Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Eating out

In this time of economic crisis in our country I am sure we are all doing things to cut down on the cost of living. In the midst of our own family transition, we have really cut out extra spending. Everything from not driving unless it is necessary, to not buying anything extra.

One of the first things that we cut out to save money was not eating out. We were never a family that ate out all that often. Though there were times that we would be out running errands and pick up some "fast food". Or we might eat out as a family once on the weekends as a treat. Even if we were careful and didn't order drinks or ate off the dollar menu, it still added up. And to think...we are a small family and my kids aren't big eaters.

Now, we can easily go for weeks between eating out at a restaurant. We did dine out for Chuck's birthday last month and it was great. But if I plan ahead, I can pack our food for the car if we are out on the town. And it takes just as long to make lunch after church as it does to wait for a table at a restaurant.

So, I am curious...how often do you eat out? I am especially curious of those larger families. I am sure it is very pricey to eat out. If I had to guess, before we cut back on this part of our budget, we were eating out about 1-2 times a week. Now it is more like once a month. I have been saving my tutoring money to treat the family every once in awhile.

So, how often do you eat out? And what does it tend to cost?

18 comments:

Shane, Greta, Seth and Gage Owens said...

UGH! This is my weakness!!! And I feel so convicted by it too. I am a sucker for convenience! However, when we do go out to eat I only order water and we do split a meal, so we keep our costs (and our waists) down with that.
I will go ahead and admit it...we dine out around 2 times a week, sometimes 3. yikes! But, some of those are lunch and dinner, not all are dinner.

Lee and Bev said...

We went out last Sunday evening. We were looking for good soup. We ended up at Denneys. Lee ordered the senior meat loaf and I ate a bowl of vegetable beef soup. With tip it still cost $14 - which isn't much to many people, but enough for us. We took our grandsons to MacDonalds for dinner recently. We all drank water and they ordered off the $ menu and it still cost $22. A small can of ham and a bag of split peas makes two crock pots of a wonderful soup for about $3-$4. The bowl of soup at Denneys was $3.75.
Lord, give us discipline to think and plan ahead and be careful with what you have entrusted to us. We are but guardians of what comes from and really belongs to you.

Christine said...

We eat out probably twice a month on average-- not counting holidays and birthdays. It is so expensive.

Annie said...

When my older children were young we ate out a LOT. Between homeschooling them, and working full time cooking was not on the schedule...and, frankly - I LOVE eating out. I realize now that it isn't so much the food, it is the leisure to really enjoy my family at dinner. And, of course, sitting in a restaurant allows a more relaxed conversation than we have at home, when between cooking, serving everyone and cleaning up, I often don't even sit down for more than a moment.

In fact [stupid confession] I often don't eat quite what they eat because I hate waste so don't want to prepare too much. That means that I run close to the edge, so I don't serve myself until everyone else has had enough. The other night I made hamburgers, and they looked SO good. But, by the time everyone else had had their fill, there were no more buns!

I REALLY need to manage better and pray the prayer your parents offered. Planning ahead is SUCH a weak spot for me.

mommy g said...

Well, we USED TO eat out a lot...maybe 3-4 times a week. We would eat out for the convenience, the fun, the adventure, the family event. But no more, sister! We eat out maybe once a week, if that. We always have to buy Amy dinner before her college class on Mondays because we are in town for the whole day before we take her, but we usually pick up a Subway ($5.00 footlong) or McDonalds. I miss eating out, but I find that I am becoming more creative with my meals to compensate. For example, I just learned how to make a couple of Indian dishes since we were hungry for Indian food and going out was too expensive....

Stacia said...

Our "goal" and our "budgeted amount" for eating out is 3 times per week: one cheap lunch (well, it used to be cheap, but even lunch times four is a lot), one cheaper dinner (pizza or subs), and one regular dinner on the weekends (of course w/ the kids, that ends up being Perkins (nice and cheap) or Applebees/Chilis type places. Some weeks we go over and some we go under... kinda like your mom said- when I am organized and plan ahead, then we eat at home more. When I am distracted or lazy or not feeling well, then we go out more.

I made red beans and rice tonight: an entire crock pot full. Beans $.99, 4 cups rice: $1.00 (if that), turkey sausage $5.00. It fed all four of us plenty and there are enough leftovers to feed us all again. 2 meals for 4 people... less than
$ 7.00... can't beat that! And they were SO yummy and reminded me of home.

DebiH. said...

We eat out more than most families because of the traveling we do but not as much as we have in the past. Having the RV makes it possible for us to eat in while on the road. While at home we usually eat out after church ( we attend church 30 minutes away from home and it always seems easier to pick up something closer to church). During the week the kids and I usually have a fast food meal out (especially weeks that hubby is away). Even when we are out as a family, we have switched from nicer sit and order a meal places to choices that are less expensive and faster. We do have an infant and a toddler right now so the "experience" of eating out isn't as fun for us :) ...2 high chairs...yikes! We'll be saving the nicer "experiences" for dates! While on the road we do go to Cracker Barrel a lot and have some other favorites that we look forward to. With 4 kids it certainly is a budget consideration. "Kids' meals" are pricey and nutritionally poor. I like to order for them from the regular menu and have them share. We also eat a larger meal at lunch when we are traveling because lunch menus are more economical than the same meal on the dinner menu. I could post forever on the subject because for years we ate out EVERY meal while on the road...no choice when you are in a hotel. I do not miss that at all.

Rachel said...

It is soooo expensive!!! We try to limit but our most recent example...

We went to a loved Mexican resturant Sunday after church and with tip the total was $66.

After leaving I ran to the grocery really quick to pick up food for this week. I got milk, bread, Mt Dew ($$$) for John and the kids picked three meals for this week (we are eating out one night and with my parents the other) so I had to buy the ingredients for those meals...
1. Pinto Beans, Potatoes & Onions, Cornbread
2. Baked Potato Soup
3. Veggie Beef Stoup
Add in the three pumpkins and the total was...drum roll...$75.

So for what we paid for one after church meal I got staples and 3 dinners. If I hadn't bought the pumpkins the total would have been $64.

Randi Sue said...

We do not eat out on a regular basis. We used to eat out 1 or 2 times a week, but realized that we were spending way too much money. Now we only eat out when we are with a group that is eating out or we can not bring our own food or special occasions. It ends up being about once a month, maybe 2. It usually costs at least $25 for all 6 of us to eat.

Sometimes I don't order a meal because I know my kids won't eat all their food. And we sometimes make the kids share meals.

~S~~~~~ said...

i eat out all the time... however, even though there is just one of me, it can add up.. there are times (recently) when i would eat out 10x a week.. lunch and dinner, everyday!!! i'm learning how to balance my food budget between groceries and eating out too.. my friends and i usually eat out when we are hanging out, but occasionally i have my girlfriend kaycee over and we cook. i run into the problem of "i have food in my pantry/fridge, but i have nothing to eat!!!" and then when i don't eat out, or cook anything, i do one of two things.. .not eat anything (which has happened a lot) or i go over to a families house and eat with them...

Sherry said...

I have been struggling with this issue...it is VERY expensive for our entire family of eight to eat out...but often because I am tired or unprepared...we eat out. But, my husband is blessed (because of the budget)when I am prepared and we can eat at home. So...I keep on working on this area. We are trying to keep it to just our "dates"...once a month or so. It usually is around $30-40 when just the two of us go out!

Christy said...

I, too, have fallen to the prey of the fastfood quick stop. With three big boys, it can add up quick. Usually if we do eat out, it's a slice of pizza at Sam's or something from the dollar menu. My favorite thing is to see how cheap we can eat. The other night I fed the boys and I for $12 at McD's. Pretty good, but we beat that last week at Sam's- all five of us for $14.

Susan said...

It is SO interesting reading everyones comments. We aren't used to going out to eat, since in Japan there aren't too many places we can go, get full and aford it...so it IS a real treat, and tempting, to be around semi-afordable fast food places that we like.
We are trying to be careful with our money though, so we aren't eating out much at all. We do 2 pizzas from Little Ceasars for $12 and we slick those up and that is a real treat. Every once in awhile we do Taco Bell, but even the $1 menu adds up to about $15 (no drinks EVER- only water). Even at Costco yesterday the kids weren't full from their 1 hotdog each..so I ended up putting out snacks when we got home to fill them up before bed.
We went out to AppleBees with Tim's family (4 adults and 3 kids) and dropped over $100...WOW!
I try to be good to have several planned meals ready to make an home, even frozen pizza and canned soup for a fast-cheap meal. If it is late and I am tired with nothing planned at home then we are move tempted to go out....but if I can start a meal early in the day then it is so much less stressful by 5pm when we are hungry and tired. We do sandwhiches for a quick meal often. Speaking of food...I need to go grocery shopping...

Ginny said...

We almost never eat out. If we do we go to Chipotle where it costs about 20 dollars to feed our family of 5.
Now on a special occasion-we always go for Indian food and that will run over thirty dollars for just Jonny and I-but this is a rare treat.

Wife to the Rockstar said...

As an enire family, we eat out probably once every 3-4 months. It usually is when some place has a kids eat free night or this pizza buffet where the kids eat for 99 cents.

As a couple, we get dates nights once a month. Even then we eat only appetizers and share.

Rachael said...

We rarely eat out, maybe once a month. Mostly though, just because it's not really that relaxing to eat out with four kids! (Although it is getting more so, now that we don't really have a toddler anymore, and everyone behaves.)

I am very guilty of take-out though. We usually have it about twice a week, sometimes more. Cost aside, I've been trying to cook more healthy though, so it's getting less frequent. Ideally, we would eat out or get take-out no more than once a week.

pearly1979 said...

We used to eat out a lot. As our family has grown we have cut back considerably. We have cut back in part because of the cost, but also because it's not quite as enjoyable as it used to be. Don't get me wrong, our kids behave and they do well, but it's still a chore to make get all the orders right, make sure everyone has what they needs, monitor the soda intake, keep the 3 year old some what in check, the baby content. I some times leave a restaurant feeling beat after making sure it all went well.

We go out to a restaurant for every one's birthday, so that is 7 times a year. We also go on a whim every once in a while but probably not more than once a month. We get fast food more often than we should and get pizza about once a week.

Tiffany said...

Ollie actually doesn't like to eat out and I do so he "lets" me go out with friends here and there and it's way less expensive to buy a meal for one and we're both happy. Every couple of weeks the kids and I will get fast food for lunch. It's always a treat to not have to think about lunch or even afternoon snacks because they are really full.