Monday Money Tip #2

Monday Money Tip #2

I hope your commute to work was awesome. Most likely, though, you had to sit through an hour traffic, get cut off by some punk kid in a Honda, and showed up 5 minutes late, even though you left 15 minutes early. But no worry, your workday will probably be much better. Unless you get called into the office by your boss because you didn’t reply to the email he sent you Sunday at 8pm, you lose all the work on your report you were putting together because you forgot to save and your computer blue screens, you spill coffee on your “spill proof” shirt, only to have it leak right on to your no-so-spill-proof jeans, and you get a “warning” from your boss at the end fo the day for showing up 5 minutes late. Hopefully you don’t turn in to Bad Luck Brian.

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Well, you’re commute home is only going to be twice as miserable, so you might as well drop by the local burger joint and….


A study conducted by the CDC showed that Americans were spending 26% of their food budget on “eating out” in 1960. In a follow up survey in 2011, they discovered that Americans were spending of 49% of their food budget on eating out. Not only is it healthier to eat food from home, but you can save yourself literally hundreds of dollars per month doing it. Michelle and I did it. I blew $600 on mall food at one point before getting married. During our first year of marriage, we survived on $14 an hour and our food budget was $240 per month. And we ate VERY well.

If we were eating out on pace with the average American family, we’d be dropping close to $250 – $300 per month on eating out alone, and spending over $600 a month total. We’re spending less than $400 per month for food, and we still get out and enjoy meals away, just not every other day. And to put that savings in perspective, if we just went with the average American family spending, we would not be able to put ANY money away for our son’s college fund.

How much money are YOU blowing on eating out per month? Is it worth it?

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  1. 49%?? That’s just nuts! We rarely eat out anymore. It costs too much money, and let’s face it, it’s not really a fun idea to eat out with three little ones. 😉
    John S @ Frugal Rules recently posted..5 Fun and Frugal Super Bowl Party IdeasMy Profile

  2. We have been doing much much better about eating at home. But this month is going to be a bad one since it is devour downtown (restaurant week) here and try to take advantage of a couple deals. Of course this will even out since next month we pretty much won’t leave the house since it will be too cold.

  3. We spend WAAAAAAAAAY too much on going out to eat. It’s ridiculous.
    Michelle recently posted..$3,340 in Extra Income, Life, Wedding UpdatesMy Profile

    • Hah! I just read that in your post. You can get it down, I believe in you!

      Also, you’re making like $5k in extra income a month, so I’m pretty sure you can just budget it in 😉

  4. I think the best way to cut your eating out spending is to make a firm commitment to healthful eating. Get educated about healthy eating, and you’ll soon find restaurants far less appealing! And you’ll lose weight too. Worked for me!
    Kurt @ Money Counselor recently posted..Tax Season Identity TheftMy Profile

  5. I have a $20/month budget for eating fast food and I never use any of it. My wife and I cook food at home every week and have saved a lot of money. We do try to eat out together a few times a month, just to get out and enjoy life a little.
    Grayson @ Debt Roundup recently posted..Change Your Lifestyle, Increase Your SavingsMy Profile

    • That’s my spending cash budget as well! I definitely agree with eating out a few times a month, but only if it’s in the budget :) And heck, if it’s not in the budget, PUT IT IN THERE! Gotta get out sometime!

  6. We go out about once a month. I know how easy it is to stop for takeout, but just keep going. Saves tons and you don’t get fat!
    Kim@Eyesonthedollar recently posted..Work Less, Live More-Transition to Part Time WorkMy Profile

  7. I always bring my lunch to work, which helps a lot because my work lunches are always (homemade) leftovers from the night before. The tricky part is if I forget to bring my lunch to work, or if I’m still hungry after lunch. I work next to a Rite Aid, and that junk food section always gets mighty tempting!
    Manda recently posted..Link Love, Vol. 3My Profile

    • DON’T DO IT! I used to eat the same thing for lunch everyday for 10 months. Cost like $1 a day or something. You can save TONS of cash this way. Sounds like you’re rockin’ it!

  8. I used to eat out ALL THE TIME. It’s obscene how much money I used to spend on food. I would average somewhere around $12/day just on lunches! Now I make huge batches of soup or chili over the weekend and bring that in for lunch, averaging about $3/day. I still allow myself to go out for lunch every now and then to spice things up, but it’s an occasional treat.
    Gen Y Finance Journey recently posted..Don’t Run Your Personal Finances Like a BusinessMy Profile

  9. We used to blow a ton of money eating out. Luckily, we don’t anymore. We go out about twice a month now…for Thai food. And yes, it’s worth it!
    Holly@ClubThrifty recently posted..Our Credit Card Churning Plans for 2013My Profile

  10. I have the opposite problem. I bring lunch to work every day, my wife and I spend about $100 at restaurants each month, but somehow our grocery budget is out of control.

    In January, we’re already at $650. It’s just the two of us, and while we do have people over about once a week, that number just seems absurd to me. I don’t know where it goes and we rarely have a ton of food in the apartment.
    Daniel recently posted..What’s the Better Bargain: Automatic Payments or Paying in Advance?My Profile

    • Bummer :(

      Have you tried meal planning? My wife and I use eMeals, and dropped our budget from about $600 to $350 – $400 in a month. They basically plan it all out for you, create the grocery list and giv eyou the prices. Definitely worht a shot if you want to save some serious cash. Costs about $5 a month, but saved us hundreds. (My affiliate link is on the sidebar if you want to check it out)

  11. We probably spend 25 to 35 percent of our budget eating out. We have been trying to do better this year. It is one of our few ways we get out of the house so it somewhat counts as entertainment for us as well.
    Lance at Money Life and More recently posted..How We Lost Sight of the Big PictureMy Profile

  12. Eating out is definitely a weakness in our budget! We are focusing on reducing it to the point where we only eat out for birthdays or occasions, but we sometimes make 3 meals at home and STILL pick up some fast food at the end of the night!
    Vicky recently posted..Weekend Links – January 25 editionMy Profile

    • Yea, it’s not an easy habit to stop right away. It really comes down to being motivated by something better than fast food, like a vacation, new house, or retirement. then you’ll think twice about spending your vacation money on Jack in the Box :)

  13. I spend more on fast food every month then I do on groceries. My reasons/excuses/whatever, is that I live alone, hate cooking, and often work 12 hour days. It’s definitely not helping my budget, and I know this, but I still do it.
    MissAmanda recently posted..I’M GOING TO QUIT MY JOBMy Profile

  14. We get fried chicken once a week when we go to the nearby town for a day of grocery shopping and to buy building materials. It is exhausting and we enjoy a meal out. Other than this I love to cook and try to make the other fast food at home, a homemade burger or pizza is so much better. If you cook from scratch you know how big the markup is in restaurants, and it makes it harder to go out.
    Pauline recently posted..Little house in Guatemala, week 10-13My Profile

  15. I’m not sure how much we spend because the bf buys most of it. He jokes that I don’t know how to turn on our oven. It was funny at first now I just feel bad. I’ve got to get better at this whole cooking meals thing.
    KK @ Student Debt Survivor recently posted..My Finances, His Finances, Our Finances?My Profile

  16. I got into the habit of cooking and packing my own meals out of necessity. When at uni, to save money. I made me own meals. Soon I found I could not stand poorly prepared foods that done restaurants serve. I feel like if an going to be spending my money for someone else to cook for me they better bring it. Among my friends am known to always gave food in mg handbag from a bag if nuts, to my own home made trail mix, to apples and even tuna, pb$ j sandwiches. I cook on the weekends and pack my lunch to work.

  17. I don’t blow much of my budget on eating out, but man my grocery bill is high. I’m starting to think that this is why I feel so inadequate when I see people’s grocery budgets so low…it’s because some have a separate eating out budget so it lessons the need for groceries. OK that’s one theory. :)
    Budget and the Beach recently posted..The Financial Pros and Cons of Getting OlderMy Profile

  18. We have recently cut way, way back on eating out. We definitely weren’t spending THAT much, but it was enough to want to stop. We’ve cut back by around 90%, which is great, but mainly that’s because we haven’t had the time to go out lately.
    Daisy @ Money Smart Guides recently posted..How To Save Money When There’s Nothing Left After PaydayMy Profile

  19. Starbucks is my vice. I don’t even want to look at how much I spend there every month
    Marissa @ Thirty Six Months recently posted..5 Tips for New Credit Card CustomersMy Profile

  20. I have to admit I work 10 hour days and sometimes I just don’t feel like cooking. I use to eat out a lot so to mitigate eating out I bought a bunch of frozen dinners from Trader Joes. They a little on the expensive side, but not as much as eating out.
    Brick By Brick Investing | Marvin recently posted..How To Use Bear Put SpreadsMy Profile


  1. […] Monday Money Tip #2 by iHeartBudgets […]

  2. […] We’re spending less than $400 per month for food, and we still get out and enjoy meals away, just not every other day. And to put that savings in perspective, if we just went with the average American family spending, we would not be able to put ANY money away for our son’s college fund. –  iHeatbudgets […]

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