Author Topic: Suggestions for avoiding restaurants  (Read 2185 times)

kaypinkHH

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Suggestions for avoiding restaurants
« on: December 01, 2017, 11:18:33 AM »
Hi all, this may have already been discussed, but I can't seem to find it...

The biggest area for me to cut back in financially is restaurant spending. Mr.HH and I love cooking so recreating restaurant quality meals at home isn't an issue. But where we seem to lose a lot of money is when others suggest meeting up at a restaurant. (Note, we are currently living with my inlaws as a temporary moving situtation, but eventually we will have our own house and host more).

This month alone we have spent $250 going out to eat because other people have suggested it. Here are a few of the situations:
1. I traveled out of town to visit a friend, we went out to lunch and then breakfast the next day. She was renting a place without a fully stocked kitchen, so this was the "easiest option."

2. Friend came to visit from out of town, he suggested lunch out with 10 other friends.

3. Travelling with in-laws, they suggested we all go out to lunch with other family members.

4. Family came to visit from out of town, first night they brought food, second night we had spent the day running around and wouldn't have had time to cook a meal, so we all went out to dinner (10 people).

There were others..maybe this was just an usually high spend month for this type of spending....just wondering if anyone has unique suggestions to minimize this type of spend.

Hotstreak

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Re: Suggestions for avoiding restaurants
« Reply #1 on: December 01, 2017, 12:16:49 PM »
Eat a snack before you go so you can order a small dish, or split a dish with your husband.  Don't drink anything except water while you're out, and bring cash so you can pay for your own food easily, and don't get stuck splitting "evenly" with large spenders.


Go to cheaper restaurants.  If you're busy and out, you can get a Subway for $5 which should hold you over to the next meal.  Pack a bag of almonds or an apple or something if you need more to snack on.


Prepare things with long cook times ahead of time, before company comes.  You shouldn't ever "not have time to cook" especially compared to how long it takes to drive to a restaurant, be seated, order, and wait for them to cook your food for you.  An easy meal example would be a precooked pork loin, you can easily boil some pasta and open a few cans of green beans to make a complete meal for your guests in a short amount of time.  You could throw a pre-made lasagna in the oven and throw a salad together.  It doesn't have to be gourmet.

PoutineLover

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Re: Suggestions for avoiding restaurants
« Reply #2 on: December 01, 2017, 12:20:47 PM »
The main purpose of these gatherings is the social aspect, not the food. You don't want to miss out on hanging out with friends, but you don't want to spend so much. I have the same issue, my apartment is small so I can't host too many, and most of my friends don't care about wasting money at restaurants. These tips may not work in every case, but these are some ways I use to minimize this kind of spending. Eating before so you aren't as hungry, then split a cheap appetizer or just get a drink. Getting water instead of something expensive to drink with your meal. Only get a main, not appetizers and dessert and alcohol.  All the extras are what make it expensive. Meeting up for drinks after instead of having the meal together, then only get something cheap and nurse it. Get fast/easy to prepare/already made (still cheaper than a restaurant) stuff at a grocery store and eat at home or do a picnic. Not every month will be busy like that one, so set aside a restaurant/social budget for occasional splurge like this. Maybe not so original, but this saves me money.

Sun Hat

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Re: Suggestions for avoiding restaurants
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2017, 03:48:53 PM »
My ideas aren't particularly unique, but here they are by scenario:
1) A trip to the grocery store for easy to prepare foods to make an apartment picnic (bread, cheese, fruit)
2) Potluck with all of your friends. Granted, you may not be in a position to host a big group now, but maybe another friend has a larger space. An advantage of a potluck is that people can mill around and chat more easily than at a huge restaurant table. The downside is that it can be work to coordinate.
3) No ideas, sorry
4) Designate one or two people to stay home from the day's activity to prepare supper. I'm the extended family's cook, so often I will plan to stay in along with whichever niece or adult wants to catch up. Alternatively, a meal like lox + cream cheese on bagels with crudites takes 5 min to prep (I brought this over to my mom's last winter when my sister and her family were visiting, and it was great for after a busy day).

nereo

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Re: Suggestions for avoiding restaurants
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2017, 03:55:19 PM »
I've found a good default when others suggest going to a restaurant is to simply say:
"Oh we'd love to, but it's not in our budget right now". 
Then offer up an alternative suggestion, like a pot-luck or having them over for dinner.  Sometimes you'll just have to say "ok, catch up with you later then!"

I've found that "going out to a restaurant" is simply the default social engagement for most non-mustachians. 

Johnez

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Re: Suggestions for avoiding restaurants
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2017, 06:15:56 PM »
Got a backyard? How bout getting a barbecue thrown together, pitch in for the meat and everyone bring a side or drinks. Can do this at a park tol. Kids can play, adults hang around putting the tables together. Can go any direction with this really. I really hate restaurants for big family things, seems so weird and the bill just keeps going up. Unlike at a potluck or barbecue where ya either get to eat all you can handle.

Sun Hat

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Re: Suggestions for avoiding restaurants
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2017, 06:24:08 AM »
I second the park idea. We do it often for big family get-togethers. The kids can run amok, and the adults can chill with a potluck picnic.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Suggestions for avoiding restaurants
« Reply #7 on: December 02, 2017, 08:48:13 AM »
I avoid eating out unless it's a social event. That means I don't have a bunch of restaurant costs in my budget before we even start meeting people for dinner. Holidays/special family/friend visits aside I try to limit the eating out to once a week so I contain the damage. At that point I don't worry about it. If I am going to spend some money and hang out with people that are important to me I don't want to be thinking about money the whole time. So I make sure I can afford a meal out and once there I don't think about the cost.

Holidays and special visits are tough. I would definitely steer things towards eating at home as much as I can, but there are occasions where I'll end up eating out several meals in a row. Again once I have done what I can to minimize costs and assuming it's within my budget I stop worrying about it and just enjoy the time with people I care about.

These ^^^ comments come from a perspective of having optimized my spending in most areas, no debt and nearly FIRE levels of investments.

kaypinkHH

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Re: Suggestions for avoiding restaurants
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2017, 08:03:23 AM »
Thanks for all the advice folks! Once we get our own house (and not living with our inlaws) we can't wait to host again. Before we moved we were big on the BBQs and this summer in a particular low spend month we suggested a potluck picnic at a park with friends and it was amazing. Before we moved our social circle had a lot of "starving artists" who were very keen on the idea to save money at restaurants.

Now, we are the "rich toronto folk who moved back out east" and our social group is all working professionals with no kids and apparently unlimited food and drink budgets. This weekend we WENT OUT TWICE AGAIN! Argh!! We may need to get better at saying no to things, or meeting up just after the meal.

Luckily this weekend is a free work xmas party, including drink tickets. We will spend 0 money on "going out".


Note: our savings rate is still really good, our FIRE plan could have us both retired at 35..even with this stupid restaurant spend) we have 0 non-mortgage debt....this is just one of those "low hanging fruits" that bothers me in spending.

jamesbond007

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Re: Suggestions for avoiding restaurants
« Reply #9 on: December 04, 2017, 11:55:44 AM »
I just tell my friends that I am out of restaurant budget for this month and ask if it can wait until next month. If I do have the budget, I tell them that it is out of my budget and offer alternatives or ask for alternatives. My friends don't have any problem with this. If someone has a problem with this and they think badly of me, then I don't need that person in my life. Either way, you win.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Suggestions for avoiding restaurants
« Reply #10 on: December 04, 2017, 12:09:52 PM »
Note: our savings rate is still really good, our FIRE plan could have us both retired at 35..even with this stupid restaurant spend) we have 0 non-mortgage debt....this is just one of those "low hanging fruits" that bothers me in spending.

If you are on track with your FIRE plans and you enjoy hanging out with these people maybe there is nothing to worry about?

kaypinkHH

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Re: Suggestions for avoiding restaurants
« Reply #11 on: December 04, 2017, 12:29:00 PM »
If you are on track with your FIRE plans and you enjoy hanging out with these people maybe there is nothing to worry about?

But. Must. Optimize. Things.

I think I have 2 Categories of restaurant spending- ones I regret, and ones I don't and I want to limit the ones I regret. For example I don't regret dinner with my family last weekend. It made sense, no one had to cook, it was fancy but not too fancy (and it was delicious).

One I do regret was this weekend, we ended up overpriced restaurant with a group of people we didn't know because we were invited by a family member who was in town. We could have easily said no to this, and met up with the family member for a non food thing earlier in the day. I can work on cutting those down.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Suggestions for avoiding restaurants
« Reply #12 on: December 04, 2017, 12:32:10 PM »
We could have easily said no to this, and met up with the family member for a non food thing earlier in the day. I can work on cutting those down.

Makes sense.