now, we generally just go out to eat and have a good time while still trying to stay conscious of spending and health...there are other ways to save money.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Gen Y Finance Journey on March 06, 2015, 03:54:35 PM
I was initially surprised that bar/restaurant spending could have only just surpassed grocery store spending -- surely people have been spending more going out to eat than they have on groceries for years!

Then I realized I was thinking in terms of my $300/month grocery spend, not the $500-1000/month that most people spend.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: WildJager on March 07, 2015, 10:36:13 AM
Eating out can be a hard habit to break.  At the beginning of the year, I made a commitment to cut our grocery bill, but then our eating out bill went through the roof.  And much of it was laziness.  Hey, we just finished swim lessons, let's stop.  Oh, let's go get ice cream.  Hey, there's a fundraiser for the school. Let's meet at the burger place for fun!

So I made a commitment about 3 weeks ago that we wouldn't eat out until our vacation in late March.  (With a few exceptions: if someone else is paying-work lunch, if we already paid for it-gift card or once a week school lunch, and for my son's birthday party.)

It has been incredibly hard.  Invited out for several things - girl's night, toddler group at the burger place.  Today we are having layoffs at work and people went out for tacos.  I've been out a couple of times for pre-paid events, and we went out for beer last night because of the looming layoffs (someone else paid though).  Depending on your group of friends, avoiding meals out is a challenge.

My husband was traveling this week and obviously ate out a lot.  I pieced together a random selection of food for lunch today.  But he decided to go out because there really wasn't anything for him to take that didn't require a lot of prep.

Three weeks down and three more to go.

Baby steps. It is difficult to do, especially when getting together with friends often involves going out to eat. I have not found a way around this, although some have suggested hosting pot lucks. I have gone to friends houses where they are grilling and its just bring whatever you want to grill and this works really well. My feelings stated above still stand, but for the most part right now, we generally just go out to eat and have a good time while still trying to stay conscious of spending and health...there are other ways to save money.

My wife and I invite our friends over all the time for nice home cooked meals on the weekends.  A lot of people elect not to come and eat out instead.  A lot of that is simply so they can go hit up the night life afterwords (clubs and what not), but it blows my mind that they'd rather pay to sit at a restaurant than eat a real meal for free.  Their loss I guess.

Recently I was out of town for a work function.  There was a grill outside of where we lived, and I offered to grill up some steaks for everyone.  The group decided to go downtown to a steak house instead.  All I could do was laugh it off... and decline the invitation to go.  It saddens me that we as a society would rather go out to eat and be served on than gather around a fire and enjoy a nice night together.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Otsog on March 07, 2015, 12:14:46 PM
I love that you can see a grocery spike for Y2K
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Cassie on March 07, 2015, 12:25:34 PM
WE go out to eat about 1x per week. We sometimes go with friends & sometimes cook for friends instead. It is a social event either way. The restaurant portions are so big that I cut my meal in half & have enough for another meal. We did not do this when young but now at 60 we intend to enjoy ourselves.  It brings us great value but for others that may not be the case. If we get invited to someone's house for dinner we always go. I can't imagine turning down an invite just to eat out. 
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: MoneyCat on March 07, 2015, 12:40:15 PM
I hope other people continue to waste their money on bars and restaurants, because it will increase the value of my stocks.  Throw your money away, sheep.  I will take your money.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Cassie on March 07, 2015, 12:52:55 PM
Spending your $ in line with your values does not make people sheep-mindless spending & keeping up with the Jones's does. YOu will find that as you age your priorities will change & you will value experiences much more then things.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Davids on March 07, 2015, 01:43:51 PM
Eating out can be a hard habit to break.  At the beginning of the year, I made a commitment to cut our grocery bill, but then our eating out bill went through the roof.  And much of it was laziness.  Hey, we just finished swim lessons, let's stop.  Oh, let's go get ice cream.  Hey, there's a fundraiser for the school. Let's meet at the burger place for fun!

So I made a commitment about 3 weeks ago that we wouldn't eat out until our vacation in late March.  (With a few exceptions: if someone else is paying-work lunch, if we already paid for it-gift card or once a week school lunch, and for my son's birthday party.)

It has been incredibly hard.  Invited out for several things - girl's night, toddler group at the burger place.  Today we are having layoffs at work and people went out for tacos.  I've been out a couple of times for pre-paid events, and we went out for beer last night because of the looming layoffs (someone else paid though).  Depending on your group of friends, avoiding meals out is a challenge.

My husband was traveling this week and obviously ate out a lot.  I pieced together a random selection of food for lunch today.  But he decided to go out because there really wasn't anything for him to take that didn't require a lot of prep.

Three weeks down and three more to go.

Baby steps. It is difficult to do, especially when getting together with friends often involves going out to eat. I have not found a way around this, although some have suggested hosting pot lucks. I have gone to friends houses where they are grilling and its just bring whatever you want to grill and this works really well. My feelings stated above still stand, but for the most part right now, we generally just go out to eat and have a good time while still trying to stay conscious of spending and health...there are other ways to save money.

My wife and I invite our friends over all the time for nice home cooked meals on the weekends.  A lot of people elect not to come and eat out instead.  A lot of that is simply so they can go hit up the night life afterwords (clubs and what not), but it blows my mind that they'd rather pay to sit at a restaurant than eat a real meal for free.  Their loss I guess.

Recently I was out of town for a work function.  There was a grill outside of where we lived, and I offered to grill up some steaks for everyone.  The group decided to go downtown to a steak house instead.  All I could do was laugh it off... and decline the invitation to go.  It saddens me that we as a society would rather go out to eat and be served on than gather around a fire and enjoy a nice night together.
To be fair on your last paragraph, you were out of town for a work function so the the group going downtown to a steakhouse for dinner was most likely doing it on the company dime anyways.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: aschmidt2930 on March 07, 2015, 02:37:24 PM
I see nothing surprising about this.  I also think it depends on the person to whether this is unreasonable or not.  For a young, single, person whose grocery bill is about $35/wk at Aldi, I don't see it as a problem.  If we're talking about a family of five who shops at Whole Foods, then yeah, this is likely a huge problem. 
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: WildJager on March 07, 2015, 03:18:29 PM
Eating out can be a hard habit to break.  At the beginning of the year, I made a commitment to cut our grocery bill, but then our eating out bill went through the roof.  And much of it was laziness.  Hey, we just finished swim lessons, let's stop.  Oh, let's go get ice cream.  Hey, there's a fundraiser for the school. Let's meet at the burger place for fun!

So I made a commitment about 3 weeks ago that we wouldn't eat out until our vacation in late March.  (With a few exceptions: if someone else is paying-work lunch, if we already paid for it-gift card or once a week school lunch, and for my son's birthday party.)

It has been incredibly hard.  Invited out for several things - girl's night, toddler group at the burger place.  Today we are having layoffs at work and people went out for tacos.  I've been out a couple of times for pre-paid events, and we went out for beer last night because of the looming layoffs (someone else paid though).  Depending on your group of friends, avoiding meals out is a challenge.

My husband was traveling this week and obviously ate out a lot.  I pieced together a random selection of food for lunch today.  But he decided to go out because there really wasn't anything for him to take that didn't require a lot of prep.

Three weeks down and three more to go.

Baby steps. It is difficult to do, especially when getting together with friends often involves going out to eat. I have not found a way around this, although some have suggested hosting pot lucks. I have gone to friends houses where they are grilling and its just bring whatever you want to grill and this works really well. My feelings stated above still stand, but for the most part right now, we generally just go out to eat and have a good time while still trying to stay conscious of spending and health...there are other ways to save money.

My wife and I invite our friends over all the time for nice home cooked meals on the weekends.  A lot of people elect not to come and eat out instead.  A lot of that is simply so they can go hit up the night life afterwords (clubs and what not), but it blows my mind that they'd rather pay to sit at a restaurant than eat a real meal for free.  Their loss I guess.

Recently I was out of town for a work function.  There was a grill outside of where we lived, and I offered to grill up some steaks for everyone.  The group decided to go downtown to a steak house instead.  All I could do was laugh it off... and decline the invitation to go.  It saddens me that we as a society would rather go out to eat and be served on than gather around a fire and enjoy a nice night together.
To be fair on your last paragraph, you were out of town for a work function so the the group going downtown to a steakhouse for dinner was most likely doing it on the company dime anyways.

Nah, military.  We get some per diem, so I guess you could call that "on the company dime," but it really just supplements your paycheck.

I just save the extra.  Most people do consider it "free money" and blow it, however.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Sid Hoffman on March 07, 2015, 03:42:54 PM
Nah, military.  We get some per diem, so I guess you could call that "on the company dime," but it really just supplements your paycheck.

I just save the extra.  Most people do consider it "free money" and blow it, however.

I was going to ask about it too, since I've seen companies that do it each way.  Like my current company issues a corporate Visa and you just save the receipts so you can match up your receipt with whatever charges are on the corporate Visa card.  However for ones where they just tell you it's $10-$15+25 (breakfast, lunch, dinner) then I would basically bring food, mooch off others, or even stop by a grocery store rather than go out to restaurants.  Like you said, it's effectively just part of your paycheck if they're doing it per diem.  Very different mindset than when they give you a company card and you can spend all the way up to the meal limit.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: MoneyCat on March 07, 2015, 03:45:13 PM
I've never really understood the appeal of drinking at a bar.  You generally get one beer for the retail cost of a six-pack and everything is really loud and you don't get to control the music.  Meanwhile, drunk people rub up against you and proposition you and there may be a fight or two and you can't even hear the commentators on the game on the TV screens that are smaller than the one you have at home.  Why not just buy a case of beer and invite some friends over?  Seems like a better and much cheaper way to have some suds and socializing.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: caliq on March 07, 2015, 03:53:51 PM
I've never really understood the appeal of drinking at a bar.  You generally get one beer for the retail cost of a six-pack and everything is really loud and you don't get to control the music.  Meanwhile, drunk people rub up against you and proposition you and there may be a fight or two and you can't even hear the commentators on the game on the TV screens that are smaller than the one you have at home.  Why not just buy a case of beer and invite some friends over?  Seems like a better and much cheaper way to have some suds and socializing.

+1

Plus you have to worry about driving home...
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: dragoncar on March 07, 2015, 09:18:34 PM
I've never really understood the appeal of drinking at a bar.  You generally get one beer for the retail cost of a six-pack and everything is really loud and you don't get to control the music.  Meanwhile, drunk people rub up against you and proposition you and there may be a fight or two and you can't even hear the commentators on the game on the TV screens that are smaller than the one you have at home.  Why not just buy a case of beer and invite some friends over?  Seems like a better and much cheaper way to have some suds and socializing.

You answered your own question, I think.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Bob W on March 07, 2015, 09:42:03 PM
Nothing better than drinking at a bar with friends.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: MoneyCat on March 08, 2015, 09:32:47 AM
I've never really understood the appeal of drinking at a bar.  You generally get one beer for the retail cost of a six-pack and everything is really loud and you don't get to control the music.  Meanwhile, drunk people rub up against you and proposition you and there may be a fight or two and you can't even hear the commentators on the game on the TV screens that are smaller than the one you have at home.  Why not just buy a case of beer and invite some friends over?  Seems like a better and much cheaper way to have some suds and socializing.

You answered your own question, I think.

I guess some people have a fetish for alcoholism?  Still don't get it.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: clarkfan1979 on March 08, 2015, 01:08:10 PM
Some of my inner city friends claim that it's cheaper to eat out than go to the grocery store. Could this be possible in an urban setting? I don't see this as realistic in the suburbs.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Ftao93 on March 08, 2015, 02:23:24 PM
Some of my inner city friends claim that it's cheaper to eat out than go to the grocery store. Could this be possible in an urban setting? I don't see this as realistic in the suburbs.

Not terribly realistic in the urban sense! 

$150 is a big, maybe 3 week grocery bill.   Eating out is $20 easy, more if I have drinks (and I WILL!).

We still spend way too much out, but we've cut down.  I figure I don't mind eating a meal out now and again, so long as it's not 4x week+ 2 more drinks or something.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: randymarsh on March 08, 2015, 03:11:58 PM
Some of my inner city friends claim that it's cheaper to eat out than go to the grocery store. Could this be possible in an urban setting? I don't see this as realistic in the suburbs.

Really depends on what they're buying at the grocery store. There's a lot of pricey convenience items at the grocery that I'm sure many city dwellers, especially young ones, buy: precut fruits/vegetables, food in single serving containers, etc.

There's also the growing trend of spending tons of money at places like Whole Foods. I've been to a few in my city and they're typically packed and the shoppers tend to be younger.

I will say that some eating out isn't as expensive as it initially looks. You get a huge amount of calories from a $7 Chipotle burrito. If I eat it all at lunch, I'm probably going to have a very light dinner. Or I can split it and get two meals.

I'm single, live in a urban area, and my average 6 month food spend is $470. This includes groceries (lots of home/toiletry stuff in here), restaurants, and alcohol. My average 3 month is $330 as I've cut back on alcohol and made smarter grocery decisions. There's no way eating out is cheaper unless you're buying the expensive version of everything at the grocery.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Indexer on March 08, 2015, 06:32:02 PM
This is probably true for me.  Its not because I spend outrageous amounts eating out.  Its because I'm single and when I buy food at the grocery store its for 1 person who isn't picky at all.  I buy lots of stuff for sandwiches, rice, and such.  My dinner tonight will cost me $1.20, and my lunch cost me $0.74.  I did however also snack on some trail mix earlier.  I can easily buy enough food for two weeks on $60.  Now if I go out to eat with friends, or if we all pitch in and make a meal I could end up spending $20-30.  So just eating out once a week and my eating out budget equals my grocery bill.  I am guilty of eating out more than once a week.

My eating out budget is the one area where I'm not very mustachian, but spending time with friends(who aren't all mustachian) is something I enjoy.  For me the difference between being frugal and enjoying it vs being miserable is being able to eat out occasionally with friends.  I was averaging around $350/month total food budget(grocery+eating out), but that has been a little higher lately because I did some traveling to see family.  This month will probably end up around $360. 
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: 2Birds1Stone on March 08, 2015, 06:52:57 PM
With a $150 a month grocery budget, which I stay well under most months, I definitely fit into this category as well. =D
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: capital on March 08, 2015, 11:10:38 PM
My eating out budget is the one area where I'm not very mustachian, but spending time with friends(who aren't all mustachian) is something I enjoy.  For me the difference between being frugal and enjoying it vs being miserable is being able to eat out occasionally with friends.
Samesies.

Also I live in New York, where eating out means sampling ethnic food from just about anywhere on Earth, as opposed to the same ol' chain restaurants. There's no way I could get anywhere near as good at cooking more than, say, 2 of those cuisines.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: GuitarStv on March 09, 2015, 06:51:01 AM
I've never really understood the appeal of drinking at a bar.  You generally get one beer for the retail cost of a six-pack and everything is really loud and you don't get to control the music.  Meanwhile, drunk people rub up against you and proposition you and there may be a fight or two and you can't even hear the commentators on the game on the TV screens that are smaller than the one you have at home.  Why not just buy a case of beer and invite some friends over?  Seems like a better and much cheaper way to have some suds and socializing.

You answered your own question, I think.

I guess some people have a fetish for alcoholism?  Still don't get it.

Live music.  Drinking at a small hole in the wall bar with a few friends and listening to a decent blues band is pretty awesome.

There are other types of bars . . . some that require you sweatily gyrate at other people while screaming "HELLO?  HELLO?" over loud music, and some where there's a blaring TV in the corner.  Those ones I don't really get either.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Zikoris on March 09, 2015, 09:19:54 AM
Interesting. Last year we spent $257 on restaurants and $2426 on groceries. So far in 2015 we're at $74 for restaurants and $470 for groceries. Somehow I don't think we'll be part of this statistic.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: skunkfunk on March 09, 2015, 10:15:59 AM

My wife and I invite our friends over all the time for nice home cooked meals on the weekends.  A lot of people elect not to come and eat out instead.  A lot of that is simply so they can go hit up the night life afterwords (clubs and what not), but it blows my mind that they'd rather pay to sit at a restaurant than eat a real meal for free.  Their loss I guess.


I have friends over most Saturday nights for D&D. They typically bring fast food rather than eat whatever I'm cooking. "Nah, I don't want chicken tonight, sorry." Impossible to satisfy everybody. Made yellow curry last Saturday and only 4 of us ate it.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Pooperman on March 09, 2015, 11:48:00 AM
Showed this to fiance. Reply: "Everyone is too lazy to cook."
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: hernandz on March 09, 2015, 04:01:05 PM
While catching up on laundry, there was a marathon of "Bar Rescue" and I thought it very interesting that the host considered each bar stool as generating $10K/year.  In some of the episodes, they spoke about a patron stays almost an hour longer if the bar offers food, and will therefore purchase more drinks while eating. Wish I remember the average upsell, but I'm not a drinker so it didn't stick in my head.

Of course, much of the show is about the thrill of the trainwreck -- the more temper tantrums and food safety violations they can pack in, the more profitable the show apparently. 
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: GuitarStv on March 10, 2015, 07:03:34 AM
Interesting. Last year we spent $257 on restaurants and $2426 on groceries. So far in 2015 we're at $74 for restaurants and $470 for groceries. Somehow I don't think we'll be part of this statistic.

Last year we were 20$ spend on restaurants and about 2600$ on groceries.  We're aiming for 0$ this year.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: rocksinmyhead on March 10, 2015, 08:09:55 AM
Going to rant a bit: Saw this today and wasn't too surprised. I am starting to get to the point where I am a little bit disgusted with myself when I go out to eat, both for financial and health reasons. An easy way to sum it up is I feel stupid for being there. There is often a line of people waiting to be seated, and for everyone there its just the norm. There are tons of restaurants around here and most seem to be making a killing. There seems to be a high portion of lazy, self-entitled, and generally overweight and unhealthy people eating in restaurants when I go. I get that it feels easy and convenient, but the time it often takes is longer than preparing and eating at home, and at a much higher cost. Even if it is just my wife and I going, it seems the bill is always $30+ and usually ~$50 after tip for a meal that is generally unhealthy and some times could have been made at home.
It can be fun to eat out with friends/family, but in my opinion it is one of the most un-mustachian things out there.
Sorry, rant over.

yeah this (bolded part) is what I always point out to my boyfriend. honestly unless I am SUPER exhausted and our kitchen is a mess and/or we're low on groceries (the latter basically never happens), going out to eat is usually more of a hassle than cooking something basic yet delicious at home.

Eating out can be a hard habit to break.  At the beginning of the year, I made a commitment to cut our grocery bill, but then our eating out bill went through the roof.  And much of it was laziness.  Hey, we just finished swim lessons, let's stop.  Oh, let's go get ice cream.  Hey, there's a fundraiser for the school. Let's meet at the burger place for fun!

So I made a commitment about 3 weeks ago that we wouldn't eat out until our vacation in late March.  (With a few exceptions: if someone else is paying-work lunch, if we already paid for it-gift card or once a week school lunch, and for my son's birthday party.)

It has been incredibly hard.  Invited out for several things - girl's night, toddler group at the burger place.  Today we are having layoffs at work and people went out for tacos.  I've been out a couple of times for pre-paid events, and we went out for beer last night because of the looming layoffs (someone else paid though).  Depending on your group of friends, avoiding meals out is a challenge.

My husband was traveling this week and obviously ate out a lot.  I pieced together a random selection of food for lunch today.  But he decided to go out because there really wasn't anything for him to take that didn't require a lot of prep.

Three weeks down and three more to go.

Baby steps. It is difficult to do, especially when getting together with friends often involves going out to eat. I have not found a way around this, although some have suggested hosting pot lucks. I have gone to friends houses where they are grilling and its just bring whatever you want to grill and this works really well. My feelings stated above still stand, but for the most part right now, we generally just go out to eat and have a good time while still trying to stay conscious of spending and health...there are other ways to save money.

I'm really excited now that it's getting warm out again, our group of friends will start getting together to eat at each other's houses more often instead of going out. I mean people have potlucks and stuff in the winter too, but most of us have pretty small houses but nice outdoor spaces, plus grilling is just so easy in a big group.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: powersuitrecall on March 10, 2015, 10:30:46 AM
A co-worker confessed to me that his family spends $1600 at Tim Horton's in a month.  Breakfast sandwiches and coffee for a family of 4 on the way to school/work and sometimes supper on the way home.  Even if we assume this happens 20 days a month, that's $80/day!!!  I just don't see how that's possible.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Zikoris on March 10, 2015, 10:53:34 AM
We wouldn't eat in restaurants at all, except:

1. The local artisan donuterie rocks. They come up with all kinds of crazy flavors. We stop in once a month and spend $6 for one donut each.

2. Sometimes we run out of food the evening before traveling internationally, since we try to eat everything perishable prior to leaving rather than throwing anything out. Not every trip, but it happens sometimes.

3. We have a standing agreement that I don't have to cook on my birthday. Since I wouldn't want to eat anything my boyfriend could cook, he takes me out for lunch instead (and we have leftovers for dinner).

4. He takes me out for dinner somewhere nice once a year on either Valentine's day or our anniversary.

5. A few times a year we grab fries or get appies at a bar with friends.

All of that together totals between $200 and $275 per year, which we're cool with.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: mm1970 on March 10, 2015, 12:08:03 PM
Eating out can be a hard habit to break.  At the beginning of the year, I made a commitment to cut our grocery bill, but then our eating out bill went through the roof.  And much of it was laziness.  Hey, we just finished swim lessons, let's stop.  Oh, let's go get ice cream.  Hey, there's a fundraiser for the school. Let's meet at the burger place for fun!

So I made a commitment about 3 weeks ago that we wouldn't eat out until our vacation in late March.  (With a few exceptions: if someone else is paying-work lunch, if we already paid for it-gift card or once a week school lunch, and for my son's birthday party.)

It has been incredibly hard.  Invited out for several things - girl's night, toddler group at the burger place.  Today we are having layoffs at work and people went out for tacos.  I've been out a couple of times for pre-paid events, and we went out for beer last night because of the looming layoffs (someone else paid though).  Depending on your group of friends, avoiding meals out is a challenge.

My husband was traveling this week and obviously ate out a lot.  I pieced together a random selection of food for lunch today.  But he decided to go out because there really wasn't anything for him to take that didn't require a lot of prep.

Three weeks down and three more to go.

Baby steps. It is difficult to do, especially when getting together with friends often involves going out to eat. I have not found a way around this, although some have suggested hosting pot lucks. I have gone to friends houses where they are grilling and its just bring whatever you want to grill and this works really well. My feelings stated above still stand, but for the most part right now, we generally just go out to eat and have a good time while still trying to stay conscious of spending and health...there are other ways to save money.
I think the hardest thing is that it's SUCH a habit for the people that I know.

We have plenty of social interaction without eating out, though.  Our neighborhood families meet for brunch on Sunday for a potluck in the park (So Cal, great weather!)  In the summer it's in the evening.  So I still get to be social with my friends, just not all of my friends.

But seriously, in one month alone it would amount to 10-15 invites "out". 
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Quark on March 10, 2015, 12:33:47 PM
I had to look up false economy but I'm not sure how it pertains to what you were talking about?

From Wiki: "A false economy is an action that saves money at the beginning but which, over a longer period of time, results in more money being spent or wasted than being saved. For example, if a city government decided to purchase the least expensive automobiles for use by city workers, it might be termed a false economy, as cheap automobiles have a record of needing more frequent repairs in the long term and the additional repair costs would eradicate any initial savings"
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Bob W on March 10, 2015, 12:51:10 PM
OK,  I'm convinced.   I generally don't eat much at restaurants but will make it my personal goal to see just how long I can go without actually eating at a restaurant,  take out or whatever.   I'm fat,  so even if I ate nothing for an entire month I would still be overweight. 

That and I'm adding -- only eat healthy food at home

I've pretty much cut out the beer --- so it is also -- no bars for me as well.   I am marking my calendar today.   
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: zoltani on March 10, 2015, 01:11:34 PM
I really fail to see what is so disturbing about this. Who cares?
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: netskyblue on March 10, 2015, 02:30:36 PM
I love restaurants.  TBH if money were no object (ha, ha right?) I'd eat out most of the time.  As it is, we keep a $40/mo eating out budget.  That might be one sit-down meal at a casual place, or save up for 2 months for a nice restaurant, or a few fast food/take & bake pizza stops.

That's about 23% of our entire food budget.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: MoneyRx on March 10, 2015, 02:52:46 PM
I really fail to see what is so disturbing about this. Who cares?
Its showing the progression of the "I'll just pay someone else to do it" mindset, further showing that no one wants to do anything for themselves any more. Also, if you think of it in terms of health, this is leading to a sicker population due to unhealthy eating habits (not that you can't eat a healthy meal at a restaurant, but on average it would be much healthier to buy groceries).
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: MoneyRx on March 10, 2015, 03:08:15 PM
I love restaurants.  TBH if money were no object (ha, ha right?) I'd eat out most of the time.  As it is, we keep a $40/mo eating out budget.  That might be one sit-down meal at a casual place, or save up for 2 months for a nice restaurant, or a few fast food/take & bake pizza stops.

That's about 23% of our entire food budget.

You say you love restaurants, but according to this study, there are a lot more people who love them more than you! One meal out a month is a very low number comparatively, and a $130/month grocery bill is very low.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Cookie78 on March 10, 2015, 03:20:44 PM
Going to rant a bit: Saw this today and wasn't too surprised. I am starting to get to the point where I am a little bit disgusted with myself when I go out to eat, both for financial and health reasons. An easy way to sum it up is I feel stupid for being there. There is often a line of people waiting to be seated, and for everyone there its just the norm. There are tons of restaurants around here and most seem to be making a killing. There seems to be a high portion of lazy, self-entitled, and generally overweight and unhealthy people eating in restaurants when I go. I get that it feels easy and convenient, but the time it often takes is longer than preparing and eating at home, and at a much higher cost. Even if it is just my wife and I going, it seems the bill is always $30+ and usually ~$50 after tip for a meal that is generally unhealthy and some times could have been made at home.
It can be fun to eat out with friends/family, but in my opinion it is one of the most un-mustachian things out there.
Sorry, rant over.

yeah this (bolded part) is what I always point out to my boyfriend. honestly unless I am SUPER exhausted and our kitchen is a mess and/or we're low on groceries (the latter basically never happens), going out to eat is usually more of a hassle than cooking something basic yet delicious at home.

Agreed! I have some exceptions for my go to places, like my super fast cheap delicious Vietnamese restaurant down the street, but for the most part eating at restaurants is more of a hassle than it's worth to me.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: zoltani on March 10, 2015, 03:24:50 PM
I really fail to see what is so disturbing about this. Who cares?
Its showing the progression of the "I'll just pay someone else to do it" mindset, further showing that no one wants to do anything for themselves any more. Also, if you think of it in terms of health, this is leading to a sicker population due to unhealthy eating habits (not that you can't eat a healthy meal at a restaurant, but on average it would be much healthier to buy groceries).

I'm still not disturbed.

Wouldn't those same people pay for convenience at the grocery store as well, largely choosing processed ready made meals? Which is more/less healthy?

   
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Zamboni on March 10, 2015, 03:28:12 PM
Today we are having layoffs at work and people went out for tacos.  I've been out a couple of times for pre-paid events, and we went out for beer last night because of the looming layoffs (someone else paid though).  Depending on your group of friends, avoiding meals out is a challenge.

This just boggles my mind.  It's like we might all lose of jobs, so let's go spend some money!

We had a snow storm here a couple of weeks ago that made driving very treacherous for a few days.  By the end of the second day, people had stayed home all day but I could see a bunch of people digging out their cars to go out to dinner.  I get cabin fever, but the roads are bad, people, that's why you had the day off from work today!  Do you have nothing in your house your could eat?  Seriously, though, I'm sure McDonald's and Chili's had decent receipts on those days.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: MoneyRx on March 12, 2015, 09:43:45 AM
I really fail to see what is so disturbing about this. Who cares?
Its showing the progression of the "I'll just pay someone else to do it" mindset, further showing that no one wants to do anything for themselves any more. Also, if you think of it in terms of health, this is leading to a sicker population due to unhealthy eating habits (not that you can't eat a healthy meal at a restaurant, but on average it would be much healthier to buy groceries).

I'm still not disturbed.

Wouldn't those same people pay for convenience at the grocery store as well, largely choosing processed ready made meals? Which is more/less healthy?

 

Good point, money spent at grocery stores doesn't automatically mean healthy, although I would argue it definitely does mean less expensive and on average would mean more healthy when compared to restaurants.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Kaspian on March 12, 2015, 11:22:39 AM
"Americans are spending more at bars and restaurants than grocery stores for the first time in history"

...And queue the next tear-jerking article which will read:  "Middle class Americans feeling the financial squeeze like never before--impossible to save in these tough economic times."
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: ysette9 on March 12, 2015, 01:26:26 PM
Our eating-out spending has dropped dramatically since we had our baby. Her bed time is early, I am usually exhausted, and there is NO time. Interestingly this has meant that we now do more cooking and "scrounging" in the kitchen than before and almost don't go out to eat at all. I also never go out for lunch at work because I don't have the time for a lunch break. All in all it is more stressful, but we are saving money....~rolling eyes~
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: mm1970 on March 12, 2015, 01:33:37 PM
Today we are having layoffs at work and people went out for tacos.  I've been out a couple of times for pre-paid events, and we went out for beer last night because of the looming layoffs (someone else paid though).  Depending on your group of friends, avoiding meals out is a challenge.

This just boggles my mind.  It's like we might all lose of jobs, so let's go spend some money!

We had a snow storm here a couple of weeks ago that made driving very treacherous for a few days.  By the end of the second day, people had stayed home all day but I could see a bunch of people digging out their cars to go out to dinner.  I get cabin fever, but the roads are bad, people, that's why you had the day off from work today!  Do you have nothing in your house your could eat?  Seriously, though, I'm sure McDonald's and Chili's had decent receipts on those days.

Well, at least in the beer part, the VP who was in charge of the whole group getting laid off also got laid off. And he paid.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Malloy on March 12, 2015, 01:39:24 PM
I love restaurants.  TBH if money were no object (ha, ha right?) I'd eat out most of the time.  As it is, we keep a $40/mo eating out budget.  That might be one sit-down meal at a casual place, or save up for 2 months for a nice restaurant, or a few fast food/take & bake pizza stops.

That's about 23% of our entire food budget.

Yeah. I also love restaurants, and I'm dubious about claims that people can cook the equivalent at home.  Perhaps within a limited culinary range, but there is a reason that chefs train for years.  However, if I lived in the suburbs and my only restaurant options were chains, I'd definitely not waste one penny on eating out for the very mustachian reason that chain restaurant food isn't the kind of food worth spending money on.  For sure, we can cook better food at home than watery chicken alfredo and fatty cheese steaks.  But, I can't cook sushi, dim sum, bulgoki, etc. And fine dining would blow the grocery budget with just 1-2 dinners a month. 

That doesn't mean that I always eat out, but I see nothing wrong with supporting talented chefs making delicious food if it's in the budget.  If I had time, I'd eat out for dinner 3-4x/week.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: zoltani on March 12, 2015, 02:37:30 PM
But, I can't cook sushi

Lucky for you you don't even have to!

Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: MoneyCat on March 12, 2015, 03:16:42 PM
If one is claiming to be Mustachian, yet one is eating out at fancy restaurants and it isn't work-related (i.e. business lunches to get new clients, etc.), then one may really just be someone who comes onto the forums to brag about his or her wealth rather than someone who is really interested in the Mustachian lifestyle.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: zoltani on March 12, 2015, 03:53:59 PM
If one is claiming to be Mustachian, yet one is eating out at fancy restaurants and it isn't work-related (i.e. business lunches to get new clients, etc.), then one may really just be someone who comes onto the forums to brag about his or her wealth rather than someone who is really interested in the Mustachian lifestyle.

Oh please!
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: WildJager on March 15, 2015, 09:11:59 AM
Yeah. I also love restaurants, and I'm dubious about claims that people can cook the equivalent at home.  Perhaps within a limited culinary range, but there is a reason that chefs train for years.  However, if I lived in the suburbs and my only restaurant options were chains, I'd definitely not waste one penny on eating out for the very mustachian reason that chain restaurant food isn't the kind of food worth spending money on.  For sure, we can cook better food at home than watery chicken alfredo and fatty cheese steaks.  But, I can't cook sushi, dim sum, bulgoki, etc. And fine dining would blow the grocery budget with just 1-2 dinners a month. 

That doesn't mean that I always eat out, but I see nothing wrong with supporting talented chefs making delicious food if it's in the budget.  If I had time, I'd eat out for dinner 3-4x/week.

Luckily cooking three meals a day, seven days a week adds up to years of practice too!  Gotta start somewhere...
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: MrsPete on March 15, 2015, 03:57:30 PM
I think one of the big reasons for this un-surprising trend is that so many people -- especially young people -- simply don't know how to cook anymore.  And about half of those who do cook do "convenience cooking"; for example, a casserole with canned soup as a base, so it's not particularly tasty or healthy. 
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: RetiredAt63 on March 15, 2015, 04:56:26 PM
Nothing new about that.  Lots of fast recipes in the 50's and 60's used canned or dry mix soup for a base.  See Peg Bracken's I hate to Cook book.  And the Lockridge mystery series had people eating out all the time (but they were in NYC, the first book was written in 1940 and the stories start in the 30's. I could never figure out how Pam North filled her time). But at least then people did expect to do most of their cooking at home.  Or the maid would, if you were a young urban couple like Pam and Jerry North.

I think one of the big reasons for this un-surprising trend is that so many people -- especially young people -- simply don't know how to cook anymore.  And about half of those who do cook do "convenience cooking"; for example, a casserole with canned soup as a base, so it's not particularly tasty or healthy.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: plainjane on March 15, 2015, 05:48:48 PM
I'm eating out 4 times this week.  Once at a friend's house, and the other three times will be restaurants (two lunches for career/networking/friend purposes, one 'making new friends' purposes where we haven't graduated to being comfortable enough to have the other over).

For groceries this week we bought a cauliflower, bread, naan, oj, hummus, and cheese.  Everything else we're planning to eat this week is leftover from last week (gnocchi, bell pepper, cucumber, orange), pantry (preserved lemons, capers, pesto, pine nuts, yeast, flour, spices, onions), or from the freezer (stock, bacon, roasted tomato).  We will easily spend twice as much eating out as eating in this week, but it isn't because we don't know how to cook, the meals out are investments in relationships.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Shamantha on March 16, 2015, 05:40:36 AM
I am also spending more on eating out / drinking out than on groceries. I only go out for dinner/drinks once a week (socialising with friends) and the rest of the time I cook from scratch, including one evening for friends. However, when going out for dinner and drinks it is quickly 50 euro, which is also my weekly shopping, including beer, laundry detergent, personal care items etc. But I do not think I am the group investigated :)

By the way: I also go out for dinner once a week for work (expenses paid) but would really struggle to go out for dinner more often. I like the food I cook from scratch so much better than when I go out for food! And I think that my (vegetarian) sushi is nicer and fresher than what I can get in restaurants, and it does not cost a thing. Exception: Indian food, I can't get that completely spot-on.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: MrsPete on March 16, 2015, 06:54:32 PM
Nothing new about that.  Lots of fast recipes in the 50's and 60's used canned or dry mix soup for a base.  See Peg Bracken's I hate to Cook book.  And the Lockridge mystery series had people eating out all the time (but they were in NYC, the first book was written in 1940 and the stories start in the 30's. I could never figure out how Pam North filled her time). But at least then people did expect to do most of their cooking at home.  Or the maid would, if you were a young urban couple like Pam and Jerry North.
Disagree. I think in the 50s and 60s women (yeah, I mean women, not all people) knew how to cook from scratch ... yet cookbooks were touting canned soups, etc. as time savers and conveniences.  They were options.  Today I don't think the average American knows how to whip up much of anything from scratch.  The convenience foods have become the standard. 
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: skunkfunk on March 17, 2015, 07:49:28 AM
I love restaurants.  TBH if money were no object (ha, ha right?) I'd eat out most of the time.  As it is, we keep a $40/mo eating out budget.  That might be one sit-down meal at a casual place, or save up for 2 months for a nice restaurant, or a few fast food/take & bake pizza stops.

That's about 23% of our entire food budget.

Yeah. I also love restaurants, and I'm dubious about claims that people can cook the equivalent at home.  Perhaps within a limited culinary range, but there is a reason that chefs train for years.  However, if I lived in the suburbs and my only restaurant options were chains, I'd definitely not waste one penny on eating out for the very mustachian reason that chain restaurant food isn't the kind of food worth spending money on.  For sure, we can cook better food at home than watery chicken alfredo and fatty cheese steaks.  But, I can't cook sushi, dim sum, bulgoki, etc. And fine dining would blow the grocery budget with just 1-2 dinners a month. 

That doesn't mean that I always eat out, but I see nothing wrong with supporting talented chefs making delicious food if it's in the budget.  If I had time, I'd eat out for dinner 3-4x/week.

Spend a little time to learn, be happier with a limited range. I'm currently learning to cook Asian cuisine and so far what I've mastered is as good as the stuff I used to get at restaurants around here. Some of it can be pretty easy, fast, and tasty (not terribly gourmet to cook a curry stir fry though) and other stuff takes quite a bit of time (e.g. lo mai gai.) If I can master just a few of these recipes, they'll only be needed a few times a month and will not get old. I'll move on to another style (say, German or Cajun.)
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Sid Hoffman on March 17, 2015, 05:18:19 PM
I think one of the big reasons for this un-surprising trend is that so many people -- especially young people -- simply don't know how to cook anymore.  And about half of those who do cook do "convenience cooking"; for example, a casserole with canned soup as a base, so it's not particularly tasty or healthy.

Yeah maybe, but I don't know.  I suppose the theory is that the kids who grew up in earlier generations where mom stayed at home, they learned to cook from mom.  Is that what you're getting at?  That in the modern age where there's no stay at home parents (either due to never married, divorce, or simply dual income) and thus neither adult is regularly cooking anymore.  So kids are less likely to learn to cook if both parents are working and come home exhausted, not wanting to cook.  Is that the theory?  It seems plausible.

On the other hand, this is the information age, or so I've been told for the last 20 years or so since public access to internet or at least AOL became commonplace.  There's cooking shows all over TV, both network and especially cable.  There's both books and E-books for cooking meals quickly and easily.  There's youtube videos by the millions and websites probably by the tens of millions with cooking instructions.  Further, the packaging of food has gotten simplified so more things can be purchased as kits, rather than preparing food truly from scratch like in the old days.

I don't think there's any lack of ability to learn how to cook food, it's just become a social norm not to cook food for yourself much anymore.  Like MMM's latest blog, once something is ubiquitous (like restaurants and eating out) it's hard for someone to feel the social pressure to do anything but that activity.  The good news, IMHO, is that eating at home is done in private, so someone can ramp up their eating at home and generally nobody else even knows about it, so there's no social pressure except for public events like a group lunch/dinner, and those are (hopefully!) rare enough for most people to not account for a significant budget expense.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Frugalite on March 17, 2015, 08:33:46 PM
I hope other people continue to waste their money on bars and restaurants, because it will increase the value of my stocks.  Throw your money away, sheep.  I will take your money.

Bwahahaha! Awesome.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: plainjane on March 18, 2015, 04:54:14 AM
Further, the packaging of food has gotten simplified so more things can be purchased as kits, rather than preparing food truly from scratch like in the old days.

And this is where you get people saying they might as well eat out, because the kits are barely a savings compared to that.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: mm1970 on March 18, 2015, 09:28:20 AM
I think one of the big reasons for this un-surprising trend is that so many people -- especially young people -- simply don't know how to cook anymore.  And about half of those who do cook do "convenience cooking"; for example, a casserole with canned soup as a base, so it's not particularly tasty or healthy.

Yeah maybe, but I don't know.  I suppose the theory is that the kids who grew up in earlier generations where mom stayed at home, they learned to cook from mom.  Is that what you're getting at?  That in the modern age where there's no stay at home parents (either due to never married, divorce, or simply dual income) and thus neither adult is regularly cooking anymore.  So kids are less likely to learn to cook if both parents are working and come home exhausted, not wanting to cook.  Is that the theory?  It seems plausible.

On the other hand, this is the information age, or so I've been told for the last 20 years or so since public access to internet or at least AOL became commonplace.  There's cooking shows all over TV, both network and especially cable.  There's both books and E-books for cooking meals quickly and easily.  There's youtube videos by the millions and websites probably by the tens of millions with cooking instructions.  Further, the packaging of food has gotten simplified so more things can be purchased as kits, rather than preparing food truly from scratch like in the old days.

I don't think there's any lack of ability to learn how to cook food, it's just become a social norm not to cook food for yourself much anymore.  Like MMM's latest blog, once something is ubiquitous (like restaurants and eating out) it's hard for someone to feel the social pressure to do anything but that activity.  The good news, IMHO, is that eating at home is done in private, so someone can ramp up their eating at home and generally nobody else even knows about it, so there's no social pressure except for public events like a group lunch/dinner, and those are (hopefully!) rare enough for most people to not account for a significant budget expense.
This was a very good post in general.

My mom was a SAHM until I was about 12 (when my dad got laid off and the new job made 1/3 the old one).  She cooked from scratch, but also made casseroles with cream soups, because, you know, 80s.  She gardened and canned too.  It was typical American fare - meatloaf, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken, fish on Fridays, stuffed cabbage, mashed potatoes, canned veggies.

I did not learn to cook. I was the 8th of 9 kids.  My mom cooked.  My sister cooked a little when my mom went back to work. My dad cooked after the divorce.  But I never learned to cook (I did learn to can).  I did the dishes.

But part way through college I got an apartment, so the college and early Navy days I learned to cook *a little* - spaghetti with jarred sauce (sometimes my own meatballs), ramen noodles (that was college), burritos (from a kit), pierogies.  Then I got a boyfriend who cooked (learned from his mom).  When he moved away I started cooking more  - I had 50 cookbooks, but didn't know how to cook, and I burned or cut myself whenever I went into the kitchen.

I didn't REALLY learn to cook until about 31-32 years old, by watching the Food Network, which happened to coincide with needing to lose 50 pounds.  It wasn't going to happen with my husband's cooking (that great boyfriend who cooked? Yeah, him.)  But cooking "from scratch" takes time!  It's easier to buy pre-shredded cabbage than to make your own, easier to buy dressing than to make your own, easier to buy canned beans than to cook your own, easier to buy frozen meatballs than to make your own, easier to buy hummus.  (In case you were wondering: I shred my own cabbage, make most of my own dressing, make 3/4 of my beans from dried, almost always buy frozen meatballs, and usually make my own hummus).

But FOR SURE eating out is so normal now - when I was in the Navy in DC, I ate out lunch EVERY DAY after I made LtJG.  Sometimes breakfast and dinner!  It got to be that my favorite two places knew my order when I walked up.  When I moved to CA, I ate out lunch with my coworkers, and my husband and I had dinner out 1-2x a week.  (We were spending $400 a month eating out, in 2001!!)  I see it with my coworkers and friends.  Lunch out.  St Patty's day?  Let's go out! 

I made a decision about 4 weeks ago that we'd do NO eating out as a family for 6 weeks (until spring break). Exceptions: we ordered pizza for my kid's birthday party, business travel (husband), when other people are paying (I've had 2 interview lunches). Dang, it's been hard!  Two more weeks to go.  I cannot count the number of times I've been invited out.  Plus, I've been eating salad for lunch every day and I'm craving something different.  Some people eat out because it's a social thing - that's when they see their friends. Some people eat out because it's an "event", like with live music. Some people eat out because they cannot face another salad - and they are the only ones cooking.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: zephyr911 on March 18, 2015, 11:06:56 AM
I've never really understood the appeal of drinking at a bar.  You generally get one beer for the retail cost of a six-pack and everything is really loud and you don't get to control the music.  Meanwhile, drunk people rub up against you and proposition you and there may be a fight or two and you can't even hear the commentators on the game on the TV screens that are smaller than the one you have at home.  Why not just buy a case of beer and invite some friends over?  Seems like a better and much cheaper way to have some suds and socializing.
I see the problem here: you've never been to a good bar. What you describe is a typical drunk-ass meat market found near a large university or in a poor, uneducated town. I think some exist in my area, but I've never been to one.
We have craft breweries with taprooms where the owners/brewmasters stop by for feedback on the pint you're drinking, with free food on the day of a big game or other event. Most of them have outdoor seating areas (great this time of year) and frequent live music with no cover charge. You can get a whole lot of entertainment in the time it takes to drink one really good $5 pint, and I've never been harassed, spilled on, or forced to yell to be heard in a conversation. That said, I still avoid excessive patronage because $5 pints do add up. Just don't assume the crappy bars you've been to are the only kind. :)

But, I can't cook sushi
Lucky for you you don't even have to!
Hahaha! I see what you did there.

Nah, military.  We get some per diem, so I guess you could call that "on the company dime," but it really just supplements your paycheck.

I just save the extra.  Most people do consider it "free money" and blow it, however.
In my active duty years, I always felt like it was easy to pocket half the per diem while eating and drinking very well. Blowing it all just because it's there is retarded.
Now I'm ANG, I usually stay with friends when I'm on orders, and I still pocket at least half while feeding everyone in the house. Home cookin' FTW!
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Jouer on March 18, 2015, 02:16:31 PM
Are Americans eating out more?....or has the price of restaurants in America increased more quickly than grocery store goods? The graph doesn't tell us.

Also, I wonder how much of an effect 1%ers and their $10,000 dinners out have on this graph. Would like to see it broken out by household income to get a better picture of the story.
 
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: slugline on March 18, 2015, 02:19:27 PM
Are Americans eating out more?....or has the price of restaurants in America increased more quickly than grocery store goods? The graph doesn't tell us.

Yeah. Kind of like seeing stories about ever increasing box office receipts at movie theatres when we also know that ticket prices have been creeping up. . . .
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: RetiredAt63 on March 21, 2015, 08:06:42 AM
Oh sure, women knew how to cook.  Just making the point that not everyone cooked from scratch all the time.  My Mom did, and I mostly did (full-time working mom) - I was shocked the first time I realized that the store had pancake mix - WTF, pancake batter is the easiest thing to make from scratch, and the store stuff is incredibly bland.  And there were/are lots of recipes for making up your own pre-mix if you want to go that route - I took home-made pancake mix on camping trips back in the 80's.  Along with my maple butter, camping does not have to mean bad food.  Anyway . . . .

But let's face it, food manufacturers (now that is an interesting term in itself) don't make a lot of money on selling flour, chocolate chips, etc., compared to what they make on a roll of ready-to-bake chocolate chip cookie dough.  So the push for convenience is there.

Nothing new about that.  Lots of fast recipes in the 50's and 60's used canned or dry mix soup for a base.  See Peg Bracken's I hate to Cook book.  And the Lockridge mystery series had people eating out all the time (but they were in NYC, the first book was written in 1940 and the stories start in the 30's. I could never figure out how Pam North filled her time). But at least then people did expect to do most of their cooking at home.  Or the maid would, if you were a young urban couple like Pam and Jerry North.
Disagree. I think in the 50s and 60s women (yeah, I mean women, not all people) knew how to cook from scratch ... yet cookbooks were touting canned soups, etc. as time savers and conveniences.  They were options.  Today I don't think the average American knows how to whip up much of anything from scratch.  The convenience foods have become the standard.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: MoneyCat on March 21, 2015, 01:04:24 PM
Now that I really think about it, I think a major reason why Americans are eating out more than buying groceries is because Americans work a ridiculous amount of hours these days compared to previous generations.  After working a 60 hour week, many people are too tired to cook, so they just grab some takeout or eat out with friends.  Europeans, for example, work nowhere near as many hours as the typical American and they eat out less.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Alex321 on March 21, 2015, 01:16:29 PM
Good. It bodes well for my stock holdings in McDonald's Corporation and Darden Restaurants, etc.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Sid Hoffman on March 21, 2015, 01:31:27 PM
Yeah. Kind of like seeing stories about ever increasing box office receipts at movie theatres when we also know that ticket prices have been creeping up. . . .

Grocery stores sell food and restaurants sell food.  They both sell food.  Their product prices are the same because they both sell the same products.  Grocery stores are staffed by labor, while restaurants are staffed by labor.  Both are staffed by labor.  Their costs increase at the same rate as they are both staffed by labor.  There is nothing magical about restaurants (prepared food, served by cheap labor) that makes them exist in a totally different economy from grocery stores (unprepared food, sold by cheap labor) so the key is that the lines went from being far apart, to meeting.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: netskyblue on March 21, 2015, 03:42:33 PM
Their costs increase at the same rate

Well yeah, but... cost != retail.  It could be that restaurant markups are growing, or (not sure how likely) that grocery store profits are decreasing. 

Also the labor = labor isn't exactly equal either.  The restaurant industry is not subject to the same effects of a minimum wage hike as grocery stores are, since waitstaff are regularly paid far less than minimum wage. 

And, at least where I am (and both my husband and I have spent a combined 25+ years in the restaurant industry) MANY MANY non-chain restaurants employ illegal workers, pay them under the table, are VERY small businesses employing less than 15 people at one time, and provide no benefits.  Most of the grocery stores around here are much bigger businesses, and are far more likely to have some full-time staff, and provide benefits.  They have HR departments, buyers, managers, etc.

In my city we have TONS of small, locally owned restaurants.  They might have the owners, 2-3 cooks, 1-2 dishwashers, and maybe 6-10 waitstaff.  We have a very, very few locally owned (all ethnic) grocery stores.  Everything mainstream is corporate.  Very different labor pool involved.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: TRBeck on March 25, 2015, 11:46:35 AM
After 18 months of Mustachianism, I find NOT eating out the difficult habit to break. I loathe the restaurant experience, for the most part. My wife has to sell me on a dinner out now and then, and while some restaurant experiences are okay, I generally find them disappointing. As for bars, well, I see the appeal of a good pub conversation or a live music dive, and we have plenty of great taprooms and microbreweries around here, too. Still, most times for me in this life stage, the back patio, some homebrew, and the grill going is far better. Kids can run and play, we eat at a leisurely pace and enjoy the food, the beer is cheap and always good, and no shouting over music/ambient noise. Even better if friends come over with their kids. Play date and night out for both families, or three families, or more.

We are a family of 4 and eat on $140/week. We could go cheaper and have, keeping things under $100/week for months at a time. There's no way I can envision dropping $400/month on bars and restaurants. The single person whose bar spending outdistances his/her groceries I can see. If I lived alone, I'd subsist on lentils, oatmeal, rice, produce, and protein powder, but still drink good beer and whiskey.

Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Jouer on March 25, 2015, 12:06:06 PM
Quote
Quote
Yeah. Kind of like seeing stories about ever increasing box office receipts at movie theatres when we also know that ticket prices have been creeping up. . . .

Quote
Grocery stores sell food and restaurants sell food.  They both sell food.  Their product prices are the same because they both sell the same products.  Grocery stores are staffed by labor, while restaurants are staffed by labor.  Both are staffed by labor.  Their costs increase at the same rate as they are both staffed by labor.  There is nothing magical about restaurants (prepared food, served by cheap labor) that makes them exist in a totally different economy from grocery stores (unprepared food, sold by cheap labor) so the key is that the lines went from being far apart, to meeting.

Yes, it is bad that the lines are now meeting. And it is bad that $$ spent in America is higher now than in the past. No one would argue that. But one cannot glean from this graph that more Americans are eating out or that Americans are eating out more often. Not without more information. That's all I am saying.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: gimp on March 26, 2015, 09:41:31 PM
When I was living on $30/month for groceries, I almost certainly spent more than that from the couple times a month I went out with friends. I find it a lot harder to imagine $300 a month, though.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: LouLou on March 29, 2015, 04:54:27 PM
Its showing the progression of the "I'll just pay someone else to do it" mindset, further showing that no one wants to do anything for themselves any more. Also, if you think of it in terms of health, this is leading to a sicker population due to unhealthy eating habits (not that you can't eat a healthy meal at a restaurant, but on average it would be much healthier to buy groceries).

Wow, you got all of that from the chart? I'm not seeing it, but you seem pretty sure of yourself, so...OK!

I would like to see the details of this study. There are two variables that could be changing over time. One is the number of meals that people eat out and the other is the price paid for those meals. In my household, we prioritize quality over quantity. My sense is that others are also more willing to dish out cash for perceived quality and for experiences, but I haven't seen any data on that specifically. I wonder if people are eating out less (or a similar amount) but are spending more?

I pay far less for groceries than I used to, and more at restaurants than I used to. I cook most dinners at home for health and Mustachian reasons. As I get better at cooking, my food at home tastes better than many less expensive places.  When I eat out now, it has to be really, really good! And that is usually (but not always) more expensive.

And there are lots of really great bars in town. I learn about new beers that way.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Sibley on March 29, 2015, 05:24:46 PM
In a previous job, I traveled extensively. I'd eat out 3 meals a day, 4 days a week, for about 7 months of the year. I learned to hate restaurants in that time.

I don't eat fast food except Subway. I take my lunch to work almost every day. Getting me to go to a restaurant is pretty darn hard. Ironically, I don't enjoy cooking.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: darkadams00 on April 09, 2015, 10:36:59 AM
One abbreviation - SAHM (coined after the majority of wives/mothers at home became a minority)

I don't want to start a cross-generational culture war, but a few observations from the last 30 years come to mind --


Are we really so naive to think that this expenditure of effort in the public workforce will not be balanced in some manner in most households? Yes, as mentioned in this thread, some will bite the bullet and spend the hours at a full-time job and in the house. Most will look for a way to cut corners if possible. At a macro level, this outcome is inevitable.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: welliamwallace on April 09, 2015, 11:01:50 AM
It's true for me too :-(

(http://i.imgur.com/mStePnW.png)

And this doesn't even include any alcohol!

It's a work in progress for me.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Kaspian on April 09, 2015, 12:19:30 PM
After 18 months of Mustachianism, I find NOT eating out the difficult habit to break. I loathe the restaurant experience, for the most part.

^^ So much this!!!  Same thing.  I find 95% of restaurant food generally bland, pretentious, salty, and greasy.  I usually raise an eyebrow of distain when a friend suggests it.  I really only eat out when I travel to foreign countries and enjoy it most of the time--because it's something new or it's not something I can make myself.    Likewise, I do like traditional pubs.  ...Even if they don't have microbrews.  (The fish & chips in a British pub is absolute killer--drooling just thinking of it.)
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Cassie on April 10, 2015, 01:22:13 PM
WE go out for a nice meal once per week. Craft beers are also something we enjoy when going out. We didn't do this when we were raising our kids but now have the $ to enjoy.  We feel it is an enjoyable experience.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Chuck on April 10, 2015, 02:06:15 PM
I used to eat out every meal of every day, almost without fail. Now I feel bad when I eat out, but my wife and I are addcited to the convenience.

So we have a rule in place that we can eat out no more than 2 dinners and 1 lunch per week. Usually I don't use the lunch, and we average 1.5 dinners out per week. A lot of room for improvement but I am lightyears from where I used to be. I want to get it down to .33 lunches (so I can catch the occasional going-away lunch) and .25 dinners (one date night out per month). We are a ways from that goal, but I know we can do it.

Honestly I've optimized the hell out of so many expenses (cell phone, cable, mortgage refi) that this is one of the few low hanging fruits left..
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Helvegen on April 14, 2015, 11:47:15 AM
We eat out at a sit-down restaurant an average of once every 6-8 weeks. We would often go for many months without going unless someone else was paying because we simply couldn't afford it. It costs us an average of $40-$70 for a family of three to eat out at a sit down place once you factor in drinks, tax, and tip. We can just now comfortably afford it as an occasional treat, but it was just out of the question prior.

Fast food, we do maybe once or twice a month, usually just something from Costco.

I have family friends that spend upwards of $1k a month just on eating out. They look very much like it too. Both very obese and not in the greatest health. The guy looks like a literal walking heart attack. They have a lot of debt, but don't really bother themselves too much about it. I would be scared shitless if I were them because they both look one step away from a serious medical crisis that could put either one of them out a job.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Albert on April 18, 2015, 03:52:36 PM
Now that I really think about it, I think a major reason why Americans are eating out more than buying groceries is because Americans work a ridiculous amount of hours these days compared to previous generations.  After working a 60 hour week, many people are too tired to cook, so they just grab some takeout or eat out with friends.  Europeans, for example, work nowhere near as many hours as the typical American and they eat out less.

Not sure about this. Here majority of my co-workers eat lunch at work cafeteria. I'm guilty of that too… Granted it's subsidised so the amount spent (ca 7-10$) is not a lot higher than taking food from home, but still…
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: iamlittlehedgehog on April 28, 2015, 12:45:45 PM
This is a habit I hate to see go. We have a very generous $50 a week entertainment budget which can be used for eating out, movies or going to the bar. The latter 2 aren't much of an issue, I side hustle at a bar so we can usually drink for free but not ordering pizza or going out to eat has been a habit that has been one of the hardest to break.
I. HATE. COOKING.
I'm not a terrible cook, I just don't get the same joy out of it as most people seem to. Unfortunately DH's cooking skills only extend to the microwave so cooking falls on me.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Hunny156 on April 28, 2015, 01:08:16 PM
This is a habit I hate to see go. We have a very generous $50 a week entertainment budget which can be used for eating out, movies or going to the bar. The latter 2 aren't much of an issue, I side hustle at a bar so we can usually drink for free but not ordering pizza or going out to eat has been a habit that has been one of the hardest to break.
I. HATE. COOKING.
I'm not a terrible cook, I just don't get the same joy out of it as most people seem to. Unfortunately DH's cooking skills only extend to the microwave so cooking falls on me.

I hear you, hubby's skills are not great in the kitchen, so it falls on me too.  I don't hate cooking, but it was getting to be more of a chore for me.  I recently purchased an electric pressure cooker, and it has totally revitalized my desire to cook.  Doesn't hurt that I get to go do other stuff while the food is cooking.  Best $70 I spent!  :)
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: GuitarStv on April 28, 2015, 01:08:48 PM
Now that I really think about it, I think a major reason why Americans are eating out more than buying groceries is because Americans work a ridiculous amount of hours these days compared to previous generations.  After working a 60 hour week, many people are too tired to cook, so they just grab some takeout or eat out with friends.  Europeans, for example, work nowhere near as many hours as the typical American and they eat out less.

Not sure about this. Here majority of my co-workers eat lunch at work cafeteria. I'm guilty of that too… Granted it's subsidised so the amount spent (ca 7-10$) is not a lot higher than taking food from home, but still…

How does your math work?  7-10$ is about four times what a large home cooked meal should cost.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: zephyr911 on April 28, 2015, 01:12:21 PM

I hear you, hubby's skills are not great in the kitchen, so it falls on me too.  I don't hate cooking, but it was getting to be more of a chore for me.  I recently purchased an electric pressure cooker, and it has totally revitalized my desire to cook.  Doesn't hurt that I get to go do other stuff while the food is cooking.  Best $70 I spent!  :)
Anything that makes it easier is a win.
Also, whatever/whenever you do cook - cook shit-tons of it and freeze/refrigerate portions. Less work for the same result should make it less annoying.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: mm1970 on April 28, 2015, 01:16:58 PM
This is a habit I hate to see go. We have a very generous $50 a week entertainment budget which can be used for eating out, movies or going to the bar. The latter 2 aren't much of an issue, I side hustle at a bar so we can usually drink for free but not ordering pizza or going out to eat has been a habit that has been one of the hardest to break.
I. HATE. COOKING.
I'm not a terrible cook, I just don't get the same joy out of it as most people seem to. Unfortunately DH's cooking skills only extend to the microwave so cooking falls on me.
I used to like cooking. Both my mother and mother in law asked me why I wasn't sick of it.

At the time, I'd been cooking for maybe 5 years, they'd been cooking for 40, for men who are picky.

My husband will eat anything.  So I can cook anything.

But now, with a full time job and 2 kids?  It's turned into a chore.  Every weekend: figure out what's on sale, try to cook enough to last 4 people for the week.  Every week: run out on Weds or Thurs, and figure out what to make to last the rest of the week.  It's not fun anymore.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: iamlittlehedgehog on April 28, 2015, 01:20:01 PM
This is a habit I hate to see go. We have a very generous $50 a week entertainment budget which can be used for eating out, movies or going to the bar. The latter 2 aren't much of an issue, I side hustle at a bar so we can usually drink for free but not ordering pizza or going out to eat has been a habit that has been one of the hardest to break.
I. HATE. COOKING.
I'm not a terrible cook, I just don't get the same joy out of it as most people seem to. Unfortunately DH's cooking skills only extend to the microwave so cooking falls on me.
I used to like cooking. Both my mother and mother in law asked me why I wasn't sick of it.

At the time, I'd been cooking for maybe 5 years, they'd been cooking for 40, for men who are picky.

My husband will eat anything.  So I can cook anything.

But now, with a full time job and 2 kids?  It's turned into a chore.  Every weekend: figure out what's on sale, try to cook enough to last 4 people for the week.  Every week: run out on Weds or Thurs, and figure out what to make to last the rest of the week.  It's not fun anymore.

You at least have a legitimate reason though! Kids, work and cooking every meal for 4 people is tough! I'm just lazy and can think of at least a dozen other things I would rather do in the evening than cook. I found a bunch of 30 minute meal recipes so I'm coming around...slowly.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Hunny156 on April 28, 2015, 01:51:20 PM
I'm trying to stop always looking for new and different things to try.  When I find a few things that my somewhat picky husband will eat, then I put them into the rotation.  Easier than trying to think of what to make all the time.

Me, I could eat rice, beans and potatoes all day long and be fine.  He likes variety.  Tough battle.  ;)
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Albert on April 30, 2015, 01:45:55 PM
Now that I really think about it, I think a major reason why Americans are eating out more than buying groceries is because Americans work a ridiculous amount of hours these days compared to previous generations.  After working a 60 hour week, many people are too tired to cook, so they just grab some takeout or eat out with friends.  Europeans, for example, work nowhere near as many hours as the typical American and they eat out less.

Not sure about this. Here majority of my co-workers eat lunch at work cafeteria. I'm guilty of that too… Granted it's subsidised so the amount spent (ca 7-10$) is not a lot higher than taking food from home, but still…

How does your math work?  7-10$ is about four times what a large home cooked meal should cost.

You clearly haven't seen Swiss food prices, particularly for meat. I'd estimate depending on what you buy and where about 2-3x US prices.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: MgoSam on May 04, 2015, 02:14:41 PM
Now that I really think about it, I think a major reason why Americans are eating out more than buying groceries is because Americans work a ridiculous amount of hours these days compared to previous generations.  After working a 60 hour week, many people are too tired to cook, so they just grab some takeout or eat out with friends.  Europeans, for example, work nowhere near as many hours as the typical American and they eat out less.

Not sure about this. Here majority of my co-workers eat lunch at work cafeteria. I'm guilty of that too… Granted it's subsidised so the amount spent (ca 7-10$) is not a lot higher than taking food from home, but still…

How does your math work?  7-10$ is about four times what a large home cooked meal should cost.

You clearly haven't seen Swiss food prices, particularly for meat. I'd estimate depending on what you buy and where about 2-3x US prices.

Gotta bear in mind the insane subsidies farmers receive here in the US. I don't know how it compares to Europe or other parts of the world, but grocery prices here are insanely cheap if you are willing to buy mass produced meat and other things. That said, learning how to cook is awesome and cooks like Jaime Oliver bring up how it is oftentimes quicker, cheaper, healthier, AND more delicious to make things like stir fry at home rather than getting takeout.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Albert on May 05, 2015, 01:47:02 PM
We are not big on takeouts here. Actually in six years living here I've never had one. If I go to a restaurant her and despite the price I do go occasionally the primary reason is to meet someone not just because I'm hungry.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: donut on May 17, 2015, 04:12:37 AM
It surprised me that this is just becoming true now given how common eating out is but I forget that many households have crazy high grocery bills even when they don't cook many meals. My wife and I have always been pretty Mustachian when it comes to groceries ($150/month) so we surpass our grocery bill just by eating out a few times with friends or family. Of course food is one of the few things we enjoy spending money on and our social circle is the "let's all go to dinner" crowd so it's a major area we need to work on, but I think we would still outspend our grocery bill 50% of the time after a significant reduction in going out.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: donut on May 17, 2015, 05:13:26 AM
I think one of the big reasons for this un-surprising trend is that so many people -- especially young people -- simply don't know how to cook anymore.  And about half of those who do cook do "convenience cooking"; for example, a casserole with canned soup as a base, so it's not particularly tasty or healthy.

Yeah maybe, but I don't know.  I suppose the theory is that the kids who grew up in earlier generations where mom stayed at home, they learned to cook from mom.  Is that what you're getting at?  That in the modern age where there's no stay at home parents (either due to never married, divorce, or simply dual income) and thus neither adult is regularly cooking anymore.  So kids are less likely to learn to cook if both parents are working and come home exhausted, not wanting to cook.  Is that the theory?  It seems plausible.

On the other hand, this is the information age, or so I've been told for the last 20 years or so since public access to internet or at least AOL became commonplace.  There's cooking shows all over TV, both network and especially cable.  There's both books and E-books for cooking meals quickly and easily.  There's youtube videos by the millions and websites probably by the tens of millions with cooking instructions.  Further, the packaging of food has gotten simplified so more things can be purchased as kits, rather than preparing food truly from scratch like in the old days.

I don't think there's any lack of ability to learn how to cook food, it's just become a social norm not to cook food for yourself much anymore.  Like MMM's latest blog, once something is ubiquitous (like restaurants and eating out) it's hard for someone to feel the social pressure to do anything but that activity.  The good news, IMHO, is that eating at home is done in private, so someone can ramp up their eating at home and generally nobody else even knows about it, so there's no social pressure except for public events like a group lunch/dinner, and those are (hopefully!) rare enough for most people to not account for a significant budget expense.
This was a very good post in general.

My mom was a SAHM until I was about 12 (when my dad got laid off and the new job made 1/3 the old one).  She cooked from scratch, but also made casseroles with cream soups, because, you know, 80s.  She gardened and canned too.  It was typical American fare - meatloaf, spaghetti and meatballs, chicken, fish on Fridays, stuffed cabbage, mashed potatoes, canned veggies.

I did not learn to cook. I was the 8th of 9 kids.  My mom cooked.  My sister cooked a little when my mom went back to work. My dad cooked after the divorce.  But I never learned to cook (I did learn to can).  I did the dishes.

But part way through college I got an apartment, so the college and early Navy days I learned to cook *a little* - spaghetti with jarred sauce (sometimes my own meatballs), ramen noodles (that was college), burritos (from a kit), pierogies.  Then I got a boyfriend who cooked (learned from his mom).  When he moved away I started cooking more  - I had 50 cookbooks, but didn't know how to cook, and I burned or cut myself whenever I went into the kitchen.

I didn't REALLY learn to cook until about 31-32 years old, by watching the Food Network, which happened to coincide with needing to lose 50 pounds.  It wasn't going to happen with my husband's cooking (that great boyfriend who cooked? Yeah, him.)  But cooking "from scratch" takes time!  It's easier to buy pre-shredded cabbage than to make your own, easier to buy dressing than to make your own, easier to buy canned beans than to cook your own, easier to buy frozen meatballs than to make your own, easier to buy hummus.  (In case you were wondering: I shred my own cabbage, make most of my own dressing, make 3/4 of my beans from dried, almost always buy frozen meatballs, and usually make my own hummus).

But FOR SURE eating out is so normal now - when I was in the Navy in DC, I ate out lunch EVERY DAY after I made LtJG.  Sometimes breakfast and dinner!  It got to be that my favorite two places knew my order when I walked up.  When I moved to CA, I ate out lunch with my coworkers, and my husband and I had dinner out 1-2x a week.  (We were spending $400 a month eating out, in 2001!!)  I see it with my coworkers and friends.  Lunch out.  St Patty's day?  Let's go out! 

I made a decision about 4 weeks ago that we'd do NO eating out as a family for 6 weeks (until spring break). Exceptions: we ordered pizza for my kid's birthday party, business travel (husband), when other people are paying (I've had 2 interview lunches). Dang, it's been hard!  Two more weeks to go.  I cannot count the number of times I've been invited out.  Plus, I've been eating salad for lunch every day and I'm craving something different.  Some people eat out because it's a social thing - that's when they see their friends. Some people eat out because it's an "event", like with live music. Some people eat out because they cannot face another salad - and they are the only ones cooking.

I have to agree with this line of thought. I never learned how to cook from my parents who were both full time Software Engineers, they couldn't find the time and just didn't really enjoy cooking. We out a lot, to the point where I can tell you the history of menu changes at various fast food places (strangely I was never overweight). What I did pick up was from extended family but I still didn't know how to do much beyond boiling water for ramen when I got to college.

There I learned to cook out of a mix of necessity and backlash over living off of takeout food for so many years. My family could afford my education but I felt a resistance to using any more of their funds than was necessary (probably the reason I like this blog and ERE so much) so I figured out microwave meals in the dorm that had a non-functional kitchen to supplement a low-end meal plan (you can actually cook frozen salmon effectively). A summer internship on the outskirts of Baltimore without a vehicle really got me into the habit of cooking as the closest fast food option (a Subway) was 3 miles away, so I stocked up on non-perishables at the beginning with a friend's car and then ran a few miles to the grocery store twice a week to pick up produce and dairy. Later I shared an apartment with a functional kitchen but no vehicle so the roommates all cooked meals since the bus didn't run to our place late. None of us were great cooks but reading instructions/ideas online and just experimenting yourself you can pick it up pretty easily, and the pre-packaged convenience cooking (looking at you Pasta-roni) can build up the confidence of someone new to cooking before they start tackling made from scratch and seasoning things based on instinct. After college I've continued to just teach myself cooking via youtube, cooking shows, and experimenting.

Most of my friends from college still don't really know how to cook, and now that my parents are retiring they're trying to learn (re-learn?) how to do it (when we moved back to the state we stayed with them while looking for a house and I was actually teaching them how to do things like cook vegetables). I think for many people it's a mix of laziness (take out is "easier") and lack of knowledge. My biggest apprehension when I was learning how to cook was around seasoning. I could follow directions on boiling rice or pasta pretty easily but figuring out how to not make them taste like the same bland thing every time was daunting (I just lived with the bland early on). You can follow a full recipe that includes whipping up a sauce or dry seasoning but the list of ingredients can quickly get long for those, and for the person who has nothing in the pantry at all it's hard to stomach buying 30 different seasonings that probably won't get used again. I never understood why more cookbooks didn't have recipes focusing on using very basic seasonings only, your salt, pepper, oil, garlic, and maybe a few herbs. I've still never cooked with Worcestershire and we threw out our vinegar when we moved as we had only used 1/4 of a bottle over a 3 year span.


On the topic of husbands cooking, get them into gas grilling. If you cook all your veggies and meats on the grill there's virtually no pans to clean afterwards and cleaning it is pretty easy as you just burn up most of the oil/drippings. The gas aspect eliminates the setup and take down time of a charcoal grill which is good for those who don't like the time aspect of cooking. For cooking nothing makes you feel manlier than grilling slabs of meat over a fire, and you get bonus points for doing it when it's below freezing out.


Man this thread has reminded me I need to cut back on dining out. Having a vehicle has made it so much easier slip into the lazy method of going to where someone else does the cooking.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: skunkfunk on May 18, 2015, 08:33:16 AM

Man this thread has reminded me I need to cut back on dining out. Having a vehicle has made it so much easier slip into the lazy method of going to where someone else does the cooking.

Alright you and others who eat out for convenience, here's a quick meal faster than fast food that can be done with some non-perishable items and things you have on hand anyway.

Get a big bag or 2 of the frozen stir fry or teriyaki vegetables at Wal-Mart. Get a big bottle of teriyaki sauce (or whatever sauce you prefer.) Keep eggs on hand, keep rice on hand, keep oil on hand. If you suspect you'll be needing a quick meal sometime, cook a big batch of rice ahead of time. If not, it works without rice.

All you have to do is scramble the eggs, cook the rice, stir fry the vegetables for a minute and then throw in a little water and put a lid on. They'll steam nicely, leave it in there until the water is almost gone. Then add in the eggs and rice, throw some leftover meat in if it is handy. Stir in the sauce and after it is all warmed up you can eat.

If you have leftover rice handy it takes 8 minutes. If you don't, either leave out the rice or take the 25 minutes to make it. You can't go get food and get back home with it in 8 minutes. Can be done in a wok or a pan, with lid. Delicious, easy, cheaper than take-out. I do make sauces from scratch and do more complicated stuff but this is a go-to if you're in a hurry.

I'm no master chef but it is 75% as good as whatever I get at the sit down Chinese places. If you want something fancier you can make many other Chinese things in a comparable amount of time to getting a table at a nice restaurant. Of course, if you need Peking Duck or something you can forget it.

I won't hear any more arguments that you can't cook as fast as you can order out. 8 minutes from the moment you walk in the kitchen, delicious Chinese fast food.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Pooperman on May 18, 2015, 09:11:30 AM

Man this thread has reminded me I need to cut back on dining out. Having a vehicle has made it so much easier slip into the lazy method of going to where someone else does the cooking.

Alright you and others who eat out for convenience, here's a quick meal faster than fast food that can be done with some non-perishable items and things you have on hand anyway.

Get a big bag or 2 of the frozen stir fry or teriyaki vegetables at Wal-Mart. Get a big bottle of teriyaki sauce (or whatever sauce you prefer.) Keep eggs on hand, keep rice on hand, keep oil on hand. If you suspect you'll be needing a quick meal sometime, cook a big batch of rice ahead of time. If not, it works without rice.

All you have to do is scramble the eggs, cook the rice, stir fry the vegetables for a minute and then throw in a little water and put a lid on. They'll steam nicely, leave it in there until the water is almost gone. Then add in the eggs and rice, throw some leftover meat in if it is handy. Stir in the sauce and after it is all warmed up you can eat.

If you have leftover rice handy it takes 8 minutes. If you don't, either leave out the rice or take the 25 minutes to make it. You can't go get food and get back home with it in 8 minutes. Can be done in a wok or a pan, with lid. Delicious, easy, cheaper than take-out. I do make sauces from scratch and do more complicated stuff but this is a go-to if you're in a hurry.

I'm no master chef but it is 75% as good as whatever I get at the sit down Chinese places. If you want something fancier you can make many other Chinese things in a comparable amount of time to getting a table at a nice restaurant. Of course, if you need Peking Duck or something you can forget it.

I won't hear any more arguments that you can't cook as fast as you can order out. 8 minutes from the moment you walk in the kitchen, delicious Chinese fast food.

I do something like this when I want Chinese food (or fiancee does). Soy sauce + fish sauce + sesame oil+ brown sugar + spices (garlic, red pepper if you like it a bit spicy) = stir fry sauce. Start the rice in a rice cooker because lazy. Chop chicken and vegetables. Fry chicken in vegetable oil, throw in veggies and sauce. Mix, cover. When rice is done, stir fry is done too. Combine and enjoy. It's like 20 minutes to do. It's fairly authentic, and really yummy.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: skunkfunk on May 18, 2015, 09:18:01 AM

Man this thread has reminded me I need to cut back on dining out. Having a vehicle has made it so much easier slip into the lazy method of going to where someone else does the cooking.

Alright you and others who eat out for convenience, here's a quick meal faster than fast food that can be done with some non-perishable items and things you have on hand anyway.

Get a big bag or 2 of the frozen stir fry or teriyaki vegetables at Wal-Mart. Get a big bottle of teriyaki sauce (or whatever sauce you prefer.) Keep eggs on hand, keep rice on hand, keep oil on hand. If you suspect you'll be needing a quick meal sometime, cook a big batch of rice ahead of time. If not, it works without rice.

All you have to do is scramble the eggs, cook the rice, stir fry the vegetables for a minute and then throw in a little water and put a lid on. They'll steam nicely, leave it in there until the water is almost gone. Then add in the eggs and rice, throw some leftover meat in if it is handy. Stir in the sauce and after it is all warmed up you can eat.

If you have leftover rice handy it takes 8 minutes. If you don't, either leave out the rice or take the 25 minutes to make it. You can't go get food and get back home with it in 8 minutes. Can be done in a wok or a pan, with lid. Delicious, easy, cheaper than take-out. I do make sauces from scratch and do more complicated stuff but this is a go-to if you're in a hurry.

I'm no master chef but it is 75% as good as whatever I get at the sit down Chinese places. If you want something fancier you can make many other Chinese things in a comparable amount of time to getting a table at a nice restaurant. Of course, if you need Peking Duck or something you can forget it.

I won't hear any more arguments that you can't cook as fast as you can order out. 8 minutes from the moment you walk in the kitchen, delicious Chinese fast food.

I do something like this when I want Chinese food (or fiancee does). Soy sauce + fish sauce + sesame oil+ brown sugar + spices (garlic, red pepper if you like it a bit spicy) = stir fry sauce. Start the rice in a rice cooker because lazy. Chop chicken and vegetables. Fry chicken in vegetable oil, throw in veggies and sauce. Mix, cover. When rice is done, stir fry is done too. Combine and enjoy. It's like 20 minutes to do. It's fairly authentic, and really yummy.

Oh yeah, forgot the garlic. Definitely plop down some garlic for a few seconds before adding the vegetables if you have it handy. You can get as fancy as you'd like - scallions, ginger, chili sauce, toasted sesame oil, etc. but the basic recipe works with only those few ingredients.

Many great sauces are easy, but the point here is that you can throw it together faster than a box of spaghetti + a can of sauce and be done in 8 minutes. The teriyaki sauce or whatever you pick probably has garlic and such in it already.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Dollar Slice on May 18, 2015, 10:40:58 AM
I probably spend 50/50 on groceries and eating out. It's not great but I'm having a hard time budging those numbers.

8 minutes from the moment you walk in the kitchen, delicious Chinese fast food.

If you're really being honest about how much time it takes, you definitely need to include doing the dishes. And, yes, I can certainly go out and get food that fast. There are six bars and/or restaurants and/or coffee shops less than a one-minute walk from my front door, and with most you can call your order in and walk down and pick it up and come right back. (Or have it delivered if you're exceptionally lazy.) Welcome to urban life :-)

But that's not my problem with eating out. If I'm home, I eat home-made food. The problem is that there are a lot of days I'm just not at home between leaving for work in the morning and midnight. But I've yet to convince myself that saving $5 on a turkey sandwich grabbed on the way to something fun is worth having no social or cultural life outside the small apartment where I live alone. And the timing/distance/location just doesn't work for me to come home between getting off work and going out to do stuff in the evenings.

What I really hate is the way that healthy food costs a lot more when you are eating anything resembling fast food. You could eat incredibly cheaply in this town (probably cheaper than groceries) if you ate pizza, hot dogs, burgers, street cart food, etc. But for anything with a decent amount of vegetables you pay through the nose...
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: skunkfunk on May 18, 2015, 12:45:05 PM
I probably spend 50/50 on groceries and eating out. It's not great but I'm having a hard time budging those numbers.

8 minutes from the moment you walk in the kitchen, delicious Chinese fast food.

If you're really being honest about how much time it takes, you definitely need to include doing the dishes. And, yes, I can certainly go out and get food that fast. There are six bars and/or restaurants and/or coffee shops less than a one-minute walk from my front door, and with most you can call your order in and walk down and pick it up and come right back. (Or have it delivered if you're exceptionally lazy.) Welcome to urban life :-)

But that's not my problem with eating out. If I'm home, I eat home-made food. The problem is that there are a lot of days I'm just not at home between leaving for work in the morning and midnight. But I've yet to convince myself that saving $5 on a turkey sandwich grabbed on the way to something fun is worth having no social or cultural life outside the small apartment where I live alone. And the timing/distance/location just doesn't work for me to come home between getting off work and going out to do stuff in the evenings.

What I really hate is the way that healthy food costs a lot more when you are eating anything resembling fast food. You could eat incredibly cheaply in this town (probably cheaper than groceries) if you ate pizza, hot dogs, burgers, street cart food, etc. But for anything with a decent amount of vegetables you pay through the nose...

Alright, cleaning one wok and a wooden spoon, throwing the rest of it in the dishwasher. 2 more minutes. Fine. 10 minutes, I'll give you. You can eat 2-4 meals, or more, depending on how much you make. Even better!

This sounds more like a case of "failure to plan" and "whineypants" than "I have to or all my friends will abandon me." See point 6. (http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2013/09/20/wealth-advice-that-should-be-obvious/)
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: TRBeck on May 18, 2015, 12:50:49 PM
I probably spend 50/50 on groceries and eating out. It's not great but I'm having a hard time budging those numbers.

8 minutes from the moment you walk in the kitchen, delicious Chinese fast food.

If you're really being honest about how much time it takes, you definitely need to include doing the dishes. And, yes, I can certainly go out and get food that fast. There are six bars and/or restaurants and/or coffee shops less than a one-minute walk from my front door, and with most you can call your order in and walk down and pick it up and come right back. (Or have it delivered if you're exceptionally lazy.) Welcome to urban life :-)

But that's not my problem with eating out. If I'm home, I eat home-made food. The problem is that there are a lot of days I'm just not at home between leaving for work in the morning and midnight. But I've yet to convince myself that saving $5 on a turkey sandwich grabbed on the way to something fun is worth having no social or cultural life outside the small apartment where I live alone. And the timing/distance/location just doesn't work for me to come home between getting off work and going out to do stuff in the evenings.

What I really hate is the way that healthy food costs a lot more when you are eating anything resembling fast food. You could eat incredibly cheaply in this town (probably cheaper than groceries) if you ate pizza, hot dogs, burgers, street cart food, etc. But for anything with a decent amount of vegetables you pay through the nose...

This is why I do food prep on Sunday afternoons. It doesn't take long to put together a few sandwiches, some carrot and celery sticks, a big tub of salad, some snack-size baggies of almonds or peanuts...I grab everything I will need for the day in the morning and go. Sometimes that's just lunch; sometimes it's lunch, dinner, snacks, etc.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Dollar Slice on May 18, 2015, 02:57:36 PM
This sounds more like a case of "failure to plan" and "whineypants" than "I have to or all my friends will abandon me."

Failure to plan, yes, and that's what I'm trying to work out and gathering ideas on. But please don't put words in my mouth - I never said anything about my friends abandoning me if I don't go out. That's ridiculous. My friends don't give a shit when or where or how I eat as long as I am healthy and don't starve.

I frequently go out in the evenings because there are things in life that I'm very passionate about and enjoy very intensely that cannot happen at home or in the workplace. Some things are worth delaying FIRE a little bit - and we all have to decide what those things are for ourselves. I'd like to get the food budget down since it's just a side-effect of my schedule and has no impact on my happiness one way or another. I haven't been living here very long... it's still new to me. I went from getting home from work at 5:15 to getting home at 6:45 on the days when I go straight home, and not having time to stop at home at all on the evenings when I go out. And things cost a lot more here in general. I'm still figuring out the best way to do things. I got rid of the TV/cable, I cut electric use to the bone, I cut transportation costs as much as possible, now I'm working on my food budget.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: skunkfunk on May 18, 2015, 03:02:02 PM
But please don't put words in my mouth

Misunderstanding, I thought you were calling the meals out social events.

Have you considered TRBeck's suggestion? It sounds as if you are already considering the issue carefully, so I'll refrain from throwing out the usual list of suggestions. This is one of those things that many here have had to deal with but I can't offer firsthand advice. The extent of my uncontrollable fast food diet was merely due to being a lazy college student who didn't understand these things well enough.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Dollar Slice on May 18, 2015, 05:46:52 PM
Misunderstanding, I thought you were calling the meals out social events.
No... this is just purely for time efficiency. If I can't get home between work and whatever event I'm doing that night, I pick up a sandwich or a slice of pizza or whatever happens to be easy and cheap and not too unhealthy, just to feed myself on the way to where I'm going. On the plus side, NYC has super-cheap options for food (things like falafel, sandwiches, or chicken over rice can all be had for under $5) so I don't spend too terribly much. I end up skipping a lot of meals, too... or having a granola bar at dinnertime and eating a late-night meal when I get home. I would be tempted to try and live on $1 pizza slices if it weren't so unhealthy - three meals a day and your food budget for the month is $90! But then you'd have to factor in the cost of Lipitor... ;-)

Quote
Have you considered TRBeck's suggestion?
Yes, it's about the only thing I can really do to avoid eating out, although not having access to a fridge or microwave at work makes it less appealing to pre-prep everything from home. Can't really bring cooked leftovers at all, can't bring a lot of fresh and/or cooked foods for food safety reasons since they'd be sitting out all day. I think the best solution for me will be (after things at the new-ish job are more settled) to try and work slightly earlier hours so that I can go home for an hour in the evening. It would also be less stressful for me if I could chill out at home for a bit after work.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Daisy on May 18, 2015, 06:41:26 PM
Yes, it's about the only thing I can really do to avoid eating out, although not having access to a fridge or microwave at work makes it less appealing to pre-prep everything from home. Can't really bring cooked leftovers at all, can't bring a lot of fresh and/or cooked foods for food safety reasons since they'd be sitting out all day.

Insulated lunch cooler + blue ice block

Pack your turkey sandwich at home and take it with you. Add some durable veggies such as cucumber, carrots, celery as a side salad.

Roast some chickpeas and eat it as your protein. They don't need refrigeration.

Take canned sardines or tuna as an alternate protein.

This is what I did when I took my lunch with me while on the ski slopes. Didn't even require refrigeration due to the cold weather.

http://www.amazon.com/Rubbermaid-1080-TL-220-Blue-Ice%C2%AE-Block/dp/B0000DH4M3/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1431995941&sr=8-3&keywords=blue+ice+packs
http://www.amazon.com/Rubbermaid%C2%AE-Blue-Twin-Lunch-Pack/dp/B002N5IODU/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1431995941&sr=8-4&keywords=blue+ice+packs
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Exhale on May 18, 2015, 07:35:17 PM
Now that I really think about it, I think a major reason why Americans are eating out more than buying groceries is because Americans work a ridiculous amount of hours these days compared to previous generations.  After working a 60 hour week, many people are too tired to cook, so they just grab some takeout or eat out with friends.  Europeans, for example, work nowhere near as many hours as the typical American and they eat out less.

I agree with MoneyCat. It takes energy and planning to get food shopped, prepped and cooked. Luckily there are ways to streamline it and listen to your favorite radio program at the same time.

In addition to fatigue factor, eating out (or meeting for an overpriced coffee) seems to be the preferred way to socialize. Sometimes it seems like we're always eating or drinking (I'm in my mid 40s and can recall when folks didn't used walk around with coffee/tea cups in our hands. Now it's become normal.) That said, I don't seeing occasionally eating out as inherently bad - just skip the chains and support your local community businesses.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: thriftyc on May 18, 2015, 08:09:07 PM
Interesting. Last year we spent $257 on restaurants and $2426 on groceries. So far in 2015 we're at $74 for restaurants and $470 for groceries. Somehow I don't think we'll be part of this statistic.

Last year we were 20$ spend on restaurants and about 2600$ on groceries.  We're aiming for 0$ this year.

Impressive!
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: dragoncar on May 20, 2015, 03:56:09 AM
I probably spend 50/50 on groceries and eating out. It's not great but I'm having a hard time budging those numbers.

8 minutes from the moment you walk in the kitchen, delicious Chinese fast food.

If you're really being honest about how much time it takes, you definitely need to include doing the dishes. And, yes, I can certainly go out and get food that fast. There are six bars and/or restaurants and/or coffee shops less than a one-minute walk from my front door, and with most you can call your order in and walk down and pick it up and come right back. (Or have it delivered if you're exceptionally lazy.) Welcome to urban life :-)

But that's not my problem with eating out. If I'm home, I eat home-made food. The problem is that there are a lot of days I'm just not at home between leaving for work in the morning and midnight. But I've yet to convince myself that saving $5 on a turkey sandwich grabbed on the way to something fun is worth having no social or cultural life outside the small apartment where I live alone. And the timing/distance/location just doesn't work for me to come home between getting off work and going out to do stuff in the evenings.

What I really hate is the way that healthy food costs a lot more when you are eating anything resembling fast food. You could eat incredibly cheaply in this town (probably cheaper than groceries) if you ate pizza, hot dogs, burgers, street cart food, etc. But for anything with a decent amount of vegetables you pay through the nose...

I agree with you -- it's not faster.  But you want a healthy snack on your way somewhere?  Stop by the grocery store.  Buy a head of broccoli.  Eat broccoli.  Problem solved.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Dollar Slice on May 20, 2015, 08:30:11 AM
But you want a healthy snack on your way somewhere?  Stop by the grocery store.  Buy a head of broccoli.  Eat broccoli.  Problem solved.
Stopping by the grocery store is a great idea (albeit usually impractical in downtown Manhattan if you are short on time). But I feel like if you were able to get to a real grocery store there might be better options than gnawing on a whole head of raw broccoli. ;-)

I am happy to report that I went and crunched the Mint numbers for March (I was sick so much in April and May that my food bills were atypically low) and I have not actually reached the 50/50 mark on eating out. Restaurants and fast food are down in the 30s, percentage-wise. I think I've been exaggerating that expenditure in my head because I feel guilty about it. And I think I've been skipping more meals than I realized... for better or worse.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: dragoncar on May 23, 2015, 09:04:02 AM
But you want a healthy snack on your way somewhere?  Stop by the grocery store.  Buy a head of broccoli.  Eat broccoli.  Problem solved.
Stopping by the grocery store is a great idea (albeit usually impractical in downtown Manhattan if you are short on time). But I feel like if you were able to get to a real grocery store there might be better options than gnawing on a whole head of raw broccoli. ;-)

Well, duh.  Broccoli was just an example.  Don't forget whole heads of garlic and onions, too.  Maybe grab a pumpkin and crack it open on the sidewalk, if in season.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: PJ on May 24, 2015, 05:59:07 PM
But you want a healthy snack on your way somewhere?  Stop by the grocery store.  Buy a head of broccoli.  Eat broccoli.  Problem solved.
Stopping by the grocery store is a great idea (albeit usually impractical in downtown Manhattan if you are short on time). But I feel like if you were able to get to a real grocery store there might be better options than gnawing on a whole head of raw broccoli. ;-)

Well, duh.  Broccoli was just an example.  Don't forget whole heads of garlic and onions, too.  Maybe grab a pumpkin and crack it open on the sidewalk, if in season.

Hey!  Don't do that!  That's cruel.  You should at least humanely kill it before you crack it open on the sidewalk ...

(http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/79/2d/2c/792d2c14e580f43424199579ff482e1a.jpg)
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Bob W on May 27, 2015, 10:25:03 AM
I mentioned this on another thread --- Last week (I rarely eat breakfast out) I spent around $24 on breakfast for 2.   I had bacon eggs and toast and my friend had pancakes.  Coffee was $2.40.   Bob Evans.   

So the quick math tells me,  if my wife and I ate breakfast at Bob Evans daily our monthly breakfast bill would be $720.   That is twice what I strive for in monthly grocery purchases.   So I can see how a person could easily spend more eating out that on groceries.   

One more time,  I'm swearing off of restaurants!  This time I mean it!
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: forummm on May 27, 2015, 10:34:24 AM
But you want a healthy snack on your way somewhere?  Stop by the grocery store.  Buy a head of broccoli.  Eat broccoli.  Problem solved.
Stopping by the grocery store is a great idea (albeit usually impractical in downtown Manhattan if you are short on time). But I feel like if you were able to get to a real grocery store there might be better options than gnawing on a whole head of raw broccoli. ;-)

Well, duh.  Broccoli was just an example.  Don't forget whole heads of garlic and onions, too.  Maybe grab a pumpkin and crack it open on the sidewalk, if in season.

Hey!  Don't do that!  That's cruel.  You should at least humanely kill it before you crack it open on the sidewalk ...

(http://media-cache-ec0.pinimg.com/736x/79/2d/2c/792d2c14e580f43424199579ff482e1a.jpg)

You just never know what's going to show up on some of these threads...
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: chops on May 27, 2015, 05:47:22 PM
Delicious, easy, cheaper than take-out. I do make sauces from scratch and do more complicated stuff but this is a go-to if you're in a hurry.

I'm no master chef but it is 75% as good as whatever I get at the sit down Chinese places. If you want something fancier you can make many other Chinese things in a comparable amount of time to getting a table at a nice restaurant. Of course, if you need Peking Duck or something you can forget it.

I won't hear any more arguments that you can't cook as fast as you can order out. 8 minutes from the moment you walk in the kitchen, delicious Chinese fast food.
Damn I gotta try making this.  Sounds like even I couldn't screw this up.  Thanks!

 - Chops
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: escape on May 31, 2015, 04:51:02 AM
Donut,

I'm really fond of http://www.cookingforengineers. com as they spend a lot of time delving into the science behind it. Perhaps it would make your parents feel a little more comfortable with the idea of cooking. I've learned to make the most delightful prime rib & nice, fluffy baked potatoes from them. Both are so easy, pretty much set the oven to the right temp & leave it the bleep alone until it's done. I also figured out that a lot of my cooking snafus were due to not leaving things alone when I should have. ;)

Since you're local, I can give you a couple of ideas to avoid bland food in the Phoenix area. Saturday mornings, there are three farmers markets on Central Ave, one downtown @ McKinley, One @ Bethany Home & one on Northern. There's always something new & different, depending on the season. One of our friends usually vends @ the one on northern. His wares are usually pre mixed, natural herb & spice blends that run towards the hot & spicy side.

You can buy single herbs in small quantities at any Sprouts, usually by the bathroom, towards the cold & dairy case. If you want a bigger selection, usually a better value & a more personal interaction with a local business, there is Two Hawks Herbs on the NE corner of 67th Ave & Peoria. You can look them up on FaceBook or call Kathy @ 602-989-8468. She also carries more exotic stuff, so you can buy an ounce of galangal or rose petals if you are feeling adventurous but don't want to make a years long commitment to something you may only use once or twice in your life.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Bob W on June 04, 2015, 10:22:42 AM
Many grocery stores around here have restaurants.

I'm curious why more grocery stores don't have a bar at the entrance.   We have one here that does Margaritas in the summer months and one that often has free shots in the liquor dept. 

If I ever open a grocery store it will definitely have a bar (we'll call it something cute though like a cabana or sports hub) up front.   The drinks will be cheap and there will be drink holders on the carts.  No cash needed.   Just take this card with you when you check out.  Tuesdays could be two for a dollar tequila sunrise days. 

Tell me why grocery carts don't all have drink holders and food trays attached already?   Why am I rushing at the store when it could be an entire "experience" and a relaxing getaway?  Everything is funner with a little booze. 

"hey honey,  I'm going to the store.  Be back in a few hours."

Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: mm1970 on June 04, 2015, 11:10:10 AM
Many grocery stores around here have restaurants.

I'm curious why more grocery stores don't have a bar at the entrance.   We have one here that does Margaritas in the summer months and one that often has free shots in the liquor dept. 

If I ever open a grocery store it will definitely have a bar (we'll call it something cute though like a cabana or sports hub) up front.   The drinks will be cheap and there will be drink holders on the carts.  No cash needed.   Just take this card with you when you check out.  Tuesdays could be two for a dollar tequila sunrise days. 

Tell me why grocery carts don't all have drink holders and food trays attached already?   Why am I rushing at the store when it could be an entire "experience" and a relaxing getaway?  Everything is funner with a little booze. 

"hey honey,  I'm going to the store.  Be back in a few hours."
You gotta pay for that!  Whole Foods here has a wine/beer bar.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: dragoncar on June 04, 2015, 11:33:22 AM
Many grocery stores around here have restaurants.

I'm curious why more grocery stores don't have a bar at the entrance.   We have one here that does Margaritas in the summer months and one that often has free shots in the liquor dept. 

If I ever open a grocery store it will definitely have a bar (we'll call it something cute though like a cabana or sports hub) up front.   The drinks will be cheap and there will be drink holders on the carts.  No cash needed.   Just take this card with you when you check out.  Tuesdays could be two for a dollar tequila sunrise days. 

Tell me why grocery carts don't all have drink holders and food trays attached already?   Why am I rushing at the store when it could be an entire "experience" and a relaxing getaway?  Everything is funner with a little booze. 

"hey honey,  I'm going to the store.  Be back in a few hours."
You gotta pay for that!  Whole Foods here has a wine/beer bar.

I'm guessing they are worried about the licensing and insurance issues, but I agree they'd probably come out ahead.

You couldn't charge much of a markup -- there's a psychological issue when you see a 6-pack of beer for $7 in the next aisle over, and the "cabana" wants to charge you $3/beer.

And most people drive to the grocery store (maybe not on MMM, but that's my impression).
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Sid Hoffman on June 04, 2015, 11:46:10 AM
Tell me why grocery carts don't all have drink holders and food trays attached already?

Actually the Kroger near me already does have drink holders on the carts.  I think they added them after they put a Starbucks in the store.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Embok on June 05, 2015, 05:23:25 PM
I'm not surprised that so many people eat out so much.  I like to cook, and like to bake, having learned as a girl; but for a lot of years where I worked BigLaw hours, cooking for my family was a chore, even when I was more organized and did a lot of weekend batch cooking.  A vat of soup, a quick salad and a loaf of homemade bread got us through a lot of weeks.  DH is almost useless as a cook (though an occasionally willing sous chef); and sometimes the prospect of cooking AND doing all the dishes was just too much.  (DH has strategically avoided learning how to wash dishes;  he manages to splash them but leave them dirty, which is even more irritating than just leaving them, as I have to redo them.)
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Runrooster on June 05, 2015, 06:15:42 PM
Living downtown city it was really cheap to eat out, especially for lunch.  Buffet places, large carry out servings, and crazy markup at "soviet Safeway" grocery store.  Either they didn't have the loss leaders/ sale items or it was sad looking.  Then there started to be street vendors with fruit/veg like iin manhattan, which was fun.  Away from downtown its the complete reverse, the grocery stores are large and always over buy so there's something on clearance.  Even the convenience foods are discounted and I had to talk myself out of living on them because a $3 lasagna (family sized) still has more calories than I need.  So I splurge on the $1 each crab cakes and $4/lb feta stuffed flounder (ready to bake).
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Melody on June 10, 2015, 06:14:05 AM
This might be me :-( On the upside my total food bill is still only about 6% of my after tax pay. I go to fairly cheap restaurants and coupon and it forms part of my overall food "strategy" - yes I could go from $400 a month to $300 a month if I cooked more, but I'd spend a lot more time cooking and I don't enjoy it. If I as paying debt I'd do things differently.  (I'm in Australia so $50-$100 per person per week would be a pretty normal grocery budget so $100 a week to cover all food is reasonable.)
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Chris22 on June 12, 2015, 11:15:05 AM

Man this thread has reminded me I need to cut back on dining out. Having a vehicle has made it so much easier slip into the lazy method of going to where someone else does the cooking.

Alright you and others who eat out for convenience, here's a quick meal faster than fast food that can be done with some non-perishable items and things you have on hand anyway.

Get a big bag or 2 of the frozen stir fry or teriyaki vegetables at Wal-Mart. Get a big bottle of teriyaki sauce (or whatever sauce you prefer.) Keep eggs on hand, keep rice on hand, keep oil on hand. If you suspect you'll be needing a quick meal sometime, cook a big batch of rice ahead of time. If not, it works without rice.

All you have to do is scramble the eggs, cook the rice, stir fry the vegetables for a minute and then throw in a little water and put a lid on. They'll steam nicely, leave it in there until the water is almost gone. Then add in the eggs and rice, throw some leftover meat in if it is handy. Stir in the sauce and after it is all warmed up you can eat.

If you have leftover rice handy it takes 8 minutes. If you don't, either leave out the rice or take the 25 minutes to make it. You can't go get food and get back home with it in 8 minutes. Can be done in a wok or a pan, with lid. Delicious, easy, cheaper than take-out. I do make sauces from scratch and do more complicated stuff but this is a go-to if you're in a hurry.

I'm no master chef but it is 75% as good as whatever I get at the sit down Chinese places. If you want something fancier you can make many other Chinese things in a comparable amount of time to getting a table at a nice restaurant. Of course, if you need Peking Duck or something you can forget it.

I won't hear any more arguments that you can't cook as fast as you can order out. 8 minutes from the moment you walk in the kitchen, delicious Chinese fast food.

A) that doesn't sound that good (sorry) and B) I don't leave my house, go out, get food, and come back, I stop on my way home. 

Personally, I found when I was single that it was a pain to make something I both wanted to eat and was easy to make in a small portion.  Sure, you can make a casserole and eat it for a week, but who wants to eat the same thing every meal?  Once you start cooking for multiple people, it's a little easier to make it more appealing to cook at home.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: skunkfunk on June 12, 2015, 01:52:52 PM


A) that doesn't sound that good (sorry) and

Believe me, it's every bit as good as the shit-tastic Chinese food that you can have delivered or pick up in less than 10 minutes. That stuff is garbage, and the meal I posted here I actually made Wednesday night out of leftover grilled chicken thighs and brown rice - it's good. If you don't like it, then you're picky.

If you want to argue that eating out is great for single people, go to a Dave Ramsey forum or /r/personalfinance, not MMM.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: dragoncar on June 12, 2015, 02:07:48 PM


A) that doesn't sound that good (sorry) and

Believe me, it's every bit as good as the shit-tastic Chinese food that you can have delivered or pick up in less than 10 minutes. That stuff is garbage, and the meal I posted here I actually made Wednesday night out of leftover grilled chicken thighs and brown rice - it's good. If you don't like it, then you're picky.

If you want to argue that eating out is great for single people, go to a Dave Ramsey forum or /r/personalfinance, not MMM.

Why would you want to eat shit-tastic food, though?  Just make some good food.  I don't want to imagine what Chinese takeout is like in Oklahoma.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: skunkfunk on June 12, 2015, 02:16:23 PM


A) that doesn't sound that good (sorry) and

Believe me, it's every bit as good as the shit-tastic Chinese food that you can have delivered or pick up in less than 10 minutes. That stuff is garbage, and the meal I posted here I actually made Wednesday night out of leftover grilled chicken thighs and brown rice - it's good. If you don't like it, then you're picky.

If you want to argue that eating out is great for single people, go to a Dave Ramsey forum or /r/personalfinance, not MMM.

Why would you want to eat shit-tastic food, though?  Just make some good food.  I don't want to imagine what Chinese takeout is like in Oklahoma.

I don't, what I ate was good. Perhaps I misspoke. I'm saying it's better than the mixed rice I'd buy at Panda Express or wherever. I did go there once, it was nasty. I heard a cricket inside the ice machine and the meal was lukewarm.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: dragoncar on June 12, 2015, 03:32:25 PM


A) that doesn't sound that good (sorry) and

Believe me, it's every bit as good as the shit-tastic Chinese food that you can have delivered or pick up in less than 10 minutes. That stuff is garbage, and the meal I posted here I actually made Wednesday night out of leftover grilled chicken thighs and brown rice - it's good. If you don't like it, then you're picky.

If you want to argue that eating out is great for single people, go to a Dave Ramsey forum or /r/personalfinance, not MMM.

Why would you want to eat shit-tastic food, though?  Just make some good food.  I don't want to imagine what Chinese takeout is like in Oklahoma.

I don't, what I ate was good. Perhaps I misspoke. I'm saying it's better than the mixed rice I'd buy at Panda Express or wherever. I did go there once, it was nasty. I heard a cricket inside the ice machine and the meal was lukewarm.

The food here is terrible, and the portions are too small
Title: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Philociraptor on June 12, 2015, 03:51:20 PM
This is a habit I hate to see go. We have a very generous $50 a week entertainment budget which can be used for eating out, movies or going to the bar. The latter 2 aren't much of an issue, I side hustle at a bar so we can usually drink for free but not ordering pizza or going out to eat has been a habit that has been one of the hardest to break.
I. HATE. COOKING.
I'm not a terrible cook, I just don't get the same joy out of it as most people seem to. Unfortunately DH's cooking skills only extend to the microwave so cooking falls on me.

I hear you, hubby's skills are not great in the kitchen, so it falls on me too.  I don't hate cooking, but it was getting to be more of a chore for me.  I recently purchased an electric pressure cooker, and it has totally revitalized my desire to cook.  Doesn't hurt that I get to go do other stuff while the food is cooking.  Best $70 I spent!  :)

I don't understand this. Sure, my wife is the head chef in the kitchen: she makes the grocery list, decides on the meals for the week, etc. But when it's time to cook we're both working in the kitchen until it's done and we have meals for the week. Notable exceptions are when only one of us are home or I'm handling the grill outside; otherwise, we both contribute. Husbands may not enjoy cooking, but I'm certain they enjoy eating. Sounds like a good opportunity for growth and some joint skill building.

Edit: I don't mean to sound disparaging, but cooking is such a basic life skill and so much fun to do together. If I didn't learn to enjoy cooking or at least help out I'd go hungry.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: skunkfunk on June 30, 2015, 11:39:31 AM


A) that doesn't sound that good (sorry) and

Believe me, it's every bit as good as the shit-tastic Chinese food that you can have delivered or pick up in less than 10 minutes. That stuff is garbage, and the meal I posted here I actually made Wednesday night out of leftover grilled chicken thighs and brown rice - it's good. If you don't like it, then you're picky.

If you want to argue that eating out is great for single people, go to a Dave Ramsey forum or /r/personalfinance, not MMM.

Why would you want to eat shit-tastic food, though?  Just make some good food.  I don't want to imagine what Chinese takeout is like in Oklahoma.

If you want it DELICIOUS, make it from fresh vegetables (as I did last night) and make your own sauce. Unfortunately that takes it out of "faster than take-out" range with which I was trying to appeal to a typical person who might eat out for convenience. Probably took me half an hour of cutting vegetables last night. I'm slow and have bad technique, whatever. If you want it FAST, if will of course not taste as nice as all fresh vegetables and home-made sauce with fresh steak, chicken, shrimp, whatever.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: dragoncar on June 30, 2015, 01:22:33 PM


A) that doesn't sound that good (sorry) and

Believe me, it's every bit as good as the shit-tastic Chinese food that you can have delivered or pick up in less than 10 minutes. That stuff is garbage, and the meal I posted here I actually made Wednesday night out of leftover grilled chicken thighs and brown rice - it's good. If you don't like it, then you're picky.

If you want to argue that eating out is great for single people, go to a Dave Ramsey forum or /r/personalfinance, not MMM.

Why would you want to eat shit-tastic food, though?  Just make some good food.  I don't want to imagine what Chinese takeout is like in Oklahoma.

If you want it DELICIOUS, make it from fresh vegetables (as I did last night) and make your own sauce. Unfortunately that takes it out of "faster than take-out" range with which I was trying to appeal to a typical person who might eat out for convenience. Probably took me half an hour of cutting vegetables last night. I'm slow and have bad technique, whatever. If you want it FAST, if will of course not taste as nice as all fresh vegetables and home-made sauce with fresh steak, chicken, shrimp, whatever.

Can I get your sauce recipe?  That's easily made ahead of time as a batch.  I'm also a pretty fast chopper (or you can use a food processor)
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: skunkfunk on June 30, 2015, 01:31:50 PM


A) that doesn't sound that good (sorry) and

Believe me, it's every bit as good as the shit-tastic Chinese food that you can have delivered or pick up in less than 10 minutes. That stuff is garbage, and the meal I posted here I actually made Wednesday night out of leftover grilled chicken thighs and brown rice - it's good. If you don't like it, then you're picky.

If you want to argue that eating out is great for single people, go to a Dave Ramsey forum or /r/personalfinance, not MMM.

Why would you want to eat shit-tastic food, though?  Just make some good food.  I don't want to imagine what Chinese takeout is like in Oklahoma.

If you want it DELICIOUS, make it from fresh vegetables (as I did last night) and make your own sauce. Unfortunately that takes it out of "faster than take-out" range with which I was trying to appeal to a typical person who might eat out for convenience. Probably took me half an hour of cutting vegetables last night. I'm slow and have bad technique, whatever. If you want it FAST, if will of course not taste as nice as all fresh vegetables and home-made sauce with fresh steak, chicken, shrimp, whatever.

Can I get your sauce recipe?  That's easily made ahead of time as a batch.  I'm also a pretty fast chopper (or you can use a food processor)

I have the old Sunset Chinese cook book. (http://www.amazon.com/Chinese-Cook-Book-Sunset/dp/0376023023) I'm still working my way through it but that stuff has been great. Haven't had a bad sauce out of there.

Here's a few other simple sauces I've used in the stir fry.

This one looks like it would work better with some corn starch to thicken it. (http://savorysweetlife.com/2009/07/marinade-this-bulgogi-recipe-korean-barbequed-beef/)

Simple sweet and sour sauce. (http://www.food.com/recipe/the-best-sweet-and-sour-sauce-76003)

This one works nicely too. (http://www.food.com/recipe/orange-chicken-sauce-381956)

One reason that I get fired up about this is that I'm still a novice. I just started cooking seriously in the last year. I would have started years ago if I'd realized it was this easy to get the food I used to eat at restaurants. I'd love it if some cooks more experienced than myself would chime in with some sauces, too.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Sylly on July 01, 2015, 09:59:02 AM
Believe me, it's every bit as good as the shit-tastic Chinese food that you can have delivered or pick up in less than 10 minutes. That stuff is garbage, and the meal I posted here I actually made Wednesday night out of leftover grilled chicken thighs and brown rice - it's good. If you don't like it, then you're picky.

Part of this may depend on geography. Some of us live in areas where we can toss a rock in any direction and find it land on good, cheap ethnic food. It spoiled me, I freely admit that. Enough such that one of my requirement for retirement location is proximity to a large enough metro area where there is sufficiently diverse food offerings available.

I probably eat out more than the average Mustachian (though far less than the typical American I'm sure), and I'm perfectly fine with it. Sometimes it's due to convenience, and other times due to "I feel like having such-and-such food we haven't figured out how to make well yet." I don't doubt that there are people here, who are better at cooking than I am, who can make just any type of food they want to eat. Good for them. As for me, I like variety, have tasted some very good restaurant food (whether it be ethnic or fine dining), and am not afraid to admit my skills aren't there yet to make such good food. So yes, every now and then I indulge.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: zephyr911 on July 01, 2015, 10:25:07 AM
If you want it DELICIOUS, make it from fresh vegetables (as I did last night) and make your own sauce. Unfortunately that takes it out of "faster than take-out" range with which I was trying to appeal to a typical person who might eat out for convenience. Probably took me half an hour of cutting vegetables last night. I'm slow and have bad technique, whatever. If you want it FAST, if will of course not taste as nice as all fresh vegetables and home-made sauce with fresh steak, chicken, shrimp, whatever.
I can approximate a damn good sauce in the final 5 minutes of cooking the veggies (no extra time) with a quick deglaze, if I have the right shit lying around. Just cook it right into the pan. Ever tried it that way?
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: skunkfunk on July 01, 2015, 10:27:21 AM
If you want it DELICIOUS, make it from fresh vegetables (as I did last night) and make your own sauce. Unfortunately that takes it out of "faster than take-out" range with which I was trying to appeal to a typical person who might eat out for convenience. Probably took me half an hour of cutting vegetables last night. I'm slow and have bad technique, whatever. If you want it FAST, if will of course not taste as nice as all fresh vegetables and home-made sauce with fresh steak, chicken, shrimp, whatever.
I can approximate a damn good sauce in the final 5 minutes of cooking the veggies (no extra time) with a quick deglaze, if I have the right shit lying around. Just cook it right into the pan. Ever tried it that way?

Not a bad plan. I haven't ever actually done that. I'll try it. Most of the extra time I spend doing it that way is cutting up peppers, though. I haven't figured out a good hack for cutting peppers.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: zephyr911 on July 01, 2015, 10:30:32 AM
Not a bad plan. I haven't ever actually done that. I'll try it. Most of the extra time I spend doing it that way is cutting up peppers, though. I haven't figured out a good hack for cutting peppers.
I'm sure someone out there has a hack. Personally, I enjoy prep work enough that the time requirement rarely dissuades me. I find all that cutting very Zen.
If I'm too tired to stand up and do it, that's about the only time I veer away from cooking.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: EricP on July 01, 2015, 10:37:19 AM
As for the main topic of discussion, it's not really too surprising that this would happen eventually.  As people make more money, they spend more money on luxury stuff (eating out, etc.).  Additionally, with a transition to two working parents, people are going to eat out more because they don't want to spend the time cooking and cleaning dishes, but still want quality food.

It's much harder to increase your spending at the grocery store than it is to increase spending at restaurants and bars.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Mrs.LC on July 07, 2015, 10:09:07 AM
If you factor in the amount of money spent at the grocery stores for food that is wasted the restaurant/bar spending ratio is even higher. People buy food with good intentions but then go out to eat instead. Sad.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: dragoncar on July 07, 2015, 04:11:41 PM
Not a bad plan. I haven't ever actually done that. I'll try it. Most of the extra time I spend doing it that way is cutting up peppers, though. I haven't figured out a good hack for cutting peppers.
I'm sure someone out there has a hack. Personally, I enjoy prep work enough that the time requirement rarely dissuades me. I find all that cutting very Zen.
If I'm too tired to stand up and do it, that's about the only time I veer away from cooking.

I'm not sure I understand what's hard or slow about cutting peppers.  Peppers are way faster than onions, for example.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: 4alpacas on July 07, 2015, 04:31:39 PM
If you want it DELICIOUS, make it from fresh vegetables (as I did last night) and make your own sauce. Unfortunately that takes it out of "faster than take-out" range with which I was trying to appeal to a typical person who might eat out for convenience. Probably took me half an hour of cutting vegetables last night. I'm slow and have bad technique, whatever. If you want it FAST, if will of course not taste as nice as all fresh vegetables and home-made sauce with fresh steak, chicken, shrimp, whatever.
I can approximate a damn good sauce in the final 5 minutes of cooking the veggies (no extra time) with a quick deglaze, if I have the right shit lying around. Just cook it right into the pan. Ever tried it that way?
Bell peppers? (http://www.finecooking.com/articles/how-to-cut-bell-pepper.aspx)
Not a bad plan. I haven't ever actually done that. I'll try it. Most of the extra time I spend doing it that way is cutting up peppers, though. I haven't figured out a good hack for cutting peppers.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Daisy on July 09, 2015, 08:22:07 PM
Bell peppers? (http://www.finecooking.com/articles/how-to-cut-bell-pepper.aspx)

Mind. Blown.

All of those years of cutting peppers and never thought to do that!
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: JGS1980 on April 02, 2021, 09:15:34 PM
How about now?

Does the Covid Pandemic change the math? Is cooking for oneself via base ingredients sourced at the local market just something that lessens more and more as you rise the economic ladder? How does the more recent trend of lawn to garden, roof gardens effect this?

Sorry, off the cuff here.

JGS
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Dicey on April 06, 2021, 11:43:49 PM
Wow! Quite a turn around, I'll bet. Thanks for reviving this thread!
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Bloop Bloop Reloaded on April 06, 2021, 11:54:30 PM
I eat out all the time because it's less psychic energy than cooking. Cooking requires setting up, planning, cleaning up, etc and I just don't want to spend the energy. It's not a matter of time/money for me, but a matter of conserving energy - same reason I pay an accountant to do my taxes when I'm well capable of doing them myself.

Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: partgypsy on April 07, 2021, 06:38:30 AM
Bell peppers? (http://www.finecooking.com/articles/how-to-cut-bell-pepper.aspx)

Mind. Blown.

All of those years of cutting peppers and never thought to do that!

Weird. I've been doing a variation of that for awhile and didn't know it was something special.
yes. I bet spending habits have definitely changed over the past year. It would be interesting to see an article on it. I wonder if those changes will stick, or people will go back to restaurant eating once the stay at home orders lessen.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: dragoncar on April 07, 2021, 11:37:41 AM
I eat out all the time because it's less psychic energy than cooking. Cooking requires setting up, planning, cleaning up, etc and I just don't want to spend the energy. It's not a matter of time/money for me, but a matter of conserving energy - same reason I pay an accountant to do my taxes when I'm well capable of doing them myself.

How much did you pay the ghostwriter to make this energy intensive comment?
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: TrMama on April 07, 2021, 12:07:35 PM
We didn't eat out that much in the Before Times, and the pandemic has decreased our frequency even more. We used to eat out as a family about once a week. Now DH and I have "date night" about once a month (we get take out and drive to a scenic spot to eat) and once every 2 months we get take out for the whole family. One of the reasons is that due to the threat of food shortages last spring, I now keep a ridiculous amount of food in the house. We have a big selection of lots of things at all times. So I basically never opt for restaurant food just because I don't have anything inspiring in the house like in the olden days. I'm also never too worn out from my commute to feel like cooking.

I put in a garden last spring (see previous fears about not having enough food). Since I also now work from home the garden is extremely well tended and produced a ton of food last summer. It's relaxing to take a 10 min break to pull a few weeds and pick a snack. There's also no way I'm going to let any of that produce go to waste after I've put so much work into growing it. Turing the veggies into dinner is a pleasure rather than a chore. These are both habits I hope to continue with long term, but realistically I don't think I'll ever get over the anxiety I felt from worrying that we might not even have access to much produce.
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: JGS1980 on April 07, 2021, 06:26:26 PM
We didn't eat out that much in the Before Times, and the pandemic has decreased our frequency even more. We used to eat out as a family about once a week. Now DH and I have "date night" about once a month (we get take out and drive to a scenic spot to eat) and once every 2 months we get take out for the whole family. One of the reasons is that due to the threat of food shortages last spring, I now keep a ridiculous amount of food in the house. We have a big selection of lots of things at all times. So I basically never opt for restaurant food just because I don't have anything inspiring in the house like in the olden days. I'm also never too worn out from my commute to feel like cooking.

I put in a garden last spring (see previous fears about not having enough food). Since I also now work from home the garden is extremely well tended and produced a ton of food last summer. It's relaxing to take a 10 min break to pull a few weeds and pick a snack. There's also no way I'm going to let any of that produce go to waste after I've put so much work into growing it. Turing the veggies into dinner is a pleasure rather than a chore. These are both habits I hope to continue with long term, but realistically I don't think I'll ever get over the anxiety I felt from worrying that we might not even have access to much produce.

Wins the thread
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: partgypsy on April 08, 2021, 05:58:53 AM
I really like the idea of going "out" to eat aka a picnic. Finally picnic weather!
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: Reynold on April 22, 2021, 01:44:01 PM
  • Given the increased pressure on the daily schedule (work hours) and the unwillingness of men to share equitably in the household duties that still exist, the fact that food preparation has been outsourced to the public sector is not at all surprising. One could argue that this is true for other household duties as well--buy new clothes instead of sewing a pocket/hem, pay a maid service instead of doing one's vacuuming/dusting, etc.

This is a very good point, cooking is not the only thing outsourced by households compared to 20-30 years ago.  Growing up, I made some money mowing lawns, but I almost never saw a "lawn service" truck in the neighborhood doing lawn care (trimming, weeding, etc.) and I never even heard of gutter cleaning services.  Now, its a rare commute when I'm not detouring around a truck with crew doing lawn care, and we are constantly getting mailers for gutter cleaning and other services.  The grocery stores have much larger "pre-prepared" food sections than they used to.  Good luck even finding a fabric store with supplies to make or repair clothes, it is now a specialized hobby, not something anyone "normal" would do to save money. 
Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
Post by: dragoncar on April 22, 2021, 03:57:05 PM
    • Given the increased pressure on the daily schedule (work hours) and the unwillingness of men to share equitably in the household duties that still exist, the fact that food preparation has been outsourced to the public sector is not at all surprising. One could argue that this is true for other household duties as well--buy new clothes instead of sewing a pocket/hem, pay a maid service instead of doing one's vacuuming/dusting, etc.

    This is a very good point, cooking is not the only thing outsourced by households compared to 20-30 years ago.  Growing up, I made some money mowing lawns, but I almost never saw a "lawn service" truck in the neighborhood doing lawn care (trimming, weeding, etc.) and I never even heard of gutter cleaning services.  Now, its a rare commute when I'm not detouring around a truck with crew doing lawn care, and we are constantly getting mailers for gutter cleaning and other services.  The grocery stores have much larger "pre-prepared" food sections than they used to.  Good luck even finding a fabric store with supplies to make or repair clothes, it is now a specialized hobby, not something anyone "normal" would do to save money.

    Just a note, “public sector” doesn’t meant businesses it means government[/list]
    Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
    Post by: clarkfan1979 on April 24, 2021, 03:01:45 PM
    I had a few friends that traveled quite a bit for their career when they were in their late 20's and early 30's. They had some very negative attitudes regarding the grocery store. This is mostly because they would go out of town for 4-5 days at a time and their food would spoil. They gave up on grocery shopping completely and just ate out at restaurants 24/7.

    They tried to tell me that restaurants are cheaper than the grocery store. I was in grad school and I spend about $200/month on groceries. They spent around $25/meal. We lived in different states at the time, so they just said, "You don't know the groceries stores here. They are really expensive." Whatever.
    Title: Re: Americans now spend more in bars & restaurants than grocery stores
    Post by: maisymouser on May 23, 2021, 04:09:44 PM
    We didn't eat out that much in the Before Times, and the pandemic has decreased our frequency even more. We used to eat out as a family about once a week. Now DH and I have "date night" about once a month (we get take out and drive to a scenic spot to eat) and once every 2 months we get take out for the whole family. One of the reasons is that due to the threat of food shortages last spring, I now keep a ridiculous amount of food in the house. We have a big selection of lots of things at all times. So I basically never opt for restaurant food just because I don't have anything inspiring in the house like in the olden days. I'm also never too worn out from my commute to feel like cooking.

    I put in a garden last spring (see previous fears about not having enough food). Since I also now work from home the garden is extremely well tended and produced a ton of food last summer. It's relaxing to take a 10 min break to pull a few weeds and pick a snack. There's also no way I'm going to let any of that produce go to waste after I've put so much work into growing it. Turing the veggies into dinner is a pleasure rather than a chore. These are both habits I hope to continue with long term, but realistically I don't think I'll ever get over the anxiety I felt from worrying that we might not even have access to much produce.

    Wins the thread

    +1