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The Joy Of Eating Out

Donnie took over the management of our budget and finances two years ago because I suck at it. I won’t bore you with the details about HOW I suck at it, but suffice it to say that Donnie is MUCH BETTER and we are better for it.

We use this tool called “You Need A Budget” which is basically just a spreadsheet, which is what we needed (we tried things like Mint but it just wasn’t a right fit), and we have very specific line-items we’ve been fine-tuning. For example, we started with a “Sports” line item but it was including race fees and bike gear and kid’s registration fees so it didn’t give us a good view of where we spent what money so NOW we have separate line items: Race Fees, Gear, Kid’s Sports Registrations, Coaching.

(For the record, we think we spend about $2400 annually on race fees. It’s hard to pinpoint because we didn’t keep it split for awhile, but based on our estimates, that’s about right. THIS IS WHY WE ONLY TAKE REAL VACATIONS ONCE EVERY FIVE YEARS. Our athletic endeavors are not cheap.) I guess that is why people, when they get older, really do benefit from an equity release in order to afford vacations much more regularly.

One of the line items is for eating out. It’s one of the ones (along with Cable) that we reduced dramatically back in the “cutting back” portion of reorganizing our finances. And we didn’t eat out a lot, but it was more than we needed, we knew. So now we basically have enough for one dinner out a week and we always go to the same place on Saturday nights.

Unfortunately, not everyone else in the world is on the same “eating out” schedule and budget and sometimes we find ourselves eating out more often. This happened this month. I took E to lunch one day when he was in town. The kids and I went to lunch after a parade. The whole family met the extended family for lunch. So…Saturday rolled around yesterday and BAM! We really didn’t have the budget to eat out. And we had to make the tough decision to stay in.

Since I took most of the blame for using our budget, I offered to cook but Donnie then wanted to do things a bit differently so I handed the reigns over to him and while we were eating and I was thinking, I don’t really miss eating out tonight as much as I thought I would… I realized why I love eating out.

BECAUSE I DON’T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING.

So, it turns out that – while I truly love the food at Anaheim Chili (our Saturday Go To) – it’s the fact that I can just sit there and someone brings me good food and beer and cleans up after me, THAT is what I love the most about eating out. So, a night at home with my husband doing the cooking? Was almost as good. The only reason why it wasn’t “as good” was because I did feel obligated to clean up afterwards. You know…because he did cook and that’s fair.

I’m happy we have the freedom in our budget to have one night we eat out a week (and Anaheim Chili is not that pricey, it’s mainly the good beer we enjoy that makes it costly) – it is also REALLY nice to have a husband who will sometimes cook for you too.

If we had to cut back our budget that one night a week would be the last thing to go. I do really just love the act of going somewhere to be fed. There are so many places that I love going to. My friends even recommend a load of places that I should try (the most recent place was the Barrel and Stone Pizza Restaurant, but I’ve just got to find the time for it first). Once having Donnie do the cooking was okay, but only because I know in December we’ll be back on track. I’m not sure I could give up those nights indefinitely unless we were permanently cash-strapped. Thank goodness we are not!

What is the one thing in your budget you’d be the most reluctant to give up if finances got tighter?

4 thoughts on “The Joy Of Eating Out”

  1. Oh, I know this feeling well! We had a (big) wedding and a baby in 2013, so 2014 is all about cutting back and paying off debt. We almost never go out, as much as I would absolutely love to. My husband was given a gift card for a burger joint in the area as a thank you for some side work and because of that card we’ve eaten out twice and every time it feels like an indulgence.

  2. The last thing I would give up? My housekeepers. They come every other week, and it is SO NICE to have scrubbing toilets, mopping, etc., off my to-do list. I would happily give up all meals out if it meant that I could keep my cleaning ladies.

  3. Races. Training is all fun and stuff but races are when you see all your race friends, enjoy the atmosphere, and have good times before, during, and after.

  4. Our lawn company, which is sort of surprising but definitely what came to mind. I do our gardening, hedge trimming and moderate work. My husband does the heavy lifting like tree trimming. But, I am really unwilling (and somewhat unable) to mow, weedwhack and edge our large yard. After a couple of years of waiting on my husband to have time and then realizing it was a huge factor in his constant sinus infections, we hired someone to do those basics. It’s pretty cost effective, since I prefer to do most of the work myself, but so worth it to me.

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