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April 04, 2007


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I try JD, I really try. It's a struggle for me to either bring my lunch to work or eat at home, but I keep chipping away at it.

This weekend I was feeling a bit blue and decided on a whim to go out for dinner. I headed for choice #1 -- line out to forever and really crowded. Choice #2 had almost no customers -- and I stood there for nearly 10 minutes waiting for a hostess or wait staff to even appear. I finally ended up at Dennys, where I never eat.

The meal was alright actually and the waiter was impressively good, but at the end I'd managed to spend $16. On dinner at Dennys. Boy did I feel like a schmuck (and it didn't take away my blues).

I will do better this week. I will.


My husband I work odd hours, so we're not often home together to eat. Since we had no luck finding times to cook and eat together, we often ate frozen food or ate out. Now we each cook something big a couple times a week, whether or not the other of us is home, and then we enjoy the leftovers for a couple days. This has really helped our food bill. I don't like to cook all that much, so I make uncomplicated things like casseroles, and I find recipes on websites where they're rated by users (such as to minimize the chance that I won't like what I cook.

38-42% food cost may be accurate at fine dining, but most of us don't eat fine dining often. You ought to see the food cost as casual dining. Then, if you really want to be shocked, try fast food. Did you know the average food cost at Arby's is around 24%? Sure, there are other costs (labor, overhead, etc.). But the food itself is just 24% of the cost. I've heard at Waffle House food cost is around 18%! Now, every one likes to treat themselves occasionally, or may be too busy to eat at home (I'm just as bad as anyone). But when I can cook 4 meals for the cost of one at a restaurant, it's really tempting to stay home and eat!

If you like to eat out occasionally, you can try different places and get discounts for it. I wrote about eating out here most recently. Check it out and save some money.

Nice to be reminded about the eating out thing.


Talking about menu price shock. Yesterday I went to McAlisters Deli for lunch. A chicken club sandwich, (very small portions) bag of chips and a drink was $9.60. WOW... just for lunch. I can make my own clubs and probaly make them better than the one that rip a hole in my pocket.

I like eating at home.It's dilicious to eat with my lover. It help my family to save money as what you say!

This is probably the biggest hole in our budget. It's so easy to eat out.

When I eat out, I save by drinking water and not ordering dessert.

In Italy too! The cost to have lunch/dinner in a restaurant is really too high in comparison to 4-6 years ago. And during holiday time (as Easter) it is even worse! :-(

And it's only going to get worse as gas prices drive up the cost of food (transportation and the increase in corn prices as more and more is diverted to fuel instead of animal feed). You know that the resturants won't cut into their bottom line. Those costs are going to hit us at the grocery, too, of course, but I'll bet it will still pay to cook at home.

i've been trying to stay out of restaurants for years now, little by little i've been able to cut back, now i hardly go. the last time i went to a Dennys in Time Square, NYC reluctantly with friends, knowing the prices would be marked up for tourism. my group ordered confidently when they really couldn't afford it and i refrained to just having a coffee. boy what break through, the article above and all the comments really help.

That 40% is quite deceptive. You need to remember that restaurants are buying food in bulk, so they're getting better prices than the average consumer will.

In Boston, for example, a restaurant can go to Haymarket and get a 50lb bag of onions for not much more than you and I would spend on a couple 3lb bags from the grocery store.

I'm not saying you won't save money eating at home. Obviously you will. But you won't save as much money as this story implies. That $20 meal won't cost $20 at home, but it'll be more than $8. It might cost $12-$15.

Brian, the guy above me, needs to learn how to do math. No way, on this planet, or any other, is a home cooked meal 12-15 dollars unless you are eating lobster every night.

Brian you need to go to Sam's club or super wal-mart you can buy in bulk and it saves you money. Also if you spend that much at a restruant then you need to learn and apply it at home. Even if you don't buy in bulk and you spend $20 in one night on one meal even if you spend 12 - 15 dollars you are still saving money. 5-7 dollars adds up buddy!!!

yeahhhh eating out is very expensive. I typically spend $10-$20 on myself but if I take my girlfriend out I use my I get restaurant gift certificates for the low.. on a special I've purchased $25.00 gift certs for a $1.00 dollar!!! typically they are $10 to $17.50. it's a great way to save a little bit of money or to get more! plus, some chicks dig savings and frugality!! BUT NOT CHEAP haha

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