I was looking over my budget for the previous month and something stood out. At first, I thought I made a typo somewhere. Maybe I categorized a purchase incorrectly somewhere along the way. After checking and rechecking and checking a third time, I knew I didn’t make a mistake. The number I saw was correct: I spent over $500 eating out last month.
To some, that number may not seem high. To me though, it is incredibly high. I typically spend around $100 per month eating out. The analyzer in me went right to work.
If I saved $400 each month (the difference between what I spent and what I normally spend) and earned 5%, after 10 years I would have just shy of $63,000 thanks to compound interest.
If the shock of the overspending on eating out wasn’t enough, I then happened to step on the scale in the bathroom. I should have seen it coming, but I didn’t. I was surprised to see that I gained 10 pounds.
Cost of Eating Out
I then really starting thinking about this. Not only did I lose out on saving $400 last month, but my health suffered too. If I continue this trend, not only will I have not saved anything, I will be overweight and consequently, I will most likely have health issues, costing me money. Money that I don’t have because I already spent it on a burger and fries!! Damn you, Five Guys! This is the real cost of eating out.
The point of this post is to get you to really think about your financial transactions. They don’t only hit you in the wallet. They hit you in other areas of life as well. I ask that before you spend your next dollar to think about the consequences of spending the money. I’m not trying to get you to stop spending altogether, but to think about how your spending affects your life and those around you.
When talking specifically about your health and eating out, it is obvious eating out isn’t that good for you. All of the portions are double the size of what a normal portion is. Just look at the graphic below. I bet your next plate out is much bigger than those guidelines.
Added to the jumbo size of everything, there is enough salt in these meals to dry out a lake. Looking at a main course at a popular restaurant, it has the calories coming in at 1,900 and salt at 2,300mg. That’s a whole day’s worth of food for an adult! No wonder were packing on the pounds like there’s no tomorrow.
And don’t think for a minute that the salad and sandwich shops are much better. A half sandwich and cup of soup is the equivalent of two meals when you look at carbs, sodium and fat.
Your best bet is to reduce the amount you eat out. Not only will it keep money in your wallet today, but it will keep money in your wallet in the future as well with fewer health issues.
Just to reiterate, I am not saying to not eat out ever again. I will not cut my dining out expenses to zero simply because I get joy out of going out to eat with my girlfriend. In fact, we use these tips to save money when eating out. If you find pleasure in eating out, then go ahead and eat out. All I am saying is to think about the cost of eating out – and not only in financial terms.
Call to Action
If you don’t have a budget, you need to set one up. With the internet, creating one and maintaining it is extremely easy. I personally use Power Wallet. It’s free and allows me to keep track of my spending and see where I am spending too much. I suggest giving it a try if you want to take control of your finances.