JLP’s QotD – How Many Time do You Eat Out Each Month?

June 2, 2006

I was just looking at our bank account for the last month. Our budget is a paltry $150 per month for eating out. In May we spent $344.46! Talk about blowing the budget. My wife and I have been discussing our budget and thinking about increasing this category.

I have a love/hate relationship with eating out. On the one hand I love it for the convenience and the fact that the five of us can talk while someone else fixes our food. We also frequent a little Mexican restaurant that is relatively inexpensive. Then there’s the thoughts that eating out is a complete waste of money. I mean once you have eaten the meal, that money is gone. You can’t get it back.

That said, we will most likely increase our budget for eating out from the current $150 per month to $200 – $250 per month, which sounds like a lot but with a family of 5, eating out isn’t exactly “cheap”. Of course, I could make the meal cheaper if I didn’t order beer. But, you can’t eat Mexican food without Negra Modelo, the BEST beer on the planet!

This leads me to the Question of the Day:

How much do you spend each month on eating out?

12 responses to JLP’s QotD – How Many Time do You Eat Out Each Month?

  1. Our budget is around $250 / mo, but this is irrelevant as we spend between $400-600 on a regular basis. This is also one of the biggest budgeting sources of frustrations for me.

    You can sit down and make a perfectly rational plan based on what you think are your eating habits, but you always blow it anyway. Why even bother…

  2. Wow, $150 for five people is very little. I spend about $200 per months on eating out and it’s only for me (1 person). Maybe even the food in LA cost a lot more.

  3. I have you beat for ‘paltry’ JLP. My wife and I (and our two-year old and 3-week old sons) have a budget of $20 per month for eating out 😉

  4. Our only time for eating out is taking the kids to McDonald’s once per week. Last month we spent $28.12 for the entire month on eating out.

  5. From 1/1-5/31 we spent around $1,820 or $364 per month. This includes all fast food, pizzas brought home (cheaper to drink our own beer!), “free will offerings” at church for Sunday’s donuts, breakfasts out w/mom & sis, and obviously, lunches and dinners out. I also include the kids’ hot lunches/milk fees in this category. Last year our expense was much higher, but we identified this as the worst unfavorable variance in our budget/spending plan and have buckled down. I still hate that it’s over $300, but groceries (and utilities!) would be higher to some extent if we didn’t eat out, so for us, it’s worth it. Plus, I don’t blow money on manicures, pedicures, and all that nonsense, so I feel no guilt when sharing meals with my family of 5. But boy, does it add up! Ah, the beauty of Microsoft Money…

  6. We are a family of five (children are 5,4, and 3)and our budget is $50 a month. What we do to supplement is if we can spend less on groceries that month, we can spend a little more on eating out.

  7. Just checked, last month was $168 (for two of us). $98 of that was lunch at the corporate cafeteria. Guess it’s time to start considering bringing lunch!

  8. I don’t really budget for eating out. But my ATM withdrawals average about $400/month and most of that ends up being spent on eat out or take out food (including while on business travel). If you can avoid the alcohol at restaurants you will save big time. For instance, My wife and I had lunch at the Olive Garden a few days ago. I had soup,salad and breadsticks for about $5.95. My wife wanted a glass of Pinot Grigio, but when she saw the $5.25 price, settled for a soda instead. I read somewhere (this blog?) that restaurant chains don’t put prices on their specialty drink menu because the drinks cost so much and the restuarant doesn’t want you to know the price until the bill comes. I have found that to be true at several places.

  9. Quicken is telling me about $300 a month on average (this includes lunch nearly everyday during the workweek, i.e. few groceries). However, in April I spent about $135. I think I probably forgot to log some stuff, but I was also not dining out for a whole week while I was tending to family in the hospital. If I could stay under $300 a month, that would be great. I’d like to do that and start buying more groceries again too.

  10. I don’t know how you can live your whole life spending $20 a month eating out. I suggest you learn to live a little. Going out is fun for the kids, too, and they’re entitled to a little fun.

  11. I’m not much of a beer drinker anyway, and when dining out – often it is business related with the intent on cultivating more business, so it is a business expense.

    On the other hand, for family outings it is infrequent enough that it doesn’t amount to very much monthly maybe $30 – $50 total. April is a costly month as there are many birthday meals to pay for, but for an average year. We generally always have water, as drinks are way to expensive to justify ordering them.

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