Good morning Dinks. As you know I am a terrible cook. I eat out quite often, not because I actually like to – although I do – but because I don’t have any other choice. I like eating out because it’s fast and there’s no clean up. I also like eating out because it’s a hell of a lot better than anything I could ever cook.
My terrible cooking skills are not from a lack of trying. I actually really love baking and I wish that transformed into cooking, but unfortunately it has not. About twice a year I make the decision to learn to cook and I vow this will be the time that sticks. However I’m almost 35 years old (in October) and have yet to master the art of culinary creativity.
I’m not saying eating out on a daily basis is a long term solution, but while it is my current situation all I can do is make the best of it. I don’t have any other vices, I don’t drink, smoke, gamble or party hard. Therefore it’s pretty easy for me to fit eating out into my weekly budget. Oh of course then there’s the fact that I’ve mastered the art of eating out on the cheap.
Set a daily budget
I give myself a $10 a day budget for eating out and I very rarely surpass it if I don’t want to. I spend less than $3 on breakfast and I try to spend around $5 on lunch. I usually keep the costs down by bringing a whole bunch of snacks and just buying my main course which could be a sandwich, soup or salad. This keeps my belly full and doesn’t bleed my wallet dry.
Go pick it up yourself
On Saturday nights Nick and I like to order takeout. This is by far our most expensive meal of the week, yet it’s a lot cheaper than actually going to a restaurant. If you order takeout you’re not paying for drinks which there in itself saves a lot of money.
If you go and pick up your food you’re saving on tip and delivery fees. That can add up to a lot of savings. Some restaurants also give discounts at the counter for clients who pick up their meals. Last time I ordered Domino’s I saved $8 by picking it up myself.
Buy meals for two
You know how people tell you to buy your household items in bulk? The exact same thing is true for meals. If getting a combo or appetizer is only a few bucks more you should always add it on to your meal. Even though it will be a little bit more expensive up front the cost between the two meals will be cheaper.
I do this a lot. I like to eat at a salad place that charges $10 for three choices of salad. I eat half one day and then put the other half in the fridge from my lunch the next day. It helps portion control and it’s a big money saver.