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Old 06-23-2010, 10:43 AM   #21
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23% of our food budget is eating out. seems like a lot...but, our grocery budget keeps getting smaller and smaller - i think we are under $250/month for 2 people.
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Old 06-23-2010, 10:45 AM   #22
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Met a retired guy the other day who loves dining out but doesn't love the expense.

His answer is to eat lunch out - a lot of nice restaurants have same menu items at lunch as dinner - but they are smaller portions and smaller prices - perfect for him.

So he's "well restauranted" but on a budget.
Frank and I eat together at restaurants a lot now that we are retired. Eating out can cost less than groceries if you play your cards right, at least here where the restaurant business is quite competitive. Restaurant food is so fattening, and the portions are huge, so we often split one portion between us. Last night we split a grilled chicken Caesar salad, and even with iced tea that wasn't very expensive. Sometimes we just get soup and French bread. I often genuinely prefer water to tea or diet soda, and that lowers the cost too.

And then lunches are often more reasonable portions and prices, as your retired acquaintance noticed.
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:06 PM   #23
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I still work and brown bag it half the time, eat out on other days with friends to be sociable. I dine in a restaurant only about once or twice a month preferring to cook a little as it is healthier and more convenient. I like restaurants that serve interesting food...by which I mean something I don't prepare at home or that is a complicated concoction(would never order a steak or burger out). I drink a glass of wine on a week-end evening at home, have a cocktail generally when out. Dinner in a restaurant is typically around $40.00 on average I would say(for one). I don't care much for buffets, preferring table service as it is more relaxing.
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Old 06-23-2010, 12:50 PM   #24
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We usually eat out once a week but since we are both trying to lose weight we usually order from the appetizer menu or split portions . I enjoy cooking and also think it is healthier and more convenient . That is the one thing I dislike about travelling is the constant restaurant food and going somewhere to get food .My ideal travel would be a hotel with a mini kitchen and reasonably priced room service .There is nothing worse for me than spending a whole day touring and then having to find a restaurant .
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:30 PM   #25
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Found the following excerpt/link to be interesting. Personally last year 61% of such spending was for groceries and 39% was eating out so I apparently eat out alot less then the average Canadian. What about all of you?

EDMONTON - Despite economic recovery, Albertans are losing the big appetite for dining out they acquired during the boom.
The ratio of sales at restaurants and pubs to sales at grocery and liquor stores fell below 0.54 in the first quarter of 2010, according to Statistics Canada. That means for every dollar spent at a grocery or liquor store, less than 54 cents was spent at a restaurant or bar.
Compare that to the first quarter of 2007 when the ratio was at its highest level at 0.57. For every dollar spent on groceries, 57 cents was spent on a night out.

According to the way they calculate this, if your food split 61/39 then for every dollar you spend on groceries, you would spend 0.63 dollars on food in restaurants and this is higher than the 0.54 average. It sounds like you are above average. And a way above the average for this group.
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:38 PM   #26
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According to the way they calculate this, if your food split 61/39 then for every dollar you spend on groceries, you would spend 0.63 dollars on food in restaurants and this is higher than the 0.54 average. It sounds like you are above average. And a way above the average for this group.
Perhaps I am reading this wrong; but to clarify, for every $ spent on "food" 39 cents for me is eating out while the average Albertan is at 54 cents so I'm quite abit lower than the average but higher than the average here. Alot of my socializing is over beer/wings + taking girls out so that is probably why.
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Old 06-23-2010, 01:46 PM   #27
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Perhaps I am reading this wrong; but to clarify, for every $ spent on "food" 39 cents for me is eating out while the average Albertan is at 54 cents so I'm quite abit lower than the average but higher than the average here. Alot of my socializing is over beer/wings + taking girls out so that is probably why.
Take out girls? I'll have two to go, extra napkins please!
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Old 06-23-2010, 02:04 PM   #28
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We tend to eat out at ethnic restaurants, especially Indian restaurants. Making a 5 course Indian meal is complicated - I can do it, but it's easier and cheaper at a restaurant. Here there are many that have a "special dinner for 2" (lots of courses) for $30 - $35. Usually we take home enough to have another dinner for 2 which makes it very economical. Sometimes we really luck out and they take some restaurant discount card we have, too.

As many others have said, we tend to not get drinks, or just get one drink each if it's alcohol, at restaurants - it keeps the cost down. And we take home leftovers from the huge portions.

I plan to do the lunch thing more when retired. I've notice the cheaper lunch prices - although the portion size is often smaller.

The other time we eat out is when I just can't bear the thought of cooking! Exhaustion, usually - but when I retire perhaps that will subside.
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Old 06-23-2010, 04:03 PM   #29
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I spend the time to make shopping/cooking at home an enjoyable , creative activity that's part of my day. Why reduce it to a chore when you can make a mini hobby out it ?
This makes all the problems of gratuitous eating out go away on their own.

Ok, time to end the sermon before i get too carried away here ..
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Old 06-23-2010, 04:15 PM   #30
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We eat lunch out most days at work, with the leftovers for supper. Weekends I usually cook all our meals.
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Old 06-23-2010, 04:15 PM   #31
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I go out to eat once or twice a year. Have lately had a craving for a reuben sandwich, might get one from local eatery; they said I can order ahead and take it away.
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Old 06-23-2010, 04:27 PM   #32
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I go out to eat once or twice a year. Have lately had a craving for a reuben sandwich, might get one from local eatery; they said I can order ahead and take it away.
Your are probably better off(limiting dining out). Reubens are my favorite restaurant sandwich. I order them once in awhile...some places are substituting turkey for corned beef and they are quite good, too. Dinner out for me is usually after an event, and it is nice to relax with my retired cousin or a friend and not have to rush right home(lets the traffic die down, too). Most of us live alone and it makes for more of a finish to the day to go somewhere nice once in awhile as a treat.
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Old 06-23-2010, 06:20 PM   #33
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Other than at the box-chain restaurants, which I can only be dragged to for a work luncheon, I am not seeing the "huge restaurant portions" other people talk about.

On the rare occasions that we go to one of the better local restaurants, we are always amazed at the small size of the salmon steak or measly portion of shrimp, and the 3 asparagus spears or one broccoli floret on the side. We figure the restaurants are trying to encourage us to order more courses, so we won't go away hungry!

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Old 06-23-2010, 06:34 PM   #34
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I go out to eat once or twice a year. Have lately had a craving for a reuben sandwich, might get one from local eatery; they said I can order ahead and take it away.

I had a craving for Hot Pastrami ever since I moved from the Northeast and amazingly the cruise we went on in May had a deli that made great Hot Pastrami sandwiches . I was in heaven.
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Old 06-23-2010, 06:39 PM   #35
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Other than at the box-chain restaurants, which I can only be dragged to for a work luncheon, I am not seeing the "huge restaurant portions" other people talk about.

On the rare occasions that we go to one of the better local restaurants, we are always amazed at the small size of the salmon steak or measly portion of shrimp, and the 3 asparagus spears or one broccoli floret on the side. We figure the restaurants are trying to encourage us to order more courses, so we won't go away hungry!

Amethyst
Well here in the midwest... there are very fancy restaurants with small portions, but mostly good restaurants with large portions. In fact it seems as though portion size is growing - maybe to maintain sales volume. As I understand it, the smallest part of the cost of a meal at a restaurant is the food itself. So bigger portions don't cost them much more and may buy return customers.
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Old 06-23-2010, 08:48 PM   #36
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We hardly ever eat at restaurants. I like to bake my own whole wheat bread and make brown rice, and other healthy foods and find restaurant food to generally be less healthy and less tasty. Our percentages are probably about 98 percent spent on groceries and 2 percent dining out.
+1. I eat out only when its unavoidable. Unless you spend considerable $$ or know a good local place you are basically getting a TV dinner (high in salt, fat, sugar and calories) cooked in a microwave by teenagers.
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Old 06-23-2010, 09:03 PM   #37
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I mentioned a year or so ago I ordered a pizza; I'd forgotten how salty that stuff was. I was thirsty for two days.
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Old 06-23-2010, 11:29 PM   #38
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I had a craving for Hot Pastrami ever since I moved from the Northeast and amazingly the cruise we went on in May had a deli that made great Hot Pastrami sandwiches . I was in heaven.
I almost lost my mind when I first moved to LA from the east. Then I found Canter's, on Fairfax. I think they even imported waitresses from NYC. I am not sure that it is still the same, but it is still there anyway.

Ha

Canter's Deli - Los Angeles, CA, 90036 - Citysearch
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Old 06-23-2010, 11:59 PM   #39
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Eating out can cost less than groceries if you play your cards right, at least here where the restaurant business is quite competitive.
That's certainly true in Monterrey Park, CA where a typical Chinese entree costs less than $5. The competition is fierce as there are so many Chinese and Vietnamese restaurants.
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Old 06-24-2010, 12:33 AM   #40
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We eat out 2x/week, so from a frequency standpoint it's low. But from a $$ standpoint it's high, because we go to nicer restaurants when we go out.

I believe that if a person went to White Castles/Krystals or McDonalds every meal and only ordered from the value menu, they could probably eat out for LESS than grocery shopping.

The problem with doing that is that your health would likely suffer tremendously, which would cost you more in the long run.

We can afford to eat out, so we do it. But I agree with another poster above that the first thing we cut when the economy went down was our eating out. Cutting out one meal a week saves us about $180/month.
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