It’s always fun to go out to your favorite restaurant with co-workers to do a little bit of bonding. And who can argue about how picking up some take-out food is the easiest option on extremely busy days? Heck, even joining some friends for drinks out at the local restaurant can be a great way to relieve stress.
All of this dining out, though, is sure to increase your spending every month – not to mention your overall caloric intake… Many people wind up in debt – and even stuck with bad credit scores – simply because they eat out a bit too much. It’s hard to curb this habit, though, as dining out has become a staple of modern day living.
An article from Forbes that was published back in 2013 reported that Americans usually spend about one thousand dollars a year on eating out for lunch alone. To understand those numbers, it would mean eating out just twice a week and spending about ten bucks a pop at each of those lunches. And that statistic is just an average, as many people dine out for lunch every work day.
Rasmussen Reports published findings in 2013 that revealed that 58 percent of Americans dined out at a restaurant at least once a week, and that 14 percent dined out two or three times every week. This behavior, whether it is caused by burning the candle at both ends, being lazy or wanting to socialize a little bit, can put a serious dent on your finances.
The cost of a restaurant bill can quickly go up if you tack on a few adult beverages with those restaurant meals. And if you eat at a sit-down type of restaurant you also have to figure in a generous tip to your overall bill. The bottom line is that eating out on a regular basis can easily cause most Americans to live beyond their financial means. This puts unneeded expenses on credit cards. Over time, people even wind up going over their credit limit, unable to pay their bills on time. This leads to lower credit scores in no time.
Eating out isn’t just bad for your personal finances
A report from the University of Rochester Medical Center shows that “Frequently eating foods prepared away from home is associated with obesity, higher body fat and a higher BMI.” This little medical fact can lead to additional medical/well-being expenses that can further stress your budget.
In addition to all of this, there is a definite link between eating fast food and consuming too many calories, while eating fewer fruits and vegetables. And when you factor in the portion sizes at most restaurants, you can certainly understand how easy it is to over indulge when you dine out.
Now is the time to put a stop to this type of financial behavior. Put the credit cards away and stop eating out all the time. If you must use plastic to pay for meals, you may want to use a prepaid debit card or to make sure that you never charge more than you can pay back when that month’s credit card bill comes due.
If you eat out to socialize a bit, it may be a good idea to instead invite friends over to your home for a pot luck dinner. That way, everyone can bring a dish and the cost of eating can be spread out evenly between all the people who attend.
Regardless of how you choose to do it, now is the time to get your finances under control, and stopping the habit of dining out on a regular basis is a great way to curb unnecessary expenses before they spiral out of control and wreak havoc on your credit score.