Half Your Eating Out Bills

Financial Work Out Challenge 1: Half your dinner out spending

Eating out is a joy! It’s a fantastic experience. Experiencing new flavours, or new experiences; everyone loves that…other than your wallet.

Half the amount you spend monthly on dinners out, while still eating out

Start:

Start by understanding how much you spend on dinner. 

Download last month’s bank statement; you can normally export the online statement into excel or csv. Alternatively, you can request a paper statement from your bank.

Identify the bank statement line items that relate to dinner;

Point 1: How much did you spend last month on eating out?

Point 2: How many times did you eat out?

Point 3: If you divide the amount you spent by the number of times you ate out, you have your average cost per meal

 

Challenge:

Take point 1. and half it (this new number becomes point 4)

Take this new number (point 4) and divided it by point 3 (this new number becomes point 5)

Point 4 is the amount you can spend on eating out this week

Point 5 is the number of times you can eat out (roughly) to stay in line with the challenge

 

Worked Example

In June I spend £375 on dinner out (point1.)

I went out 12 times (i.e 3 times a week roughly) (point 2)

On average I spend £30 a dinner when I go out (point 3)

 

Challenge: for July

Half this amount is £188 (£375 divided by 2) (point 4)

A typical dinner out will cost me £30 (per the above)

This month I can eat out 6 times (point 5)

 

Problem:

Sounds boring only eating out half the number of times you did... 

 

Solution

Follow the five steps below to still eat the number of dinners out (point 2) but within budget (point 4):

  • Vouchers: Vouchers allow you to try excellent restaurants. Try the following voucher offer companies Groupon, Last Minute and Martins Money Saving Expert.
  • Discount Websites: in a similar vein to the above, but less tedious, try Open Table or 5p.m can be used to find restaurants with discounts. Typically you can get up to 50% off if you book through them. 
  • Mystery Dinner: eat for free, and sometimes paid, in return for a review on the restaurant. This company allows you to perform this experience. This is a great way to sample new restaurants for free, or to even earn an income.
  • Discount Cards: discount cards allow you to become a member of these sites. You get a list of all the restaurants where you can get discounts. The following provide deals: Hi-life, Gastro Card and Taste London
  • When at the restaurant:
    • Skip the alcohol: wine and spirits have hefty mark ups on them! Your liver will thank you. Even soft drinks come with a surcharge; try plain tap water. Your meal is tasty enough; why have a drink as well. 
    • Skip the dessert: Desserts and cheese, similar to alcohol have significant mark ups. Skip them; your waistline will thank you.
    • Go vegetarian: meat usually adds more to a dish. In the Western world we tend to eat too much meat; skip it and stick to the veggies. You’ll feel proud of the environmental effects as well.

 

Track

Every time you eat out, track how much you spend. 

If you see you are coming close to point 4 (the challenge spending amount), think how you can still eat out but at half the cost. Alternatively, cook at home

Photo from the beautiful unsplash.com

Wee Scot Finance