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Old 05-16-2013, 06:58 PM   #41
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Our restaraunts visits have decreased a great deal, and we find we are satisfied sharing a meal, since most places provide more food on an order than one can eat. We were speeding 450 to 650 a month eating out. Haven't worked out what we currently spend, but it's a lot less. Have more time to prepare a meal, and not tired after working all day lol.
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Old 05-16-2013, 07:51 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by earlyguy07 View Post
I frequently order beer out at bars / restaurants. I love beer - and frequently beers I'd like to try are available only on draft and not in bottles/at home.

I try to limit spending on many, many things, but this isn't one of them. I need to enjoy some of my life now and not save everything for an uncertain future.
I understand, EarlyGuy. I will spend $5.50 for a pint of Sam Adams Lager (pretty good from a bottle, but terrific on tap) on tap at a restaurant, or $4.50 for a draft pint of Oatmeal Stout from a local brewpub, once in a while, just to get in some fun while I'm still on the planet.
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Old 05-18-2013, 06:17 AM   #43
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I think more restaurant sales are less about people being less frugal and are more about more people not knowing how to cook.
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Old 05-18-2013, 07:59 AM   #44
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I take my wife out to a nice restaurant at least once a week. Depending on the place, we usually spend $70 to $200. Been doing that since we got married. Outside of the usual living expenses (food, utilities, etc.), we don't really spend much on anything else, so I still consider us to be frugal. We much prefer spending our money on experiences (dining, weekend getaways) than on "stuff".
Exactly the same here. I view eating and drinking well as the foundation of a good life. I would rather delay my exit than give that up now and after retirement.
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:12 AM   #45
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Not necessarily picking on you, IBWino, but I was amused by your comment that you"take your wife out to dinner", a phrase I can't remember the last time I heard. Maybe when DH and I were dating 25 years ago.

He's not offered to "take me out" since, and nothing entertains the waiters in our favorite Mexican place more than his saying in incredibly bad Spanish, some version of "la cuenta por favor, for mi esposa", because I've always got my wallet on me and he doesn't!

But very cute, your description. I'll tel him once he becomes a kept man later this summer that I will take him out for dinner occasionally.
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Old 05-18-2013, 08:41 AM   #46
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I agree with HillCountry. A huge amount of this spend is expensed as business meals. IMO almost all "business meetings" include catered lunch or a lunch out. You can probably eat lunch every day in our office on the company if you know how to work the system.
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Old 05-18-2013, 10:03 AM   #47
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For many people eating out with friends is as much or more a social experience as it is a source of nutrition. Also, it is one splurge that is limited in cost and does not force a commitment to future expenditures (such as buying a expensive sports car or a vacation home).
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Old 05-18-2013, 12:05 PM   #48
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Now if you'll excuse me, I'm on my way to McDonald's.
I was pleased with the nutrition web app on Dairy Queen...I'm doing very low carb, and it allows you to uncheck standard ingredients and recalculate the nutrition facts!

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For many people eating out with friends is as much or more a social experience as it is a source of nutrition. Also, it is one splurge that is limited in cost and does not force a commitment to future expenditures (such as buying a expensive sports car or a vacation home).
+1
I almost want to start put dining out into the entertainment category since most often, we meet our buddies for meals out.
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Old 05-18-2013, 01:01 PM   #49
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When we travel in the US we often split an entrée. We find that the portions are too large and are not particularly healthy. We are not certain why the portions are so large. We don't want to take a doggy bag when we are travelling. What we notice in our rent travels that many restaurants are running specials to get people thru the door. We tend to avoid the chains and go with local, family run, single location eateries that are often not on the main drag.

And what's with all those fries that they want to load the plates up with or those sandwiches made from fried chicken, etc?? Yuk!
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Old 05-18-2013, 03:48 PM   #50
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Our restaurants have had fairly full parking lots, even when the economy was bad, during the last few years. I am speaking of chain restaurants, but have no idea of how the nice restaurants are doing.

We do not go out to eat that often, unless we are traveling, or meeting friends for lunch. We do not share meals, even though the sizes are so big, because we do not enjoy the same type of food. DH commented that his friend and him had eaten a couple of times at this restaurant and that it had great food. He received a gift certificate to it and we ordered food to go the other night. I did not think that the food was good. He likes it. Different strokes.
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Old 05-18-2013, 04:22 PM   #51
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We usually go out once or twice a week . We usually have appetizers or split a meal.The portions are just too large . Since we retired we have gotten much more adventuresome in our cooking so our at home meals are usually better and healthier than most restaurant meals .
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Old 05-18-2013, 05:02 PM   #52
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We are going out tonight to an old school Italian restaurant, first nice dinner out in a few months. Freshly made linguini in white clam sauce, get ready!

Even though the portions are usually big, the leftovers always make a couple of meals at home.
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Old 05-18-2013, 06:35 PM   #53
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We go out to dinner maybe once or twice a month. Thankfully I am a reasonably good cook and we don't have to stray too far from home to enjoy a good meal.

For us eating out is a treat, something special to which we look forward. So we splurge a little when we go out - appetizers, wine, dessert, whatever we want. The restaurants here are often packed (a reservation is advisable for most places). And people do spend a lot of money in restaurants. Last time we went out, the people at the table next to us ordered wagyu beef at $100/oz and washed it down with some pretty expensive wine.
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Old 05-19-2013, 05:14 AM   #54
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You are lucky to have the time to cook, FIREd. I don't cook at all.

To answer the OP's post, it is interesting that Americans are no longer frugal when it comes to eating habits. Mine have not changed since the Recession started in 2008, except the beer / wine / margarita intake .
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We go out to dinner maybe once or twice a month. Thankfully I am a reasonably good cook and we don't have to stray too far from home to enjoy a good meal.
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:09 AM   #55
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Returning to Mexico, one of our meals was:
Awesome burrito - 64 pesos (we split)
Margarita - 50 pesos
Negra Modello - 24 pesos
$12 w/tip

Prices here are tax inclusive and tips are 10% per local standard for those living here. This is one of the best local dives here.

Beef tenderloin is $10/lb and veggies are El cheapo, so we do more grillin than most.
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Old 05-19-2013, 08:46 AM   #56
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I'm glad people are out there stimulating the economy. Gives my portfolio a boost. I'll stay frugal. To me, it's a lifestyle, not a temporary adjustment.
I agree 100% - it's a "lifestyle" - living below your means - and it's really how we've lived for the past 15 years so we could retire early (48 & 58). It's hard to change, and I continually look for ways to cut wasteful spending - even though we are to the point where we don't have to. Kind of ingrained in my brain!

And we are hoping we are good examples to the young people in our family with living below our means and saving. I just don't think you can start teaching young kids too early about money and saving and compound interest and all that great stuff! Because TIME is on their side if they start saving and LBYM now.
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Old 05-19-2013, 02:43 PM   #57
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Cool! You have me beat. Is the $5 gross for two or one, and what kinds of places do you eat?

We go out for food like Mexican or Chinese, say $9 a meal with one for free. With tax and tip (on the full amount) that is $13 less the cost of what we would spend on groceries anyway, as the restaurant portions are often enough for 2 meals.
These kind of prices are location dependent. I don't ordinarily consider eating out for hunger, I am always close to my home and I don't get ravenously hungry, so if I eat out I want to enjoy it.

There is nowhere close to where I live that 2 people can eat lunch for less than $40 or so, and that includes barely enough food for an active person not to run home and eat again. Absent pizza, which I love but can no longer eat, it can't be done. I also don't eat high carb meals like typical Mexican-American restaurant fare, though I agree it is tasty.

This week I ate downtown in a pleasant place, one salad one piece of liver paté, one glass on wine, and it cost me $26 with tip. If I take GF out for dinner, I am looking at ~ $150. Of course, I don't go out for sheer sustenance, but to enjoy the woman, to enjoy a relaxing glass of wine, and to enjoy a leisurely meal with pleasant service and ambiance.

Plenty of reasonably cheap food trucks downtown, but two people would be pressed to get sandwiches, pay our 10% sales tax, and stand in the rain gobbling them down for $13. Also, I doubt it is much fun for the eaters to have a constant stream of pedestrians hurtling though their ranks. I know it isn't much fun for the pedestrian trying to avoid being smeared by mustard as he goes by.

Ha
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Old 05-19-2013, 06:25 PM   #58
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True. I've heard Clark Howard refer to appetizers, alcohol and desserts as the "Bermuda Triangle" of dining out in terms of being where many restaurants have the highest profit margins and make most of their money.
We eat out regularly, but don't do appetizers or dessert. Why bother when the meal itself is HUGE? I also object to paying three bucks for a diet coke. So I get water 75% of the time.

When we ask for water and then skip directly to ordering entrees I can almost feel the waitstaff judging us as they walk away...

"Cheap B*st%#ds...."
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Old 05-23-2013, 09:07 PM   #59
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I need to cut back. Spending way too much on gas, restaurants, and daily coffee again.

I did reach a milestone this past week. So, I'm proud of that. Still have 20-25 years of work to go.
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