Author Topic: Reduce Eating Out  (Read 4941 times)

enpower

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Reduce Eating Out
« on: August 25, 2014, 08:14:47 PM »
I'm finding trying to reduce eating out at cafe's and restaurants a bit difficult lately.

I have a small group of friends and a medium/large group of extended family.

It seems lately everyone is having a birthday party out for dinner, celebrating an engagement, having a leaving party for moving town/country, etc.

For the last few months pretty much every weekend has been $20 here, $30 there, parking, travel costs, etc.

I don't want to not go to my best friends birthday party but I feel like spending has been a bit out of control.

JustTrying

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Re: Reduce Eating Out
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2014, 11:15:52 PM »
Three things that I do:

1) Make it clear to my friends that I prefer less expensive activities. We can hike, we can picnic, we can have a game night, etc, etc, etc, but I'm not particularly interested in going out to eat. Because they know this, they're less inclined to invite me to dinners and things that they know I don't particularly enjoy.

2) "Pre-game" when I am going to a restaurant. I try to eat before going out to eat so that I can order something less expensive, like soup. It works.

3) Use the "Previous engagement" excuse. I have absolutely no problem turning down expensive plans by telling others that I have a "previous engagement." I mean, yes, the "Previous engagement" might just be plans to walk my dog, but I can still claim that it's a plan!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Reduce Eating Out
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2014, 06:57:46 AM »
Try to start a tradition of doing cookouts instead for eating out. At BBQs the drinks can be as plentiful as you want, you can be as loud as you want, AND it saves money.

My family and friends almost never eat out. One, it's a hassle since a lot of us have kids. Two, it's expensive. So we usually do potluck cookouts or take turns hosting dinner.

For example, tonight I'm supplying grilled fare, my sister is bringing a cake, and my mom is bringing watermelon to celebrate Goblin Beta's seventh nameday. We're going to feed six adults and six kids for about $60.

Tomorrow we're bringing dessert to share with Mustachian friends we alternate houses with roughly once a month for a dinner and board game night.

norabird

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Re: Reduce Eating Out
« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2014, 09:49:00 AM »
I feel you. I tend to believe it's worth the cost, but it can add up and it never quite feels like a real choice. Can you carpool with friends to save money on parking? Do you order drinks when out? Cutting out drinks helps hugely. Some restaurants also let you bring in your own cake for a celebration. And if it really is just getting too much, say you can''t make it but offer to have them over or to meet for coffee to celebrate their birthday, see them before they move, etc.

I have friends who sometimes do the 'first dinner, then x activity' routine (even if just going to a bar). Skip the sit-down part when that happens--you still get the facetime, but for less cost. I have done the 'appear to join the table at dessert' thing too depending on how casual the establishment is.

rujancified

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Re: Reduce Eating Out
« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2014, 10:02:34 AM »
We bought a house with a good backyard and my husband is a good cook, so we just invite people over now.

Before that, I was big on pregaming if I was light on cash. Or skipping the more expensive part of the event & meet for happy hour beers before dinner or just getting an appetizer for a meal. Paying for parking is a total b!tch - Carpooling an option? Or train/bus? Following a public transport schedule can be a good excuse to be late or leave early!

boarder42

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Re: Reduce Eating Out
« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2014, 10:07:46 AM »
definitely do the pre game eating.  then maybe say you already ate and just have a beer or a pop or an appetizer. or suggest they go to pizza street or cici's pizza b/c you're on a budget. 

enpower

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Re: Reduce Eating Out
« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2014, 03:20:48 PM »
Ok thanks all. Good suggestions here.

brooklynmoney

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Re: Reduce Eating Out
« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2014, 08:11:42 PM »
I just went through this in July except since I'm in NYC it was 3x what you were spending every time. I was tired hungover and relatively broke by the end but I sucked it up and then turned into a hermit in August to compensate.

wutra

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Re: Reduce Eating Out
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2014, 09:18:22 AM »
I've had the same issue lately but I'm not going to skip events that are important to me just to save a $50. I usually eat before hand and order the cheapest thing on the menu (salad, soup, etc.) and a water. I'll also adjust other things that I would normally spend money on to accomodate for the increased restaurant expenses (IE I wont be purchasing a 12 pack of beer / no meat with a few meals out of the week).

TreeTired

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Re: Reduce Eating Out
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2014, 09:42:55 AM »
I agonize for days about spending $59 for a pair of running shoes for example -  spend 1/2 hour investigating online,  looking at different deals,  do I pay tax, shipping?  Then decide I can use my old worn out pair for another couple of weeks... after all, it's $59.   Then we go out and blow $75 on a freaking MEAL !!   lol

grizbiz

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Re: Reduce Eating Out
« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2014, 10:11:08 AM »
Do what I do! Find all the deals in your area to suggest when you and your friends go out. For example, On Wednesdays I go to Greene Turtle in my local area because it's 2 for 1 night. 6 beers and I only spent $12. A pack of the gluten free beer (Omission) I need costs about $11, so for the atmosphere it's a really good deal. On Saturdays I go to my local Union Jacks for $3 rails and I can get a huuuuge plate of nachos for $6 at the Loonies near me during happy hour.

Going out is not necessarily the best thing to do to save money, but you should still live a little. As Brooklynmoney said, there will always be periods when you can make up for that, and sometimes spending some money to have a good time with friends can be worth it.

On the other hand, I would suggest planning something yourself. Plan a low cost event on your own terms such as a hike, movie night, or gaming night.
« Last Edit: August 28, 2014, 10:14:39 AM by grizbiz »

Ftao93

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Re: Reduce Eating Out
« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2014, 11:12:36 AM »
I agonize for days about spending $59 for a pair of running shoes for example -  spend 1/2 hour investigating online,  looking at different deals,  do I pay tax, shipping?  Then decide I can use my old worn out pair for another couple of weeks... after all, it's $59.   Then we go out and blow $75 on a freaking MEAL !!   lol

YEP!

this is also why I never say:  "We won't buy anything or go out to eat for 3 months!".  It leads to a binge.

Instead I just try to say to myself:  "Will I be happier for having a MEH meal of takeout and a beer, or will I be happier for having that $35 in my account?"

Part of my self-punching is going out to drink (my wife doesn't) and making bad food choices while doing so.  Oopsie!

hybrid

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Re: Reduce Eating Out
« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2014, 11:38:33 AM »
Ah, yeah, this can be a tough one. On the one hand, spending time with friends and family is important. On the other, it can add up fast. So I would suggest being proactive about it. Birthdays are entirely predictable. Everyone knows well in advance they are coming up, so take it upon yourself to put together the potluck or BBQ rather than getting sucked into the expensive meal that won't add any value to the experience. Your friends and family don't have a problem with the consumerism but you do, therefore the burden is on you to come up with the suitable alternative. You may just find that other folks will be quite happy to save some cash but simply needed someone to come up with a way to do it. We had this issue in my family several years ago, eventually I had to say "No mas!" to eating out for every birthday. Now we only do it rarely and have a family dinner the rest of the time.

If you can manage that sort of thing most of the time, then don't sweat going out occasionally if it is not wrecking the budget.

3) Use the "Previous engagement" excuse. I have absolutely no problem turning down expensive plans by telling others that I have a "previous engagement." I mean, yes, the "Previous engagement" might just be plans to walk my dog, but I can still claim that it's a plan!

I am not a fan of this strategy at all. The goal is not to avoid social occasions to save money. I would save this as the last resort.

southern granny

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Re: Reduce Eating Out
« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2014, 06:21:36 PM »
We have this happen all the time.  Last weekend my husband and I ate out on Friday night.  Friends called and wanted to eat out Saturday night, so we did.  Then other friends wanted to eat out Sunday afternoon, which we did.  We manage to keep the costs down somewhat but we don't skimp on the tip.  I usually drink water and we don't have any alcohol.  We eat at moderately priced restaurants.  Three times in one weekend is not our norm, but it happens.  We don't eat out at all during the week and we both carry our lunches to work every day.  I  don't regret the meals that we eat out with friends.  I do regret all the meals we used to eat out just because we didn't want to cook. We don't do that anymore.  If we don't want to cook, we will just fix sandwiches or something quick.   Several suggested having pot lucks or cook outs...  I don't like to do that because people tend to stay too long.  I enjoy time with friends, but we have invited people to supper who show up at 2 or 3 and are still there at 8.  That is a little too much for me.  I am exhausted by the time everyone is gone.