I’ve admitted several times that we eat out quite a bit.  We spend about $400 a month eating out.  Yeah, I know that’s a lot.  Four hundreded dollars a month!  When I really think about it like that… wow.  That is almost the van payment.  I could be making double payments on the van! I could be contributing more to our IRAs.  I could start a college fund for the kids.  The possibilities are endless…

I immediately start guilting myself into giving up eating out.  I know it’s not reasonable to think we aren’t going to go out to eat at all…. ever again.  So I’ll mentally plan for $100 a month.  Ok, we could do that.   That would be enough to eat out as a family once a week if we are careful about where we go.  McDonalds or Pizza or something.  It’s doable.

So that means no lunches out during the week.  Tough one.  I eat out two or three times and so does my husband.  So that means I’m going to have to buy more lunch stuff.  I estimate that would bump my grocery bill up about $50 a month.  Lunch meats, extra bread, maybe chips, extra drinks, ect.

That leaves $250.  Still a significant amount.  But here’s the thing… It also means that the only reason for me to leave the house is to go grocery shopping.  Maybe go to the mall or something and walk around.  Blah.  I like to leave the house!  I don’t want to only leave twice a week.  Once to go grocery shopping and once to out to eat on the weekend.  Um… no thanks.  And I know my husband likes to go and get out of the office.  Who wants to eat lunch sitting at their desk?  I know I didn’t when I was working.

It means every single dollar, save the $100 I’ve left for eating out, is going to something practical.  Nothing fun.  Debt, bills, savings.  That’s it.  Now, if that’s what you have to do for a while because you’re in a tough spot, then that’s what you have to do.  I know fun is a want, not a need.  But I also don’t feel like that is the spot we are in.  I think there should be some room for fun in our budget.

So at the end I always end up leaving our eating out budget just where it is.  I’m just not willing to make that sacrifice.  Do you have anything in your budget like that?

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