How to Save Money! – Tip # 1 “Limit Eating Out”

save money tip #1So 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!

  1. 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.
  2. 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?
  3. 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

Check out our other money saving tips!

  1. Tip – It’s All About Your Mindset 
  2. Tip – Limit Warehouse Shopping 
  3. Tip – Cut Your Food Waste
  4. Tip – Brand Names
  5. Tip – Saving Money While On Vacation
This entry was posted in Finances, Tips and Tricks and tagged , , by Heidi. Bookmark the permalink.

About Heidi

Heidi has a passion for travel and has been exploring the world with her husband and 2 kids, since August 2012. She's visited more than 50 countries and loves to write about their family adventures, mishaps and costs. She has been an inspiration to others wanting to live their dreams. Her travel tips, planning posts, cost breakdowns, accommodation, and product reviews are also very popular. Her current home base is in Spain. Any post on this site may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase, there is no extra cost for you and we may receive a commission.

10 thoughts on “How to Save Money! – Tip # 1 “Limit Eating Out”

  1. Hi Heidi! Yes, in fact I just did a blog post on the differences between Spain and Canada and one thing I did mention was how much easier it is to save money in Canada than it is in Spain, because in Canada you have coupons and lots of second-hand options, which you don’t have here. They don’t normally serve tap water here either, but I’ve never had any problems getting glasses “for the kids” (and one for the mamma too haha). (Make your kids hang their tongues out and look like they’re about to keel over and just watch how fast the glasses of tap water materialize hehe!)

    • Thanks Serena! I will have to try that. I just told the kids about aqua del grifo and they said “ya mom, that is faucet water”, I guess we haven’t been asking for the correct thing.

      We have some clothes the kids have out grown, looming about in the back of the car because I can’t figure out where to donate them. Second hand is hard to find.

      • Hi Heidi! Haven’t had time to stop by my blog and answer your comment there, but I would most certainly LOVE it if you put up a link to my blog, by all means! Thank you SOOO much!

  2. Hi, Heidi!

    Brenda and I have, for years, bypassed the beverage with dinner out, opting for water instead. Each soda or tea or such would cost close to $3 + tax + tip. This keeps our dinner bill down by close to $8. We also take advantage of coupons, as you mentioned, nearly all the time.

    Speaking of coupons, am I correct in thinking that coupons aren’t used as much in Spain as they are here?

    As always, we enjoy your blog.

    Stephen & Brenda

    • Hi Stephen and Brenda! So glad to hear from you and love, love, love the extra savings tips! Thanks so much for adding to the post. As far as coupons in Spain, you got me there. I don’t think they do use any or at least I don’t see any to use. I wish they did, maybe we would eat our a little more often. We eat out about once every 2 weeks, unless we are “on the road”. Then we save our “eat out” time for our next trip, like the one we have coming up in 2 days! We are heading to Cadiz and will be in a hotel, so that will require the eat out option. Thanks for your comments. Say hello to Brenda and come on back to give your 2 cents any time. 🙂

      • I forgot to mention… here is Spain they don’t serve tap water when eating out. You need to pay for bottled water. So sometimes it is cheaper to get a 1.5L bottle for the entire family to share. If if were just adults, it would probably be cheaper to get a “tubo” glass of beer, or “vino” wine.

  3. I have always been a “budget” person, mostly out of necessity…especially when my kids were small and even more so after John passed away. It is amazing when you get in the habit of saving …… that it stays a habit. Just wish all the young people would make sure they pay for their necessities first (housing, food, health, etc.) and then get the extras that they might want. Even when we travel, we have all the money saved for the trip before we go and we never pay interest on any credit card. When I was young, we would have to pay interest on some things, but it sure wasn’t at a rate that is charged now. I feel sorry for the young people in modern time having to pay so much for the needed things, such as gas, rent, etc.. I really don’t know what the answer might be…. but your “hints” sure would go a long way in helping. Love you and miss you!

    • That is great Judy. Yes, I have always been a bit frugal too. I just don’t like waste. It is amazing how little one needs once you “trim the fat” on excess spending. I hope this helps someone somewhere. 🙂 Thanks for commenting and being a fantastic fan!

  4. Hmm, I am sure that you gave some very good “food for thought” here, Heidi. Add in a few drinks to your estimated budget and the costs would be much higher. I am going to recommend this article to a few people I know who are always wondering why they are so broke.

    • Thanks Judy. Yes, I know I was very conservative and I am certain people spend more. I just wanted to plant the seed. It is crazy how money can just go “poof” and it is gone. When we really think about how much we spend “on the fly” without thinking or we rationalize “just this once”.. it all adds up. I have more to come. When I was creating an article on money saving, it turned into several pages. I decided it is best to break it up and focus on one thing at a time, so people can take those baby steps to save.

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