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eating out is expensive

April 6th, 2023 at 05:27 am

Eating out is getting really, really expensive.  Before COVID I know we ate out a lot.  Probably mostly takeout and fast food being busy.  But I can say with a certainty we were eating out 6-7 times a week.  We typically ate out Friday nights, Saturday/Sunday Lunches, and then maybe Saturday dinner, then 1-2 dinner during the week.  This was not occassionally but with regularity.

Then Covid hit and we like everyone else went to zero/cold turkey.  It was like a special diet.  Not only did I not get to eat out but I also had to cook.   Of course I found my groove again and began cooking from scratch.  During the time pre-covid I pseudo cooked. I heated pre-made costo or trader joe's meals.  Something easy and fast and cheaper than takeout.  But definitely not from scratch.

But with covid, being home, going nowhere?  Cooking from scratch became more of a hobby.  Something to do out when I had so much time.  It also made eating at home more fun.  We were going months without eating out.  Definitely not eating in restaurants, maybe occasional pizza.  Then Covid began easing and we've been getting busier.  I'd say we definitely were going to start eating out more last year but then I noticed probably middle of last year that food prices were getting really expensive.  Some food places raised prices faster than others.

But really I would say in the last 6 months it's really hit home. I don't know why but I guess since school started I consciously have not eaten out.  We aren't afraid of covid, and our income hasn't changed but our perspective has.  Now I see my $100 eating out bill and think "geez i can do better."   And sometimes I can.  

Eating out is definitely a treat and something we savor more.  As a family we savor it and really think about what we want and what is a bit harder for me to make.  Covid brought back my cooking and DH's cooking skills.  Unfortunately i'm in a rut again making the same things over and over.  But the number of recipes has broaden.  My kids would agree.  

DH and I when we met agreed we should cook.  So he came up with this idea of 10 easy meals that we would learn to do fast and leave always on tap.  We did that, mastered it, and always cooked.  We brown bagged our lunches easily over 15 years together even with kids.  We always made a concerted effort to make lunches during the week.  But before covid we were "boring".  We ate a lot of the same meals over and over.

But now with food prices rising, I noticed I also cook a lot of the same things because I am shopping what's on sale and that sort of drives the menu.  Ground beef on sale?  Burgers, shepards pie, meatloaf, salisbury steak, indian curry, loco moco, bolognese.    Chicken is curries, fried, breaded, baked.  So it really depends on what is on.

But eating out?  Well we ate out tonight and it was okay.  Convienent and super close to home.  But maybe a 7 out of 10.  We went out to eat on Saturday since we went to see a movie, quick burgers by the theater.  That was better than tonight.  This weekend?  Right now no plans since we ate out this week and were invited over for Easter brunch to someone's house. Let's see if we can make it through the weekend.

I will admit I do buy still some costco instant fast meals like ravioli.  It really has been saving me recently with not cooking and being extra busy.  I bought costco lasagna and might make that this weekend.  

Have you cut back on eating out?  Prices?  Habit?  Not enjoying it?  What changed?  For us it really is noticing the prices.

6 Responses to “eating out is expensive”

  1. Turtle Lover Says:

    I met my now husband almost 5 years ago ... we are married almost 3 years... before he met me he lived (temporarilly) in a place with no real kitchen so he ate fast food on the go ... when we got together he went back to the joy of cooking and I got really spoiled! We are also very busy and on the go a LOT so we often eat out at nicer hamburger places and also sit-down places ... I'm often disappointed in the meals you pay so much money for as I often think that the husband can make it better at home. With food prices being so expensive and husband likes to shop the food that he wants and not what's on sale ... so I've mostly learned to live with it - we do food shopping together and always make a game out of "what's the most expensive item thats not meat" and he has to guess ... and we discuss how the prices of his favorite breakfast (egg & bacon bagel sandwhich) items are having a price increase .... eggs for example ... just crazy. LOL So if I have to spend a LOT of money I would rather eat at home.... it's healthier and I like it better. Doesn't mean that I like the spending of it though LOL

  2. Lots of ideas Says:

    It’s interesting that you said you cook the same foods at home over and over,
    I feel like I order the same foods at restaurants when I go out, which is rare these days,
    I went to dinner with my brother last night - I checked the menus of convenient places and they were essentially the same everywhere - burgers, pizza, wings.

    I ordered a BLT and when it came I remembered that I had stopped for lunch Monday at a coffee shop and ordered a BLT.
    With tip, dinner and one drink each for two people was $70. I get two-three weeks worth of groceries (for one person) delivered for $100. I do fill in and also bulk order some non perishables online but always look for good prices,

    I buy meat on sale and freeze it, and every meal I cook I eat two or three nights in a row, which is fine with me.
    Sometimes I think ‘you can door dash from anywhere you want’ but when I choose and look at the price, I decide frozen pizza or quick pasta will make me just as happy.

    I think food is just not as good as it used to be.
    Maybe I am cranky in my old age.

  3. Carol B. Says:

    Yes, grocery food has gotten expensive and the better burger places are boring. What if you took the money from a hohum restaurant meal and added it to your grocery budget and bought some more expensive foods. I do plenty of burger meals, ( and chicken and turkey) but I will also buy a steak, or good fish or lamb.
    I also enjoy trying new recipes, usually ethnic, and foods from my childhood. More variety might be fun for you.

  4. livingalmostlarge Says:

    I forgot to mention I cook a lot of non-ethnic. different curries, the other week we had leg of lamb curry, lamb kabobs, etc. I also made mochi chicken, pork tonkatsu, fish broiled.

    burgers just happened to be what we ate on Saturday. Typically it's ethnic i Can't cook, so it's not usually somewhere chain. Usually it's smaller places. I also typically like indian, thai, or chinese or southeast asian where it's a pain to cook and get the spices.

    I haven't made beef rendang or ginger chicken in awhile. ground beef korma I also make and homemade naan or roti.

    We do make burgers but I find that's one of the easier fast foods to eat. I will admit to loving chick fil a. I can't seem to get it right.

  5. Carol B Says:

    Well, those all sound delicious! And varied!

  6. rob62521 Says:

    We used to eat out a lot more when we both worked as well as depending on stuff that was sort of ready made. But my health declined and I started cooking more from scratch and noticed I felt better, not to mention saving money. We still eat out on occasion, and it is like you said, it has become more special since we don't do it often. But if the meal isn't spectacular, it's like we feel we wasted an experience.

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