Do you have a dining-out budget? And other questions

I’ve been struck that this very LA-centric site has a lot of heavy hitters when it comes to big ticket eating out. All over the world. Also going to the expensive and also ‘trendy’ places. And then I recently saw a comment from someone who said (paraphrasing) “oh, I’ll be broke by then :)” Do you have a budget for eating out? Is it a kinda-sorta thing? Like “oh, I’ve spent too much, need to cut back for a month or two.” Pay off the credit card bill every month? LOL.

Another question is would you rather spend your dining dollars cooking a great meal or eating it in a restaurant for multiples the cost?

Another ? :slight_smile: When you’re traveling for pleasure, is dining your main interest?

I’m not prying into how much you spend but rather do you have any limits? Also I’m not talking about meals you can expense. Inquiring minds :slight_smile:

General budget for trips and dining out: 10% of my after tax income in which half of that goes to paying for my fiancée. So not much at all compared to most FTC’ers.

I tend to spend money on meals that I can’t possibly create on my own even if I have the recipes in front me for one reason or another.

Lastly, I plan all my trips around food since that’s my primary interest which gets me out of the house. It’s essentially a getaway for me…

This is great! And it’s great that you have a budget.

Not being able to create on your own probably talks to so many “sushi” meals.

Re everything planned around food, have you traveled so much that you’ve visited all the great sights?

I really appreciate your reply. I hesitated to post.

Sightseeing isn’t really my thing nor walking under the hot sun. I’m a glutton that either eat or chill at home…

I hate the sun!!! I can spend weeks in Rio and don’t even get a “flip-flop tan.”

Have you been to Barcelona? If not, you’ll sight see and eat your heart out :slight_smile:

No, yes, yes, toss-up, yes.

Come on, kids! Don’t let @moonboy403 and @robert be the only ones to speak up. And if you just never consider cost or if you loathe cooking those are good answers also

No / No / No


No (very important but not always the main interest)

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And once we hit the ‘hot spots’ (non-food) then the food becomes more important.

And when seeing family/friends who either aren’t food focused or are other-type-food-focused…well, that has to be dealt with. I did get my 6 y.o. grand to have a little ‘suck’ on a chicken foot :slight_smile:

When I left my job to go back to school, my income decreased by at least 75%. It was a difficult adjustment, and I spent the first couple years adhering to a strict budget (which meant essentially no meals out). I’ve figured out my budget more in the last few years and, while I can’t dine like I used to, I eat out a few times per week. I have a local restaurant rotation of delicious eats that cost around $15 or less all in.

I don’t cook like I used to either since I only have a kitchenette in my place (hotplate and toaster oven). Even so, most of my food budget is spent on groceries since I eat the majority of my meals at home.

Food is a traveling highlight, but usually more so is the company (friends, family) and overall experience. I’m a record collector and DJ, so I get to travel to perform on occasion. If there’s a record store that carries the genre I collect at my destination, my travel budget goes to records over a splashy meal :grin:

So yes, I have limits but I’ve learned to work within them. Hopefully once I graduate and find gainful employment, I’ll be able to get back to my usual habits :relaxed:


Splurge meal… cup noodles, cup noodles, cup noodles, canned food… cup noodles, cup noodles… Splurge meal… cup noodles, spam, cup noodles, TV Dinner, cup noodles, microwave food, mcdonalds $ menu… del taco, taco truck, Splurge meal…


That’s how I roll. Lower my grocery bills as much as possible and do batch cooking. Splurge. Rinse and repeat!

Sounds like you’ve been doing a superb job. Not running up credit card debt when you likely have plenty of expenses for things you can’t control.

I met my husband over 30 years ago and every single month he pays the credit card bill in full. When the market crashed we lost 40% of the value of the 401(k). We simply stopped spending. Mostly. There were certainly no expensive meals out. No travel for a year and a half. Etc. We didn’t really lose that money cause we didn’t have to sell off and it came all the way back. I’ve learned a lot from that guy :slight_smile:

@Sgee, so you don’t EVER cook? Really? No entertaining at home? I can’t imagine that but to each his own.

@moonboy403, and you do some great looking cooking.

We also have lots of “free” meals. Leftovers, either from eating out or at home. I can make an omelet out of just about anything. Even leftover salad :slight_smile:

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From lunch today we took home a little of the salad and some of the brisket. Will make something from that. Something good…and “free.”

Speaking of, do y’all take home uneaten food?

Absolutely, unless it’s an occasion where it seems particularly inappropriate (like a business dinner). I love eating out and trying multiple dishes but I don’t have the biggest appetite. So I often order with an eye toward what will make good leftovers.

We’re in our 70s and simply don’t eat as much as we used to. So we share everything. And knowing that we’re going to be taking something(s) home with us, we try to eat up those things that won’t reheat as well as others. We’ve even figured that out with dim sum.

I thought of this over last night’s dinner.

Leftover fries from lunch out yesterday. Leftover salad (maybe a cup) and a couple of small pieces of ‘burnt ends’ from BBQ the day before. Aging half an avocado, a little stinky cheese and some creme fraiche (I dipped my fries in that). A ‘free’ feast :slight_smile:

I just read about someone who paid $17 or $18 for a sandwich. We wouldn’t pay that to SHARE a sandwich. Whew. I think Bob’s really going to appreciate that egg salad sandwich I make him for a little road trip next week :slight_smile:

Today’s lunch was leftover from Friday’s at our fave Mexican/Margarita place. Pork burrito with salsa verde, rice and beans and a side order of a chile relleno. Oh yeah and some leftover tortilla chips. I know some of you take home food leftover from eating out. If you don’t, why not?

Russ & Daughters: THE CLASSIC | $18 GASPE NOVA SMOKED SALMON, CREAM CHEESE, TOMATO, ONION, CAPERS. Served with bagel, bialy, shissel rye, or pumpernickel


El Quinto Pino: $16 Uni Panini

Both worth every penny.