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going out to eat... what's normal?

So marc emailed me at work today to ask if we should just go out to dinner. My first impulse was to email him back and say "can't we go a week without going out?" but I held back, and hours later said "sure that sounds fine."

Since we started having a more structured meal plan we've done much better at cooking at home. Seriously, we used to go out to dinner practically every night. And when we cooked, it was totally lazy like mac & cheese. We didn't even have seven staple meals that we KNEW how to cook, I think. When the baby was born and it was tough to go out, we just did a lot of takeout.

So we're making progress. Cooking almost every night is a big deal, two years ago I would have been shocked just to cook the majority of nights.

I also feel bad telling marc "no we can't go out" because I know he really enjoys it, he makes dinner all the other days and grocery shops and I don't want my engineer cheapness to rule over everything we do. It's a tough balance. I am too cheap. Marc likes to spend too much. I sometimes feel like, as a single income family, going out should not be something we do every week. But I also feel like, as the one with the income, it's not nice of me to keep insisting that the man feed us on a shoestring budget. I am putting money in savings every month, we don't have oodles of credit card debt, the only real issue I have with our money is that we have to pay mortgage insurance on the house so I'm really trying to throw money at it so we have 20% built up in a couple years. But that's not worth living a boring life when we never go out, I think?

Hard to gage. Poll time!

how often do you eat dinner out?

every day
5-6 times a week
3-4 times a week
twice a week
once a week
1-3 times a month
less than once a month



( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 2nd, 2011 11:20 pm (UTC)
Well, I am currently unemployed, so I am probably not the norm of the people who *will* be voting, but eating out right now is just undoable and a luxury I cannot afford.

I had an ex-boyfriend several years ago who LOVED to eat out *all* the time (like, 7 days a week) and it was just annoying to me to throw out money on a regular basis, when I'd be happy with a sandwich/hamburger/pasta/soup/etc at home. We finally came to a compromise, sorta - a standing weekly "steak night" that was fairly economical (under/around $10 for a single meal, IIRC) and tasty.

Probably these days it's not so hard to find deals with sites like Groupon and figuring out when your local restaurants have specials (like my aforementioned steak night) or doing breakfast-for-dinner or "country cooking," which always seems to run cheaper $-wise.

You can always say, "sure, Marc, we can eat out once a week...IF YOU CAN FIND A COUPON/DEAL!" ;-D
Jun. 2nd, 2011 11:22 pm (UTC)
And I am assuming Marc is not saying "hey let's get Domino's/Burger King/what have you."
Jun. 3rd, 2011 07:50 am (UTC)
LOL..No I'm definitely not doing that! I'm not sure with my recent dietary changes that I would even be able to keep those foods down..lol
Jun. 2nd, 2011 11:43 pm (UTC)
I travel so much that it is a pleasure for me to stay home and do something as simple as opening a can of soup. I'd prefer to cook more with real ingredients and not succumb to the ease of heating up something from Trader Joe's, though.
Jun. 3rd, 2011 12:13 am (UTC)
I try not to do the takeout thing, because I feel like that's a waste (plus the food is unhealthy), but I feel like going out is good for the family in terms of bonding and stuff. I also get coupons online for places we go to a lot.
Jun. 3rd, 2011 12:43 am (UTC)
I eat lunch out far too often because I've gotten out of my natural morning person state and been snoozing a lot for the past, oh, year or so. LOL But we rarely eat dinner out. If I don't go to the grocery store every week we get lazy and start eating whatever's been sitting in the pantry for a while: soups, flavored rice mixes, canned chicken and tuna, etc. When we were both doing P90X and following their meal plan we were religious about making nearly every meal at home. Being on a house down payment savings budget is also very healthy for the waistline. ;)
Jun. 3rd, 2011 02:29 am (UTC)
I put twice a week, but it varies. We have a "date night" once a week, where we go out to dinner! Sometimes, we'll go out another night just because or if we are craving something particular. Sometimes I'll go out to lunch with a coworker or just take myself. Writing a restaurant review blog means it has to average out to at least once a week, : )

As for the cost...we just budgeted it in. If we eat at cheapo places, we pocket the rest. If we eat at expensive places, maybe we do a date night at home.

Though our biggest money savers are those daily deal sites. Living Social, Groupon, plus a handful of little local ones. LOVE them and we are saving SO MUCH. : )
Jun. 3rd, 2011 02:45 am (UTC)
Also, the "date night" thing works wonders because we know that if there is someplace we want to try or really just want to go...we'll just do that for date night. It helps keep the eating out reasonable. : ) (Well, the budget helps too.)
Jun. 3rd, 2011 03:40 am (UTC)
Lunch? Several times a week at the cafeteria at work. Dinner? Different story. Somewhere between once a month and less than once a month.
Jun. 3rd, 2011 03:40 am (UTC)
But I should say that we don't often eat together at lunch - it's just that that's how often I buy it.
Jun. 3rd, 2011 01:34 pm (UTC)
you sound like my hubby! ;) So, I go out to eat with all mommy-friends! But in general we keep it for when we have visitors (eating out).
Jun. 3rd, 2011 02:50 pm (UTC)
Eating out, take out brought home, cooking at home, scrounging at home w/out cooking. Obviously the majority should be cooking at home, it's the healthiest, but if one person is doing the cooking, they deserve one or two nights off a week and one of the other options needs to be put in place. Also, maybe you could cook for Marc while he has a beauty day or something. :)
Jun. 3rd, 2011 03:09 pm (UTC)
On a normal week we always go out on Friday night. Then usually we get a pizza on Saturday night. As we've gotten older though (and our son is grown and does his own thing) we sometimes sneak in an extra dinner out during the week. But, when he was your daughter's age, we ate at home nearly every night.
Jun. 3rd, 2011 05:04 pm (UTC)
When it was just the two of us and we had fun going into debt, it was 2 - 3 times a week. Now that we're parents and need to be responsible and need to look after Erika who doesn't sit still for long, it's 1 - 3 times a month, and mostly only when company is over and wants to go out.
Jun. 5th, 2011 12:43 am (UTC)
If I keep him stocked with cold cuts, Pete will have lunch at home. But he really prefers to go out, because he loves it when other people (yet not me, for some reason) make him sandwiches. If we had the money, he would go out for dinner and lunch and breakfast every day. For the first two weeks at the house, we ate out A LOT, because I kept coming home starving, and "we" had to go to Home Depot all the time. So we would go to Old Country Buffet, because it's pretty much in the Home Depot parking lot. And also we didn't have a working stove, so everything had to be grilled, which got old very quickly.
But now that we have no excuse, we still eat out about once a week. I love to go out, but he favors restaurants with paper placemats, which I don't feel is healthy enough for either of us.
Jun. 14th, 2011 07:35 pm (UTC)
You know, it totally varies. I put once a week though because I think on average that's about what we do. There are weeks when we go out three times and we go out several weeks in a row, and then there are times when we don't go out at all for months. I should really track it, huh. I basically think it goes in rounds "Oh, go out to eat! yum!" and then we get the card statement and go "uh....maybe that was a little much" and cut back. Then it's reasonable for a while, and then things come up where we can't cook and we're like "Oh, go out to eat! Yum!" again. Heh.
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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