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Our first paycheck of the month melted away like ice cream on a Mexican beach. It was not because I failed my no-buy self-induced painful challenge (I will elaborate on this shameful event later this month). There was something else eating away at our paycheck. Quite literary, by the way.
We all know that the most important money management tool is knowing where your money goes. As soon as I noticed that our paycheck was performing a continual disappearing act, I tuned into Mint and took a very close look at our spending.
One particular item in our budget was flashing at me in a bright red color. We budget to dine in restaurants $300 per month. It does not break our budget. It does not harm our savings. Of course it doesn’t hurt us, if we stay within our budget.
Why We Do It
Learning something new. Dining out is not a waste of money. I view dining as a very enjoyable and learning experience. Trying out new foods will not only spoil your palate, but it might educate you on different cultures as well.
Taking A Break. Dining out gives you a great excuse to get a nice break from cooking. You change your routine. You give yourself some nice time off, a short one but a time off nevertheless, away from your kitchen.
Socializing. It can be a social event. You dress up, meet up with your friends you haven’t seen for a while, and relax over a nice dinner and a couple of drinks.
Remembering the experience. We don’t eat out rarely, even though sometimes I think we should. Dining out should be a special experience. Special does not constitute fast food restaurants. We don’t go to Applebees or Chili’s. I refuse to pay money for a microwave heated and preservatives loaded greasy food. We go to a nice (sometimes exquisite) restaurants. If we are paying for experience, it’s better be something worth remembering.
What Americans Spend on Dining Out
This month things got a little bit out of control, and our dining out category turned into a budget buster. We have spent $289 on dining in the first ten days of the month! I guess we got carried away.
Do you know how much on average an American household spends on eating out? I did not know, so I looked into it.
According to Bundle (bundle.com), an on-line consumer spending guide that tracks consumer spending by analyzing credit card transactions, the average American spends $232 a month on dining out. This number made me feel somewhat better. We are not alone! I love Texans because people in Austin spend $525 a month. Either Texans make more money or they just like to eat!
I checked Bundle to see how much money people are spending on dining out in Utah. I was unpleasantly surprised to see that it is only $188. For some reason I expected a little higher figure. After all, we are a part of these statistics.
How much on average do you spend each month on eating out?