So often I hear people say they are in debt and they can’t get out or they can’t seem to figure out how to Save Money. It is pretty simple, just spend less than what you make. When we began to save for this adventure of a lifetime, we had to look in every nook and cranny of our finances. The first area that was quick and easy to assess and make a drastic change was to limit how often we ate out.
How to Save Money! – Tip # 1 Limit Eating Out
Document what is costing you money – for a week or a month, write down every single penny you spend. It may surprise you how much money is just flowing out of your pockets on meals. This is of course on top of your grocery bill. Which is another topic (How much food do you throw away each week?) Think about this and you can save money!
Eating out is a huge money gobbler
We often eat out because it is very social and it great to spend time with others we like to be around. But what is this costing us? This is a tough habit to break and by no means do you need to go cold turkey and stop all together. For now just be aware of what you are spending. You do need the support of your friends, family and coworkers if you want to make any changes in this area.
When you look at eating out, it doesn’t seem like we do it very often. Maybe we go out to dinner once a week. Perhaps we just grab a quick meal for lunch with our co-workers or on occasion we stop on the way to work for a coffee.
Let’s do a little math for FUN
You will need to do this on your own and I am going to be CRAZY conservative with my calculations. I am sure you will find you are spending far more than the estimates below. Keep in mind I am using 4 weeks for a month, so again being conservative. Think about this and you can save money!
- Lunch – you work Monday through Friday and the gang goes out to eat every day. Even if you eat in your work cafeteria, this will apply. I am going to be extremely conservative and say you spend $7 a day on lunch. $7 times 5 days a week is $35 a week. So now we take that $35 and multiply by 4 weeks and that is a whopping $140 a month, just for lunch! Start bringing your lunch or limit eating out to once a week. If you feel you aren’t being social with your co-workers, take your lunch with you. Eat at an outdoor café so you can join them. Better yet, ask that they bring their lunch as well and go to the park. You can still have social time without it costing a fortune. You can also eat prior and still go out with them to socialize. Another option is to still eat out, but take advantage of coupons and cut costs together.
- Coffee/Snacks – Again, very conservative… Let’s say you are stopping for a coffee or snack 3 times a week. It is about $5 per stop, that $15 per week and times 4 is $60 a month! That is just for a coffee, tea or snack! Really? Is that a need? Is it a social thing or a need?
- Dinner – Many people rationalize and say that “We only go out to dinner once a week”. Do you have the budget to do that? This will be an estimate for 2 people at a standard run of the mill chain restaurant once a week. You have decided to each order a drink, share an appetizer and each have a main course.
Drinks – $4 each, Appetizer – $8, Main Course – $13 each,
Math time ($8 + $8 + $26 = $42 with tax and tip you are at about $50)
$50 once a week for 4 weeks is $200 a month!(This was just assuming 1 person is eating out for lunch. Are you a couple and you both eat out? Do you eat out more often than that? What is your real spend?)
In summary you are conservatively spending $400 a month on Eating Out!
What could you do with an extra $400 a month? How about multiplying that by 12 months?
What could you do with an extra $4800 a year? I am sure some debt could disappear or heck you could SAVE MONEY and watch your savings grow! Open a savings account and go deposit that money right now! You are on your way to saving for your dream. People ask how we afford our travels and this is a huge step towards that funding! We were and are very modest with spending in this area. You can do it too! Just save!
Figure out the math and see what your number really is. I would love to hear the honest truth from you. How often to you eat out and what does it cost you? Can you save money?
More on our budget for living in Spain