This post originally appeared on March 14, 2008. I was getting ready to go on vacation and was thinking about all the delicious take-out I was going to eat while in the United States. But beyond that, eating out remains our biggest budget buster, and a challenge that we haven’t yet managed to completely conquer. You can read part 2 here and part 3 here.
I’ve been thinking a lot about eating out lately. One reason, of course, is that I’ve been thinking about all the yummy food I’m going to eat on our vacation. But it’s also something that’s been increasingly on my mind since the great ‘All Meals At Home, All The Time, Huge Pile Of Dishes’ experiment.
Like any budget, ours is divided into two categories: ‘fixed’ and ‘variable’. The fixed expenses are things like rent, electricity, insurance and minimum debts payments, and it is at least â‚¬1822.85. I say ‘at least’ because I’ve included things like the phone and the nanny in this category; we pay a minimum for both these (very essential) services but sometimes pay more. That’s roughly 60% of our income- without even thinking about variables, otherwise known as little luxuries like food and gas.
Of course not all of the ‘variable’ category goes to food and gas. It includes things like clothes, oil changes and of course eating out. When the budget gets tight, eating out is the first thing to get going.
There’s a limit to how much I can take however. I found myself getting frustrated in two different ways last month. First was the frustration of having to think of, prepare, serve and clean up after three meals a day, for five. I felt like the only thing I was doing with my time was related to food, in one way or another. The second thing that frustrated me was feeling like I never got a treat. I enjoy eating out, even though the places we go have largely been limited to those with plastic playgrounds for the past five years. Having every meal be something I cooked- well that’s a lot like drudgery, as much as I enjoy cooking.
This is the first in a two part series. Stay tuned (or subscribed) next week for part two. And if you’re looking for another (great) post on the subject, check out Paid Twice’s recent post.