Stop Eating Your Money
How much money do you budget each month towards eating away from home? Maybe I should first ask whether you are even following a budget or spending plan but the truth is that people are spending more and more on eating out.
This morning I read an article in the Chicago Tribune that discussed the stereotype that women are expected to cook well and whether that really holds true.
The part of the article that I found the most interesting, as well as somewhat alarming, were the statistics that were provided at the end of the article. As an example of the numbers provided by the NPD Group, National Restaurant Association and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics:
:: In 1960, 21% of overall food dollars were spent on meals away from home.
:: In 2005, 44% of overall food dollars were spent on meals away from home.
:: In 2006, 24.1% of restaurant meals were ordered from the car.
:: In 1985, 23.6% of home-cooked meals included dessert.
:: In 2006, 14.6% of home-cooked meals included dessert.
Looking at these numbers, you can see that we are spending more money on meals away from home and it is rather alarming that nearly 1/4 of those meals were ordered from the car. It is interesting to note that less home-cooked meals include a dessert than 20 years ago. However, I am curious if that means more people go out for a dessert after a home-cooked meal or that people are just eating less dessert.
Personally speaking, we allocate $100 per month to dining out. While that may be too low for some people or too high for other people, we have found it to work well for us. Looking back at our expenses, I have to say that a good deal of our dining out is meals on the go as we run from one son’s baseball game to another son’s hip-hop practice.
If you do not currently follow a budget, try to track how much you spend on meals away from home. Often times people think that they do not have enough money to save or invest, yet they spend hundreds of dollars per month on eating out. Not too long ago I recall seeing a show on television where a family was spending over $1000 per month on eating out and they were struggling with debt.
When you think of eating out as essentially eating your money, it may put a new perspective on your desire to stop for a meal away from home rather than driving home and spending time to cook a meal. Challenge yourself to eliminate one restaurant visit this month and put that $10-20 (or whatever amount) directly into your savings account.
Stop eating your money!