Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Can Dining Out be a Budget Buster?

Maybe..but then again maybe not.

We all have those moments when we don't feel like cooking, or we have something cooked but just not in the mood for that particular dish. Say you were out all day either running errands, handling business, or got caught in an emergency. When you get home you are just tired and hungry; and you want those two needs met right away, without much ado on your part. That's where you decide to stop at a drive thru or order takeout or go to a restaurant and have a nice meal. If you have found yourself in any of these situations more times than many (like myself), then maybe it's time to create a Dining Out category to your general budget.

When I wrote in one of my first posts when I started this blog, I noted that over the coarse of 3 months, we spent almost $2,000 JUST in dining out. That was way too much money to be thrown down the toilet when it could have gone else where, i.e. saving account. When I finally made up in my mind to develop a budget and stick to it, I left out Dining Out altogether.

When I showed my husband the budget, he said that there is nothing wrong with dining out, it's when you abuse it that it becomes a bad thing. Then he said to be realistic and honest with myself. Those dishes that I LOVE so much in restaurants, I can make at home and it'll be cheaper and taste better; so that's what I started doing. Then once I saw myself scaling back and spending less dining out it made me proud, especially when I saw more and more money being saved rather than given to McDonalds, etc.

I soon started to look for ways to dine out cheaply. My hubby isn't a fan of fast food, so I started to look for ways to go to sit-down type places and do so on a budget. I soon started to cut coupons to places like Olive Garden or Red Lobster; or wait until restaurants ran specials on their dishes. Also, is a really way to order gift certs. at a cheaper rate and you take them to the restaurant and use those like cash (In case anyone want an additional 70%off their gift certs when they checkout, put in the promo code SUPER). I am order 1 $75.00 gift cert. to a restaurant in Radnor, PA for me and hubby to go to and it will only cost $18.00 due to the 70% promo code.

So, there you have it....dining out can be done where you can enjoy it and be inexpensive at the same time. It also is a great self-esteem booster because you can eat $75 worth of food and spend UNDER $20 for it. So I'm going to challenge you to analyze your dining out, see how much it's costing you, and create a budget and see if you can stick to it.

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