Can you still afford to eat out regularly?
On average, Canadian households visit a restaurant for a meal or snack 520 times a year, according to the most recent StatsCan data. And that number is expected to grow.
Even though their parents steered clear of eating out, many boomers have raised their kids to think that eating out in restaurants or from the take out window as Swiss Chalet is no big deal … something you do, well, when you're hungry.
But can you really afford it, asks MELISSAB, who blogs at Beating Broke. She doesn’t think so, particularly when you consider all the costs.
Instead of blindly going out to eat or grabbing take out, really try to evaluate the cost of your restaurant purchase, she urges.
Her blanket warning seems a bit extreme to me but I will agree that if I'm going to be served food by someone else, I want to be an experience I'll savour, not simply fuel.
To compromise, I often drop in at a local restaurant run by culinary students at Algonquin College. The food is good, the price is reasonable and the earnest servers are nervously friendly.
Is eating out an established habit at your house? Have you explored alternatives like culinary schools? Or have you simply been cutting back recently?
By Gordon Powers, MSN Money
Posted by: Don | Sep 7, 2021 9:18:24 PM
520 times a year! Wow! For us twice a month (payday treat) and special occasions.
Posted by: Dr. Lindon | Sep 8, 2021 7:48:41 PM
Except for business, my family does go out occasionally. We can afford to eat out every day, but my health (and my family's) would suffer. When I travel on business, I am away for weeks at a time, and I can see the effect of eating in restaurants has on me. When I do it for personal reasons, it is only about once every 4 months or longer.
Posted by: Kent Cherevaty | Sep 11, 2021 7:53:11 PM
Too bad for the culinary students that you won't be dining at their restaurants.
Posted by: korie | Sep 11, 2021 10:01:26 PM
when we eat out (days i abhor) a family of 3 has breakfast/brunch at our local abc restaurant and that is a solid $35 plus tip, dinner at a local owned place can run $45-65 for a family of 3. even a take out chinese dinner that can make 2 separate meals costs about $70. either way, it costs about $100 a day to eat out, decent meals and no fast food, heck, an xtra large and 2 fruit and yogurt smoothies costs over $10 at timmy's!
also, eating out tastes bland or certain items are not cooked to your liking. worst experience is getting a spinach & strawberry salad to take a first bite of rotted greens! eww i find that when we eat out we all feel bloated and gross afterwards and you can never get the amount of fresh veggies that you really want to have unless you go for a salad with meat!?!
food, actual home cooked meals (and cookies, no store bought cookie for the past 5 years) at home tastes better, it's made with love!
Posted by: SavingMentor | Sep 13, 2021 3:16:59 PM
I think eating out is great, but it definitely is expensive. It also can be incredibly unhealthy as other have mentioned.
The best approach is to try to avoid it at least a little bit and then use cost saving measures to make it more affordable. The strategy I often use is to avoid ordering drinks, appetizers, and desserts as much as possible unless we are really in the mood for a treat. Then use a buy one get one free coupon for the entree to cut the price of the meal in half. Daily deal sites and watching your local flyers are other great way to save money on eating out
If you are careful to do this, then you still get 90% of the enjoyment of eating out - no cooking, no dishes, uninterrupted time with family and friends, good food, and a full stomach. With a B1G1 free coupon, you can eat supper at a reasonably fancy restaurant for $20 or less before taxes and tip.
Just be sure to tip on the entire amount of the meal before the coupon discount or you might get some lousy service. They may frown on you a bit anyway for skimping on appetizers, dessert, and drinks too - but hey it's your decision what you order, not theirs!