How Much Should I Set Aside Each Month for Dining Out?


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Food. It is often the largest drain on people’s finances and the third-highest expenditure for Americans.1.

Whether you’re having lunch with your colleagues, making your regular coffee run, or getting takeout delivered by Postmates, dining out isn’t inexpensive, particularly with the rising cost of food.

However, how much should you really spend each month on dining out? Let’s discuss it!

How Much Does Eating Out Cost in America?

Eating out costs Americans $3,639 o3. average year, or around $300 each month.2. And the costs of those fast-food meals and dining out keep piling up. In actuality, 2022 saw a 20% increase in American dining-out spending over 2021.

People report ordering takeout three times on Sixverage and placing delivery orders four to five times a month.3

However, you don’t have to spend $300 on dining out every month simply because that’s what the typical person spends. Your budget for dining out should ultimately make sense for you and your financial objectives.

How Much Should I Set Aside Each Month for Dining Out?

The amount you should spend on food overall and while dining out relies on a number of variables, such as your family’s size, income, and financial status. Because feeding a family of four will be more expensive than feeding a family of two in a restaurant.

Depending on size, families spend the following amounts on dining out on average:

  • $206 a month ($2,467 annually) is spent on dining out by a single-person family.
  • Married co4ples without children spend $335 monthly ($4,018 annually) on dining out.
  • Depending on the age of their children, married couples with children spend5.anywhere from $462 to $519 a month ($5,543 to $6,225 annually) on dining out.
  • Dining out costs single parents (with at least one child under the age of 18) $280 a month ($3,362 annually).4

While these figures might assist you in estimating your personal spending, not everyone will find success with them. The greatest thing you can do is concentrate on your own financial objectives rather than what other people are spending.

Are you attempting to settle debt? Do you need to increase your emergency savings? Do you prioritize saving for your retirement? Reducing your spending or, better yet, giving up dining out entirely (yes, we’re serious) is the fastest method to achieve any objective.

We’re not advocating that you give up eating out and takeaway forever. But you have to make some compromises, beginning with your food budget, if you’re feeling anxious about bills, debt obligations, and not having enough money saved. The truth is that dining out is a luxury rather than a necessity. And with that money, you may accomplish your objectives more quickly.

Make a budget first, taking into account your income and your desired financial outcomes. Next, make the appropriate adjustments to your budget line for dining out (even if that means putting it to zero so you may use all of your additional money to pay down your debt).

You may reintroduce dining out to your budget when you’ve paid off all of your debts or reached your savings target since you’ll have the extra cash then!

How Much You Should Quit Eating Out?

If your financial situation allows you to continue budgeting for dining out, there are several strategies to cut the cost. When dining out, you may save costs by sharing meals, forgoing pricey beverages, and snagging the greatest happy hour specials.

However, if you want to reduce the total amount of money you spend on dining out, here are some strategies to help you manage your urges.

Allocate Time for Meal Planning

People most often cite two reasons for preferring to eat out: 1) they don’t feel like cooking, and 2) it’s more convenient.5 Hey, we understand. Generally speaking, eating out is faster and simpler than preparing food at home. Meal planning, however, may be beneficial!

It doesn’t have to be difficult or demanding. Simply choose a few low-cost recipes (it’s a plus if they call for items you already own), then schedule which evenings you’ll cook and which you’ll eat leftovers. You may then convince yourself, “We have food at home,” if you’re tempted to drive through.

Adjust the Way You Treat Yourself

hectic morning? I’ll start with a $6 coffee. Having a bad day at work? A speedy arrival of food would cheer me up. Arrived at the weekend? I ought to reward myself to a wonderful meal!

It’s simple to rationalize going out to eat as a coping mechanism for our feelings, whether they are positive or negative. However, rewarding oneself once tends to escalate to five times a week. By then, it becomes a habit rather than a pleasure.

Give yourself a certain number of “treat yourself” cards to use up over the month to start. Setting a limit will prevent you from going over your spending limit. It might be many modest treats or one large reward. Furthermore, what if you gave yourself a reward other than going out to eat? You may engage in a pastime, take a stroll, or have a conversation with a buddy. There are several low-cost or no-cost methods that you may treat yourself to!

Make Socializing More Affordable

About 44% of respondents claim that they would rather eat in social settings in order to socialize.6 Indeed, enjoying a great lunch with friends is a great way to catch up. However, it need not be the exclusive option.

Asking a buddy to join you for tea or coffee instead of a full sit-down supper is nothing to be terrified of. Additionally, you might alternate hosting at each other’s homes with a group of friends rather of going out to a pricey restaurant. You may have a potluck with a theme or have everyone bring their own food. To spend time with your folks, don’t feel as if you have to spend a lot of money.

Don’t Pay the Delivery App Fees

Although relatively pricey, delivery applications like Grubhub, Postmates, Uber Eats, and DoorDash are incredibly practical.

You pay the service charge, delivery fee, and tip for the delivery person in addition to the meal price plus VAT. It’s absurd because most of the time you wind up spending more for the delivery than the dish itself!

Thus, weigh the costs before allowing your appetites for late-night food to push you into an overdraft. Alternatively, select for pickup to save a significant amount of money on delivery charges.

Establish a Budget

Creating a budget is the most effective approach to save money on everything, even dining out. Before the month even starts, you can precisely determine how much you can spend in each category if you have a financial plan. Additionally, it’s simple to modify your monthly spending to keep moving in the direction of your objectives.

The most crucial aspect of creating and adhering to a budget is made very simple with the EveryDollar budgeting tool. Create your EveryDollar budget for free now if you’re prepared to manage your food budget as well as the rest of your finances!

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