Eating out is a favorite activity for many people. It is a social activity, as well as being a break from cooking and doing the dishes at home. Many people also consider it as a way to reward themselves for a hard week at work, or even at home. Unfortunately, eating out can also wreak havoc on your financial well-being.
If you want to understand how much eating out can keep you from your savings goals, you have to first understand exactly how much you are really spending. Often, when you are looking at the cost of a meal, you only look at the parts of that cost, rather than the cost as a whole. For example, you may look at one of the many 2 for $20 deals that are available at many restaurants right now, and think that it’s not very much for a nice meal. The problem is that while the main part of your meal may not cost very much, you also have to consider drinks, tip and although these meals usually include an appetizer, the dessert menu can also be very tempting. By the time you leave the restaurant, that 2 for $20 meal may often cost you closer to $50. If you do this every week, that’s $200 that you’re losing in savings per month. Suddenly, that deal doesn’t look so good.
Of course, there are some people who do not eat out at those types of restaurants, but tend more toward the drive through windows instead. They think that this little bit of convenience is worth a little bit of extra money. Once again, however, the costs tend to add up. Even at the average fast food place, the cost of a single meal is about $6 and up. For two people, the bill often winds up somewhere between $15 and $20. Because fast food is less expensive and more convenient than going to a sit down restaurant, even people who “don’t go out to eat” may find themselves stopping to pick something up two times or more per week. This causes the costs of fast food meals to add up as fast if not faster than those of traditional restaurants.
It is far more cost effective to plan ahead and have your meals at home. There are many meals that you can either put in the slow cooker while you are away at work, or cook in 30 minutes or less upon your arrival at home after work. By finding the recipes that take less time, you will be able to have the convenience of a quick meal, which is important after a long day at work, and the comfort of a home-cooked meal. In the long run, going out to eat only costs more money and you don’t really get to enjoy more than a couple hours with it. Staying in to eat saves you money, and you get to enjoy your meal in the comfort of your own home.