Thursday, August 22, 2013

Eating Out – A Frugal Luxury

If there is anything I love, it’s eating out. My idea of a good vacation includes eating at some cool new restaurants and sleeping. Maybe shopping. But for someone who considers herself a “foodie” I love not cooking, not cleaning up and not having to figure out something everyone will eat and enjoy. But if there’s something I don’t love, it’s the price tag. (Or the squirmy toddler threatening to toss his food on the floor)
I have a couple of rules to eating out:

1.) If I’m going to spend the money eating out, I’m not going to eat fast food crap. I’m not going to eat at McDonalds. I want Panera or a #4 Turkey Tom with avocado from Jimmy Johns. Lance says this makes me a princess, but he agrees with the notion that we eat out infrequently enough that we shouldn’t waste our money on food that will just give us a gut-ache afterwards.
2.) Find a coupon, groupon or a deal. It’s pretty much a surefire way to get me into your eatery.
3.) Dining out is preferable without child in tow. Or if said child is in tow, eating out becomes an art. The art of arriving at the restaurant early enough to avoid a long wait, picking one with kid friendly atmosphere – i.e. one that doesn’t have fine china or cloth napkins and finding something Lucan will eat.
4.) If we are going to go some place “nice” and without Lucan, we savor the experience. We linger at the table, we don’t rush and we exhale. As adults we relish in conversation not punctuated by “Careful! Leave your bib on!” Or “Lucan – NO.”

Eating out easily costs a minimum of $20 at a cheaper place. Easily. And that’s for two adults and one toddler. Just imagine having two more kids or teenagers that are hungry. Make that amount closer to $35. I just spent $45 at the grocery store for 10 pounds of chicken breasts and the rest of our groceries for the week. Spending almost half of what I spend on groceries on a single meal isn’t cost efficient. And considering that most of the meals we have at home are better for us, eating out isn’t very cost efficient or healthy.

That being said, I still loving eating out. It’s just a frugal luxury that I’ve learned to savor the few times we do go somewhere! What are your frugal luxuries?

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