Saturday, April 21, 2018

I Don't Fit In with my Non-Frugal Family....Eating Out Edition

The fact that I am much more frugal than my Hubs and kids is always brought home to me when we go out to eat.

I remember when we first moved to this area in 2000.  It was a game changer for us....we finally lived near civilization(stores, doctors, etc.)and had many choices for eating out(old house there was a pizza joint and a Chinese take-out) and that was also about the time Hubs got a big promotion and raise at his work so we had more discretionary income at this point AND more ways to spend it.

One of those ways was to eat out.
One of our favorite places to go for something other than fast food type stuff was Lone Star Steakhouse.  We like a good they had a kids' menu so we didn't have to spend a lot on them when they were younger(and wanted chicken strips anyway over steak).

As soon as the waitress/waiter came to the table the four of them would each order a soda or iced tea.
That's when I'd give each of them the "mom look" look=that look that says "Oh no you didn't!" without opening my mouth.
Hubs would give me a look right back that said "let them order a drink and lay off"!
BTW, I always ordered water(sometimes with a lemon wedge)for my drink.

Then I'd start a discussion at the table about the value of money and the cost of things.  Kids being kids have no clue what things cost unless you talk to them about it.  And even then, they really don't care or have any concept about "money" unless you make it real for them.

Back then a soda ordered at this restaurant was $1.69.
4 x that amount was $6.78 and if I had also ordered a drink other than water that's $8.45 before we even got any food!  The cost of a soda or iced tea at most places here is now $2.69 so over $13 for a family of 5 to order a drink each!!!

That's a whole honking lot of $ for a drink without alcohol and to me, just not frugal, even with free refills because really, who needs to drink 4 or 5 glasses of soda at a time.

You're there to eat a good meal not fill up on sugar water I'd say and then go on to give them the facts about the costs of this meal.
And how this spending would keep us from paying for other birthday money, toys at Christmas(nobody believed in the Santa myth at this point), or their beloved Summer camp weeks.
Yeah I was a real killjoy......lolz

They eventually got the idea that they didn't NEED a soda at every meal out.

But really, when we went out for College Boy's Birthday meal you'd have thought I never tried drilling frugality into them for all those years!
That or they just don't care since we were footing the bill.  ;-)

All 3 of them ordered alcohol!
This is something I NEVER do(unless someone else is paying for it or that's the main point of the night out-drinking)....order alcoholic drinks out.  Alcohol out is just the opposite of frugal!!
And Daughter....not only did she order a drink, she freaking ordered a PUNCH BOWL of alcohol!


And then, after the drinks came, each of them ordered a big ass appetizer....a special roll costing between $8.95 and $11.95 each.
We were up to $50 of spending on just drinks and appetizers and we hadn't even ordered our entreƩ yet!!!

By the time you had consumed all this alcoholic drinks and appetizers who is really still hungry!?!?

Now Hubs after 40 years of being together knows this sort of thing irks me to no end and when we are out alone I can "control" him somewhat.
But he just hid in the crowd that day and let his spending fly!

With tip the birthday meal was $107.60.

So I told them all, "this is why I  don't want to go out to dinner/lunch with any of you if I/Hubs are footing the bill!".
It's like they can't control themselves, any of them.

Here's an adventure we had the end of March.....
I got Hubs a 50% voucher for a new brewery in a tiny town South of us.
The deal was I paid $10 for a voucher worth $20 spending at this brewery.
It's really a tasting room since there is no food available.

We offered to take the two kids too and Daughter went.

We were there for about 1.5 hours.
I had 3 drinks-a reg. sized drink and then 2 tasting size(5 oz.)drinks.  I did drink a bit more than I usually would in this situation but it was by no means excessive.
The cost for my drinks?  $12.50

The cost of Hubs and daughter's bill?  $49.00
And then there was a nice tip to add to our total.

See what I mean?
My family has no self-control. 8-)



  1. I feel the same way about ordering a soda at a restaurant. It is such a waste of money. We treated when we went to visit OD and the bill was over $200 for 6 of us. I talked to the younger 2 before we went and said there will be appetizers shared. But then those over 21 started ordering alcohol(not me). Yes it was still happy hour but $5 for 1 beer is crazy. I can buy a 6 for $8. I prefer not to eat out anyway. When the bill is half of my grocery budget then it really hurts me. Hubby says this is why we are frugal so that we have the money to do things when we want to.

    1. You got me thinking.

  2. I hear ya - NOTHING I do keeps anyone from ordering drinks when we are out except they KNOW I won't pay for any alcohol, but the sodas still add up. Dh is just as guilty as the kids, who, if I may add, have never pulled out their wallet ONCE when we've gone out or even offered to leave the tip....but I'm not bitter!!!

  3. When we eat out our kids know to only order water. When my ds turned 21 a couple weeks ago he did order 1 beer. Your kids aren't young anymore that they don't understand the word no. I wouldn't pay for all that alcohol but I don't drink and mine know better then to pull that crap when out with us.

  4. They do have self control. They do this to irk you. I see the same thing out of my kids and out of my nieces who have a mother who is especially tight. I was frugal because I had to be . She was frugal because she wanted to be be. This is their way if getting a dig in. I cannot see you ever being selfish, nor your children. So let it go. The little creeps I want to smack them myself. You can smack mine for me.

  5. My daughter was the same way until she began to spend her own money on meals out and then her tune changed. I don't like to pay for the price of drinks as I find them too high. $2.69 for a drink is nuts. I'm a water gal all the way. :)

  6. Use to have this same issue when our three sons were at home. Also, they always ordered a "rib eye" unless I thought to tell them ahead of time if this was a rib eye occasion or a burger/chicken strip time. But let's face it, you and I are fruit from a different tree. We are frugal gals! Penny S.

  7. Your family sounds a lot like my daughter and my cousin! My daughter is pretty clueless. And my cousin is of the opinion that she HAS to have special food.

  8. I generally order water if I go out to eat, but that’s mostly due to the calories. I’m usually driving if I go out for a drink so I’m limited to 1 or 2 drinks and a appetizer(depending on how long we plan to stay out).

  9. I'm trhifty, but I just assume if we decide to eat out, folks are going to order what they feel like eating and drinking. Ususally most of us order water anyway because that is what we like with a meal, and none of mine are soda drinkers. If we are out in a bar and grill or a weekend night out, we're going to order beers and the youngest will sometimes get a lemonade, and I just chalk it up to the price of going out.

  10. I think our grandchildren were a problem like this when they were little. They would want a lot of food and a soft drink, and then not finish any of it. As grandparents, we didn't want to be the bad guy. However, they grew up to be understanding people. Maybe there is hope for your family when they learn more the value of thrift as time goes on.

  11. I rarely order soft drinks. Today, I did and neither one of us looked at the price of it! When I saw your number of 2.69 I couldn’t believe it! There will be no more of that from me!
    We haven’t been out as a family in many years, we’re too far apart, or we go with just one instead of all three. We usually make sure the budget can handle it before we even offer. Otherwise, one of us cooks in or we order something delivered.

  12. I think the learning curve kicks in when children leave home and become self reliant. My daughter learned pretty quickly to navigate her budget to forego the price of a drink (soda or alcohol) and spend if necessary the savings on a desired entree.
    Of course, if Mom was paying--then sky is the limit! She learned pretty quick the invitations slowed considerably with that attitude.
    Now she attempts (weakly?) to grab the bill-makes me laugh! ;-)

  13. Voluntary frugality has its place, but not every time is the right time to be frugal. Birthdays are special occasions and should be a reason to be celebrated. I find 107 for a birthday meal with drinks for 4 people (sorry you figure into the average even if you didn't drink) is just under 27 dollars a person, which is a reasonable total for a celebration dinner. You would choke if you saw what Mom spent on one meal during Christmas for 11 of us. Plus she thought is was worth every penny because it was a once in a lifetime thing. Enjoy the experience, know birthday's only come around once a year per person and refuse to pay for drinks all other times.

    1. Broken down like this, I do agree! If it were a weekly event, it would be another story!

  14. I think it is the same for things other than foods. When I sold Cabbage Patch clothes at craft shows, some kids could not make up their mind. Mothers told me that the children were having to spend their own money. Then, the children spending the parents' money tried to go wild with purchases. It happened every time! So, it is not just food where kids are not thoughtful or thrifty is Mom is paying.

    Thankfully, exbf is thrifty and drinks water happily. Well, there is that ONE time I paid for his birthday dinner, and he ordered TEA. Then, he was all hurt that he could not have tea. Well, he did get tea, but I threatened to order tea from now

  15. Oh, and those drinks are as much as 3.79 or 4.29 at most chain restaurants here. ! I could never! Gah!

  16. The memories of everyone enjoying themselves will last a lifetime, relax and let everyone enjoy life once in a while.

  17. I hear you, same with our family, we usually have one drink if hubby and I go out. In early December we go out for a big family meal (in Alberta or I would have cooked it) and I usually have to budget $200 - six adults all with alcohol. But last year we went to a Chinese food restaurant and ordered family style and it came to $130, we will be doing that again lol. I hope I have budgeted enough for eating out in Italy and France on our trip with four adults (two of which eat like horses). Our first stop will be to the grocery store to stock up for Breakfasts though. And I fully intend on making at least one supper meal, likely on May 1 which is labour day in Italy when lots of places close for the day, good excuse to cook supper. Consider that in Canada due to the sin taxes on alcohol a standard glass of wine with dinner in a restaurant costs between $8-15. That is why we don't eat out much

  18. This is honestly really funny because I'm totally the same way! Especially the alcohol part. I mean, I get it, but when you can pay the same for a six pack of bottled micro brew whatever as you pay for one glass at a restaurant. Grrr, just get water! Hubs and I have never been on the same page but he too understands my "looks" and has learned to refrain more often than not.

    $107 for a dinner out (probably semi-normal for some people) but GAH! I think I'd have like a week long anxiety attack after having to pay that bill.

  19. It is my understanding part of the job description of Mother is restraining their protean children and spouse from wandering off/losing orbit and generally going off the cliff to wrack and ruin.

  20. I tend to agree with Travel's comment, but then again, I don't have a million dollars saved for retirement, so what do I know? There's always that question of enjoying life now while you can or saving it for when you'll really need it. As someone once told me, tomorrow is not promised. Life is uncertain, so eat dessert first. Or in this case, have a drink. :-)

  21. Hi Sluggy, this is Chris. Loved this article and the comments also. We do a combination of water, soda, and alcohol when we go out to eat. We don't go out to eat very often, mostly if we don't cook we get some kind of take out/to go. We don't take our kids out very often also, so tell them to get what they want. A lot of the time we just cook something that the birthday person wants for their birthday instead of going out.


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