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September 07, 2021

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.

Dinner 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. 

When you’re younger, you meet friends at a restaurant for a night out and to chat. As you get older and have a family, you may go out to eat because time is short between working, raising a family, helping with homework and doing housework, she notes. But at what cost?

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



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...