Thursday, December 3, 2015

The Other Side of the Food Budget

While I budgeted $300 for food/toiletries spending in November there is the "other" food spending every month.

The Eating Out spending.
Except for what Hubs spends at work on lunches(which he pays for out of his WAM=Walking Around Money)this amount includes all ready made foods/drinks from convenience store snacks/drinks to take-out foods to restaurant meals.

I like to keep it at $100 per month or less, unless we are taking a trip(s).  Trips always involve eating out spending(unless someone else is feeding us and that doesn't happen often).

In November we spent $79.90 on regular Eating Out and $33.00 Eating Out while on a trip.  Picking up College Boy last month meant an overnight stay in his college town and we took him out for dinner.
Luckily this trip was only a few hours so we left after lunch and the motel included breakfast in our room charge so there was only 1 meal out while away from home for all of November.

Combined total for Eating Out in November came to $112.90.  Below target for the regular Eating Out but a bit over with the trip meal.

I have a tab HERE where I have been tracking out Eating Out in 2015.
We are up to $2859.47 spent on this category so far for the year.

You can clearly see by looking at the monthly subtotals when we made trips this year.
Dang we were gone a LOT, weren't we? lolz

Keeping it under $3K for 2015 will be tight as we are off again on a short trip later this month so there will be more money spent on meals away from home.  I'll be lucky if we stay under $500 in December for trip meals.

I read that in 2012, the average American spent 4.5% of their income per year on meals away from home.  That seems like a LOT of money to me as a percentage of income to be spending on eating out.  I feel better that we are WAY under that for our income level.
I feel that if you aren't neglecting putting enough $ toward other categories of spending which are more of a priority in life(like rent/mortgage, utilities, retirement savings, etc.)then it's aok to spending on eating out if that gives you pleasure.

There's an interesting article HERE on Bloomberg Business online about how earlier this year Americans' spending on eating out surpassed their spending at the grocery store for the first time since this sort of thing has been tracked.

They hint that this new normal in spending can be chalked up to the Millennial Generation and how they spend compared to how Boomers and Gen Xers have spent.  Millennials appear to be freer with their cash on categories like cell phones, car purchases, clothing and eating out.  They also pay a larger proportion of their income to rent/mortgage as well.  It seems that they may have more uncommitted cash than Boomers especially if they are NOT saving-for home purchases, emergency funds or for retirement.  Typically 25-34 year olds aren't as "into" saving mode yet for the biggies in life nor do they have the burden of supporting children.

Do you track your Eating Out spending and/or do you budget for it?



  1. I don't track it, I don't budget, I don't do it. Exbf pays for almost meals out or value burgers. I think he would like for me to take him out on his birthday next. I will let him.

    I did get a burger from the dollar menu, but being allergic to beef has radically my snacking when out.

    Oh. I forgot. I do go once each month to KFC and spend exactly $5 and bring home my hens' dinner for the next day.

  2. We try to keep our eating out to under $100 monthly. The reason its so low is that we have kids and its usually easier to eat at home or at a friends house. I do tend to splurge a bit more at the store for special occasions on meals that we used to eat out like seafood. Plus all of our friends have kids so its way easier to get together at somebody's baby proof house than go out. Some day my life might not revolve completely around my kids :)


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