I have a horrible habit. I like to eat out. A lot. There are a couple reasons for it, really.
- I think that food is a great thing to hang out over. You can get wonderful, meaningful, and deep conversations over wings and pizza or ribs or hoagies (if you don’t know what a hoagie is, go to Subway. That’s a hoagie).
- I live alone. In living alone, I have a really hard time justifying the cooking of a large meal just for me. It’s not that I don’t like to cook! It’s that I don’t like to waste food. So, for me to eat out is for me to get a larger meal than I’m used to.
- I like to get out of the house once in awhile. I stay at home a lot, especially because I work at home, so it’s a good excuse to get away.
So, this year, I made a resolution. I decided that I would only allow myself to eat out three times a month. By the way, I messed that up already and it’s only mid-January. I’ve eaten out 4 times. I realized this yesterday when I was sitting at lunch eating a nice big burger with fries. I looked at my friend and said “You know, I already broke my New Year’s Resolution.” He laughed at me, but explained that he totally understood and that the next time we hang out we should just eat at my house. I agreed, especially because I know for a fact that for me to make us a decent meal would cost as much or less than what one of us paid for our burger and fries.
Did you know that about 37% of an American’s food budget is for eating out? That doesn’t sound like a lot, but consider that a middle-class family’s food budget usually runs about $7,000, that’s almost $2,600 a year on eating out. That’s a lot of cheeseburgers, fries, shakes, and whatever else people eat when they go out.
Why is it so hard to just stay at home and make soup or spaghetti? Is there something about going out that helps create some “atmosphere?” You’d think it would be more comfortable to sit in my cozy apartment and eat the same food (or in some cases, it really is better if you make it yourself). And, more private, for those deep, philosophical conversations that many people engage in at public eateries.
So, I’m going to try again. February is another month (and I can stop going out this month). Think about how much you spend on going out every… month? Week? I know some people who eat out every single day. Not only is that not healthy for your body, it’s not healthy for your wallet either. I calculated that not eating out would save me several hundred dollars a year. I could get a few more grocery trips out of that!