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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 11:29 AM   #21
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Re: Dining Out

It is a convenience factor for us. Neither one of us likes to cook a lot (the dishes resulting from cooking/dining at home are scary). Many times it is our little escape too - drop the kids off at Grandma's house, and go out for a quiet lunch somewhere.

Many of the places I go I am able to get a great meal for $5-7 tax and tip included. It is hard for me to replicate that on a small scale at home due to costs involved with purchasing the raw materials and the time involved in food acquisition, food preparation and cleanup. There is a big social factor to "going out to eat" for us too. I can meet DW for lunch during the workday and spend 1-1.5 hours relaxing over a nice (cheap) meal (instead of spending it surfing here in my cube). When I bag my lunch from home, it usually costs at least $3 anyway, so it isn't like I'm spending a lot more to go out and eat.

We end up spending ~$150 a month dining out, but it is worth every penny and then some in terms of convenience, good times and good food. If we ate the same food at home, it would probably cost us at least $75-$100 to replicate the food we eat at restaurants. And we frequently get the leftovers "to go" for one or more meals later!

Guess that $150 a month might postpone FIRE by a few months.
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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 11:31 AM   #22
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Re: Dining Out

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Man, if you guys are typical of ER folks, as I suppose you are, DW and I are way behind the power curve when it comes to dining out activity.

If we dine out once a month, that would be a lot. Many times, this includes grazing at the local all-you-can-eat salad bar.
We're not far behind you. I'm overseas about 1/3 of the time where I eat out 100% of the time. So when I'm home I'm happy to cook and stay at home. We probably eat out at a sit-down restaurant 2x a month for $70-80 (family of 5 in the summer and 4 when school is in session) and bring home burritos or chinese another couple of times for $20-25. Our typical home dinner costs about $10-15, so eating out once costs us about the same as eating in for almost a week! For me, not having to clean up after dinner is the part of eating out that I appreciate the most.
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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 11:34 AM   #23
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Re: Dining Out

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Do most of the restairants you have tried accommodate this well? *Do they actually split it onto two plates, bring a separate plate, require you to share a plate?
Yes, they always accommodate us 100%. I've almost always expected a split charge, but that's rare. *They always give us a separate plate.

Might be different in urban areas.

Calories and money-wise it's a win-win.
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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 11:40 AM   #24
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Re: Dining Out

Wow - I guess I'm in a different league of what constitutes eating out "a lot".

When we're traveling (which we often are) and exploring a new area that has good restaurants, or returning to an old area where we have several favorites, we can easily eat out 7 to 12 times a week!

This makes up for those times that we are stuck somewhere out in the boonies with no decent restaurants around and we have to cook our own meals instead of tolerating the local greasy (usually real greasy) spoon. *

So I guess it probably averages out to more like 3 to 6 times a week for us.

Being able to eat out as often as we care to is important to us, and our budget accommodates it. *We also will spend $$ on top quality groceries. *If we're going to cook at home we want quality ingredients. *That's always been a priority.

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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 11:46 AM   #25
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Re: Dining Out

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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Yes, they always accommodate us 100%. I've almost always expected a split charge, but that's rare. *They always give us a separate plate.

Might be different in urban areas.

Calories and money-wise it's a win-win.
We have eaten at restaurants that had a split charge but it's usually been well worth it.* It's usually a nominal fee ($2.50 or less), and for that they usually add more to the second plate - like giving each of us full servings of the sides and just splitting the meat.

We've eaten many times where we shared an appetizer and then split the entree.* I concur - calorie wise and money-wise it's a win-win.

We're also very good at taking and reusing leftovers from eating out. I NEVER finish an entree by myself - they're always way too big.

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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 11:49 AM   #26
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Re: Dining Out

One of our weekly splurge meals in Italy was lunch at an expenisve seafood restaurant in Venice. We ordered seafood risotto for 2 at a price of 27 euros, and split a single-serving tomato salad and a bottle of wine. they nicely poured our shared wine into two glasses :, divided our salad onto two plates (generous servings)--and charged us 27 euros for EACH serving of risotto--apparently that was the per-serving price. It was delicious and unique, and one of the few meals from the trip that lingers in detail in the memory, but...an expensive lesson!
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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 11:54 AM   #27
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Re: Dining Out

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Originally Posted by justin
Guess that $150 a month might postpone FIRE by a few months.*
Hey, no one's advocating deprivation... only expressing preferences.

I'd be happy if someone shopped for our groceries and cooked the meals, but I'd be even happier if they cleaned up the kitchen!
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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 11:59 AM   #28
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Re: Dining Out

I'm lucky because we use the "I cook you clean" system (or v.v.). That works out great, because I much prefer cooking.

In more detail: The person who cooks puts the dishes in the dishwasher, and puts away the leftovers, and the other person does the rest.
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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 12:07 PM   #29
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Re: Dining Out

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Originally Posted by Nords
I'd be happy if someone shopped for our groceries and cooked the meals, but I'd be even happier if they cleaned up the kitchen!
I view dining out as just another form of "outsourcing".

Some have gardeners/landscape crews, some have maids, some have personal chefs or nannies. We have restaurants. One-off transactions paid on a contractual basis for goods delivered and services rendered.
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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 12:09 PM   #30
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Re: Dining Out

Our kids are supposed to clear the table and wash the dishes. It usually turns into the: "I cook and you stall, whine, and make excuses until it's time to go to bed" plan. If not for the educational aspects it would almost be easier and definitely less hassle to clean up myself! :
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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 12:10 PM   #31
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Re: Dining Out

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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
In more detail: The person who cooks puts the dishes in the dishwasher, and puts away the leftovers, and the other person does the rest.
You married veterans will understand my mistake, so here I'm just preaching to the newly-wed engineers.

Early in our marriage I made an offhand comment that a dishwasher could be more efficiently loaded if plates were racked in a certain manner, bowls in another, and so on. *It was just a mentally-idle engineering analysis that happened to escape across my vocal cords, one that I'd discussed many times with my father (who coincidentally is also an engineer). *I probably could have been more tactful (or at least indirect) and I bet I could have even kept my #$%^ing mouth shut. *

That was 20 years ago, or roughly 2000 dishwasher loads... and I've done 'em all.

Did I mention that I've invested considerable thought and submarine-force experience on the concept of stowing food in fridges, freezers, & pantries?

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Originally Posted by scrinch
Our kids are supposed to clear the table and wash the dishes. It usually turns into the: "I cook and you stall, whine, and make excuses until it's time to go to bed" plan. If not for the educational aspects it would almost be easier and definitely less hassle to clean up myself! :
It's always easier & faster to do things for ourselves than to train someone else to do it... as I remind my kid whenever she "needs" us to do something for her.
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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 12:14 PM   #32
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Re: Dining Out

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Did I mention that I've invested considerable thought and submarine-force experience on the concept of stowing food in fridges, freezers, & pantries?
...but I'll bet that you're smart enough to keep these thoughts to yourself, now...aren't you? Or do you want to start counting trips to the grocery store also?
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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 12:35 PM   #33
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Re: Dining Out

i'm surprised by how often many of you eat out ... we (spouse and i) regularly do take-out once a week from a nearby resturant, averages about $40 (total).* it would be nice to actually go out, but there are mobility issues.
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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 12:51 PM   #34
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Re: Dining Out

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Originally Posted by scrinch
...but I'll bet that you're smart enough to keep these thoughts to yourself, now...aren't you?* Or do you want to start counting trips to the grocery store also?* *
I'm getting there.

Hey, after two decades I'm still divesting myself of the responsibility for filling out the grocery list. I eventually realized that I was doing weekly inventories of all stowage and not teaching anyone to put their own darn items on "the list". You know, the Word document that's laid out by aisles and that highlights the most commonly purchased items...
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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 01:05 PM   #35
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Re: Dining Out

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Originally Posted by TromboneAl
I'm lucky because we use the "I cook you clean" system (or v.v.). That works out great, because I much prefer cooking.
It was the same for me when I was working. Now, with DW still working, I do the cooking and the cleaning. When my son comes over he cleans - not surprisingly, he gets a lot of invitations.
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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 01:24 PM   #36
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Re: Dining Out

The only restaurant eating I've done in the past five years was my retirement luncheon (Feb '04).

8)
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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 01:26 PM   #37
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Re: Dining Out

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You know, the Word document that's laid out by aisles and that highlights the most commonly purchased items...
You've got too much time on your hands. Maybe you should go back to work and burn off some of that excess orderliness!
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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 01:50 PM   #38
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Re: Dining Out

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Originally Posted by scrinch
You've got too much time on your hands.* Maybe you should go back to work and burn off some of that excess orderliness!
Yeah, and now that your kids are starting to leave the nest you have too much time on your hands, too, right?* There's never such a thing as too much time, and work was more about "burning out" than "burning off"!

We started that list as a way of getting through the store more quickly-- spending up-front time once to save it many times subsequently.* It evolved after each of our shopping trips.* I just wish our kid had been old enough to do the typing for us.

In ER I've learned to leave the regimented orderly workplace behind to embrace ambiguity.* In fact I still haven't decided what I'm going to do all day today... or maybe I've just abdicated that decision.
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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 06:09 PM   #39
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Re: Dining Out

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You know, the Word document that's laid out by aisles and that highlights the most commonly purchased items...
That's the only way to fly. Got one for each store.
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Re: Dining Out
Old 09-05-2006, 06:12 PM   #40
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Re: Dining Out

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I've invested considerable thought and submarine-force experience on the concept of stowing food in fridges, freezers, & pantries.
Any good tips?
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