Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Reviewing and Budgeting for 2017: Restaurant and Take Out

We are continuing to review our spending for our 2017 budget planning. Hubby and I are crunching the figures for the ten months in 2016 and the past twelve months.

Our restaurant and take out figures for the 10 months in 2016 were $ 1371.20 which averages out to $ 137.12 a month. Our figures for November of 2015 through October of 2016 were $1568.44 for an average of $ 130.70 per month. 

We have come to the conclusion that the amount of money we are spending in this category isn't really that excessive. However that being said, we believe we can do better. So we are setting a monthly budget of $ 100.00 or $ 1200.00 for 2017.

We really don't go out to restaurants that often and when we do, we have a tendency to take family with us and we always pay. So our figures above include more than meals for us.

That being said, the amount of the total that was fast food is much higher than we would like it to be. To be honest, we really don't like fast food with a few exceptions. We love Panera Bread and Subway. With those exceptions, every other time we have gotten fast food we are usually disappointed with how truly bad and unhealthy it is.

So we are going to make a concerted effort in 2017 to stay away from fast food with those two exceptions. I already have two Panera Bread $50.00 gift cards that I paid $ 80.00 for from the Top's Supermarket deal. They will more than likely be used for the Tuesday bagel deals not eating there. However they are paid for and will be an expense in this month's budget not in 2017. I will show them as a gift since we don't buy gifts for each other for Christmas. However we do tend to stock on discounted gift cards for ourselves at this time of the year instead.

The budgeted amount that we don't use in any given month will roll to the next month. So if Hubby and I prefer to go to a finer dining restaurant we can afford those. 

That said we will truly be making an effort to make most of our meals at home. I can make them healthier and I know how clean my kitchen is. 

I am curious. What do you spend on eating out each month? Will you be stocking up on gift card deals? Will you use gift cards from reward points or online earning sites for restaurant gift cards?  Do you plan on cutting back? Please share with all of us in the comments.


  1. I think you are doing great on the budget. Great deal on the gift cards. I need to see if I can find any deals.
    We usually budget $100-125 month on eating out, unless we are on vacation or traveling then it is more. We decided a few months ago, that we wanted to try a new international restaurant each month. I think my favorite so far has been Brazilian where we ate on the opening ceremonies night of the Olympics. I get so tired of cooking sometimes, so I look forward to eating out. I don't know how people can afford to eat out so often.

    1. Hi Kathy,

      Thanks for sharing. I love your idea of trying international restaurants every month. I wish we had some closer to us. I can't afford to eat out a lot or I would not be able to reach my goals.

  2. I do stock up on gift cards. As we don't have many chains here locally(ones that we like)we don't get a wide variety of restaurant cards however. Subway and now and again Burger King. We have a local My Perks program where they offer local eateries(not chains)for 1/2 off deals throughout the year which I will also buy.

    Our Eating Out total through Aug. was $1671.25 for 2016. I haven't updated it for the last 2 months yet but I do have my receipts/records so will get to that when I get a chance. Most months we stay between $50-$200 but we took 2 x 2 weeks vacations this year and the food spending was $415 and $466 for those months.

    Given our income level we don't feel we spend excessively on Eating Out. If we needed to cut spending it would be one of the first categories we'd pare down. We just don't enjoy eating out as much as when we were younger. I guess it's a combination of not feeling like we get good value for the money spent and we don't care to eat in crowded restaurants. I can understand why so many people don't have disposable income when I see the high level of Eating Out that goes on around my county. When I was a kid, Eating Out was special and something that was not done every day. Dining out is so commonplace nowadays that it has lost it's value.

    1. Hi Slugmama,

      You are so lucky to have that local Perks program. I hear you on not feeling that you get good value for your money. I have never liked crowds; me who used to speak to rooms of 250 people. Amazing, huh?

      We went out to eat about once a year when I was a kid. It was a treat.

      Thanks for sharing.

  3. In 2016 so far we have averaged $124mo on restaurant spending for a family of 5. I buy restaurant gift cards to earn fuel points at my grocery store so use those as much as possible. Personally I would like to go out to eat more! We enjoy Panera, Deli subs at Publix, Moe's or Willy's,and Chick-fil-A.

    1. Hi Anonymous,

      You are lucky to be able get those fuel points. We only get them here once in a while and only on purchasing specific cards, most of which we don't use.

      Thanks for sharing how you do it and where you go. I miss Chick-Fil-A. They were a favorite when we lived in AZ.

  4. We budget $25 a month eating out. There are 3 people in my this budget will only afford us usually 1 fast food meal...2 if there are coupons available to use.

    1. Hi mamabeanof4

      You do great with that $25. and making it stretch. Thanks for sharing.

  5. I don't usually budget money for eating out. My husband gets an 'allowance' from each check. If he wants to eat out it comes from that. I tend to grab an apple or nuts when i'm out alone. Once in awhile i'll pay for a meal out which comes from the food budget. My husband likes food out; i feel like it's a waste of money. I do eat out when i/we travel but i do bring as much as i can.