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The Price of Going out to Eat

I don't want to sound like an old lady here, but when did going out to eat get so expensive? I mean I know it has always been more than cooking at home, but not by this much.

We have significantly cut back going out to eat in our house. In the BK (before kids) days, the husband and I would go out to eat all.the.time. Screw that happy homemaker crap, after work I wanted to eat, drink, and be merry. Hmm, might explain how I put on nearly 20 pounds my first year of marriage. Oops.

After Alex, we cut back going out to eat a lot. We wanted to set good eating habits at home for him and usually restaurants have horrible kids menu options. Time was also a factor and I found it was usually quicker and easier to cook at home than pack us all up and debate over what chain restaurant to eat at next. Now with two kids it is so much easier to eat at home. The key to that is being prepared with a menu, but I'll probably write more on that another time. It isn't worth the hassle, but sometimes momma needs a break and likes to leave the dishes for someone else.

So here is my story that triggered this post. My husband received a gift card to the ever popular Olive Garden for bosses day and we decided to use it this weekend. The lure of their salad always gets me. Anyways, I now split my entrees with my youngest son so I went for the heavier dish of Chicken Parmigiana which came with spaghetti. In the past this has been 2 pieces of chicken breast cutlet and way more pasta than I needed to eat so I knew this would be good to share. Well, my plate shows up with 1 small piece of chicken (obviously frozen) and a small portion of spaghetti. My plate looked like a lunch portion, but this wasn't lunch and it certainly didn't look like I had $15.95 sitting on my plate. My little pork chop baby boy ate the majority of it too and then big brother wanted some. Grumble Grumble. At least they still have all you can eat salad and bread sticks.

I know it was a "free" meal and I was happy for that, but I thought about it deeper. I try to budget $100 for food in our house per week and to know that I spent 15-17% of our weekly budget on one sub-par meal really made me feel bad. I can't figure out why the was restaurant packed with a waiting list with these prices? I don't know how people are doing it.

What are your eating out habits? Do you have a budget or a plan for eating out? Please share.


  1. yes..I don't even really like to go out to eat anymore...too expensive and way too unhealthy..but we have to lighten up a little and it is a treat for the kids...we do breakfast every first friday, after mass and then one every other weekend night we buy a pitcher of cold beer and let the kids pick off the is fun!


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