They're sucking your wallet dry. Here's how to avoid the temptation of eating out and spend your savings on clothes and trips instead.
Going out to eat always sounds fun, especially when it means you don't have to cook. But those $30 and $40 meals add up ... the average American spends $2500 a year on restaurants alone. Gulp. (Plus, does your kid ever even finish a third of his plate? Ours either.)
about what that $2500 could buy: new clothes, nice furniture, even a trip to
Hawaii. And you gotta admit that sounds way better than another trip to
Eat with friends without breaking the bank.
Once a month, have friends over for a potluck dinner. Yes, potluck -- positively retro. Keep things easy and simple for everyone, use paper plates and napkins and insist on no-pressure recipes. You'll get to hang with your pals without spending a lot of money.
Avoid takeout temptation.
You don't want to cook, so you reach for the phone to order pizza. How great would it be if you had some pre-cooked meals in your freezer that you could just pop in the oven instead? When you cook, make a double batch and freeze half to eat later. This will help you avoid the temptation of ordering takeout when you simply don't feel like cooking or don't have the time.
Seek out discounts.
If you are still jonesing for a night out, go to your fave restaurant during the week when specials like Happy Hour and Kids Eat Free nights are on. Look for coupons online and on websites like Restaurant.com. By simply cutting your budget back by just $25 a week, you can save $1,300 per year.
Have date night at home.
Sharing a fancy dinner at home has some serious advantages: you'll spend less on food and you don't have to pay a babysitter. Bonus! Pick something easy up beforehand that doesn't take much time to prepare. Wait til the kids are in bed so you can have an intimate late-night dinner. Break out the tablecloth, candles, and music to make your date night feel like, well, a date. Then you be dessert.
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