5 Ways to Keep From Overspending on Your Restaurant Budget

If you could pick one budget area to trim, what would you pick? 

For most people, the answer to that question is easy: restaurants. Going out to eat has a way of burning through money like no other expense.We all have to eat, right? And it’s so convenient, right? So what’s the big deal? 

It all has to do with your budget. If you find yourself overspending and want to trim your budget, take a look at how much you’re spending on going out to eat every month. You’ll probably be surprised. 

Here are a few helpful tips if you’re thinking about cutting back on your restaurant budget:

1. Plan Those Meals

On Sunday, simply plan out all your meals for the week. Then go to the grocery store and get everything you need. Make enough food for a couple of days. Slow cookers are great for that! You can find all kinds of online resources and apps to help you with meal planning. 

Once you find something that works for you, we bet you’ll notice a big improvement in your budget. Cooking at home is almost always less expensive than eating out. 

2. Share the Grill

Unless you’re a chef or you just love to cook, you might not want the responsibility of firing up the grill or the oven every evening. And when only one person has that responsibility, it’s a lot easier to just say, “Forget it. Let’s go grab a burger down the street!” 

Instead of putting it all on one family member, let everybody in on the cooking action. Maybe Dad cooks on Tuesday, Mom cooks on Thursday, and the kids cook on Sunday. The important thing here is that you’re keeping the temptation to eat out as far away as possible.  

3. Use Cash

Try using cash for your restaurant budget for a month and see how it goes. When you use cash, you spend less. There’s something about having that money in your hand that makes you think before you spend. 

When you use cash, we guarantee you’ll be pickier about how you spend it. 

4. Snack Night!

Have a little fun one night and have an “anything goes” dinner at home. Maybe you just eat a bunch of snacks, or maybe you just grab a bunch of random things out of the pantry and make a dinner out of it. Get creative! 

Be reasonable, of course, especially if you have kids. Eating a bag of Hershey’s Kisses might seem awesome at the time. But two hours later? Not so much. 

5. Give Yourself (a Little) Grace

If going out to eat is your thing (because who doesn’t mind a meal made just for you, without any clean up!), then you don’t have to completely give it up. That is, unless you’re in debt—this temporary sacrifice could go a long way.  

Instead, just budget for it. Maybe you set aside a few nights a month for dining out on the town. If it’s in the budget, and if it’s not taking the place of your true needs like the mortgage and power bill, then go for it! 

The more you get creative with your restaurant budget, the better you’ll get at it. We promise. 

Decide how much you want to spend on restaurants and keep track of your spending with your EveryDollar budget. It’s easy to set up, and it lets you know at a glance if you can afford to indulge that sudden craving for take-out pizza!