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Eating out way of life

February 2nd, 2016 at 04:46 pm

My bad habit is easily going out to eat. It's a vice I'm sure I share with many others around the world. Something I enjoy and find convenient. But is it a way of life even for people in debt? Is it something that people just do even if they can't afford?

Next week my DH starts his program and we were joking today about lunches, dinners, and eating out. Since we've meet he's pretty much always brown bagged it. I can honestly say probably 95% of the time both of us have always packed a lunch. When we've gone out to eat for lunch it's usually a planned meal with friends or some weird like a smashed glass container in lunch bag or accidental forgotten lunch bag (both things happened to my DH). So I can honestly say for 15 years and as he's made more money he hasn't changed his spending habits. What was necessity at 23 at 35 wasn't at all required.

Also for the most part until we had kids we enjoyed cooking dinner together at night and would turn on the TV and cook leisurely. We sometimes would sit in front of the tv and prep meals and just enjoy wine or beer. It was very pleasurable to eat out at hole in the wall places or nicer restaurants. But then we had kids and our meals became less cool (fancy meals from cookbooks) and more boring and standard and efficient.

So I ask if he's planning on packing a lunch and if so what. He said absolutely he's planning on brown bagging it, but he mentioned that on the group board for the program everyone discussing their favorite delivery programs and restaurants they want to order from. I suggest perhaps he may have to eat out to network dinners or lunches. He said he'll see.

But both of us are curious about the dynamics next week. This is a 13 week intensive program you can't hold down a job and do. Either the other 19 people are on sabbatical from work or not working. It's like that most have partners that are working and supporting them, but I imagine going down to one income and spending $16k on a course, then suddenly eating out lunch and dinner every day would still strain most budgets. Or maybe it was just a way of life.

I can easily imagine it costing us $35/week for lunches and $60/week for lunches. In 13 weeks that will cost us around $1300 which in the grand scheme of no income and $16k tuition a drop in the bucket. But as we are living off savings and it's half a month's rent. I wonder though will most be frugal and try to pack a lunch?

My DH said so I'm assuming $7/lunch how much is it for him to bring a lunch? I said $1 maybe. Am I wrong to throw together a sandwich? Or leftovers?

Have you calculated what lunches or packed dinners cost? I know if we spend say $800/month for groceries and my kids milk cost me $80/month at $175/week for groceries. A meal assuming 21 meals for 3 people (2 adults and 2 kids = 1 adult) = $2.77 a meal not discounting snacks or fruits. So by brown bagging it my DH is saving at least $5/meal if not more.

Do you think people who eating out every meal is a way of live have ever calculated it? Is it worth it?

3 Responses to “Eating out way of life”

  1. FrugalTexan75 Says:

    I think for some people it is a way of life and that they don't really consider how much it is costing them financially or health wise. To me it's so much simpler to brown bag my lunch everyday than have to spend half my lunch getting to a place to eat, being in line, and then scramble to eat.

  2. creditcardfree Says:

    There are so many people that don't even consider that they could bring their own lunch or how much it might save. It's that they like the food, they need a break from the office or their coworkers, or they like the social aspects.

    It was always too stressful to leave when I was working. And I had an hour lunch. I would do it occasionally, maybe once a month. Pick something up while running another errand or eat on the go with what I brought.

  3. MonkeyMama Says:

    I personally never calculated it. It's either been a *shrug* financially to eat out all the time. Or we can't afford it. It's always been kind of obvious like that. I mean, before we kids we always ate out. But that went with our lifestyle and we were saving 50%+ of our income. Employers did cover a lot of our meals. When we cut our income in half, doubled the mouths to feed, and lost employer subsidized meals, it seemed obvious we could only afford to eat in. But we also freed up a lot of time for that. I suppose I have not experienced much middle ground on this topic. But I feel like if I were single there would be more of a social aspect to it, less economy of scale just cooking for one, and I could probably save the bulk of my income if I ate out every meal, so I don't see being much of a brown bagger or home cook in that circumstance.

    That said, after eating in 13 years due to our financial priorities, I do recognize the health benefits of eating in. After the first 10 years or so I'd say we have come to prefer our home cooking most of the time. I think we've crested the hill into some serious food snobbery, more recently. It's hard to do better than home cooked. I remember friends (peers) being in awe at our most basic cooking skills a decade ago. You can imagine the feedback we get these days. If most of our peers never cook, then in comparison we are like gourmet chefs. It's relative.

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