Eating out is more popular than ever but is it a waste of money?

Money (dollar bills) in a Frying Pan to represent the cost of food, eating out, etc. Clipping path included with this file.

I have a mate who once declared: “I earn enough money now that I shouldn’t have to cook for myself anymore”.

No secret, he couldn’t cook much beyond scrambled eggs. It would probably prolong his life if he let others permanently cook for him.

When it comes to me and Mrs DebtMan … the costs of eating out have literally been the subject of a recent, um, “chat” about “priorities”.

We eat out a bit. Not loads. Main problem is that she’s a social animal and has approximately 1.2 million close friends.

Us going out alone? Rare like a “blue” steak. Attempts to set up regular “date nights” quickly flounder, overtaken by work or family commitments, or, simply, mid-week exhaustion.

Even if Masterchef has inspired you to spend up on recipe books, on which you intend getting a return, going out occasionally is a luxury you should make the effort to afford.

But like many Gen X parents, the killer for us is the DebtKids. It’s not the dinner itself, but the combined cost of the meal, plus the babysitter. The longer the meal rolls on, the more expensive that sitter waiting at home becomes. For that after-meal banter, each beer effectively costs you double.

As with everything, it’s about priorities. If you don’t believe you should have to cook for yourself anymore, then you’ll need to find personal budget savings elsewhere.

Our recent “chat” threw up a change of attitude. We have another big financial priority – a renovation. And eating out will have to take a hit in favour of the greater family good.

Bruce Brammall is the principal adviser with Bruce Brammall Financial ( and author of Mortgages Made Easy.


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