For most people, eating out is a luxury they cannot afford. Saving money dictates that you cook at home and stop dining out. But who can resist savoring their best meals with a loved one without the kitchen hustle? A whopping 56% of Americans eat out 2 to 3 times a week. It gets worse with 6% eating out 4 to 6 times a week. Eating out has its benefits, and here are ways you can enjoy your experience without going broke.
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Set a Goal
Your high cost of living could be hindering your financial goals. Why do you want to reduce eating out? Is it to save for better financial goals? How much do you want to save? Setting a realistic goal can monitor your project’s success and even get motivated to aim higher.
Work With a Budget
If you are the kind that goes to a restaurant and spends more than expected, it is time to tighten the shoestrings. Suppose you usually spend $400 on a meal and want to cut to $100, stick to that estimate and eat what your money can afford. Do not let your appetite dictate your expenses. Every coin you save goes towards your set financial goals.
Use a Schedule
Living in a happening city makes eating out convenient and attractive. There are always joints or foods to try out. But you can make an eating out schedule rather than hopping into a hotel whenever hungry. You can make a schedule and decide that you will dine out 2 to 3 times a week every month. Stick to your calendar as much as possible.
Why Are You Eating Out?
Making a schedule is easier when you know your reasons for eating out. If you have a date twice a week, put these dates on your dining out calendar. If you want to celebrate the end of a month, schedule it. When you have your reasons for eating out, you look forward to these experiences.
Use Food Delivery Services
Do you want to eat a professionally cooked meal but cannot help spending more than your budget? Or do you want to eat at home but cannot manage to cook? Get food delivered to your house. This approach also helps you store left-overs and maximize your money. Some meal deliveries have cost-saving subscription services that can cut your expenditure.
There are plenty of options that reduce your restaurant expenses without denying yourself. Some of them are:
- Take advantage of ‘special days/hours’ where hotels offer the same food at reduced prices.
- Sign up for coupons at your favorite hotel
- Go for lunch dates that are cheaper than dinner
- Sign up for birthday clubs and get freebies
- Skip the holidays. Major holidays tend to offer pricier meals than usual
- Skip the drinks. You will be surprised how much you save by taking water instead
- Dig into the free bread or chips
- Go out when kids eat free
Dining in is not for everyone. Use the above tips for dining out while cutting your cost of living.