UNITED STATES—For most Americans the thought of going out to eat or as some people call it: dining out, is not cheap. Many of us consider it a luxury to do such a thing, but with the rising costs of food, goods and services as a result of inflation you sometimes have to ask yourself rather eating out is worth it. I think for most Americans we do it as a way to treat ourselves. We’ve had a long work week, and as a result, we just don’t want to cook this week.

However, I went out to eat last week and I was stunned with the bill. For a family of five it costs $80. That is about $15 per person. So imagine if I had taken that money and spent it at the grocery store. I would have probably gotten a decent amount of food and had meals for a few days during the week versus just a single outing. I think the restaurant my family ate at was affordable, but I guess I hadn’t truly examined the pricing on the menu before placing orders.

That is a great question, when you get the menu are you looking at the price of the item you select or the actual item itself. Yeah, I think most of us are looking at the food item, not the price. The $80 was the cost of food, that doesn’t include the 15 to 20 percent tip, so that’s about $100. Now imagine if you’re eating out 2 to 3 times per week, that is about $200 to $300. That is a lot of money America, especially during a time when prices are on the rise and people who were making extra, are actually shelling it out a lot more TODAY than a year or two ago.

So does it suit one to still eat out? I guess it depends on rather your budget can afford it or not. If you can afford to eat out 1-2 times a week you’re still going to do it, regardless of what the costs is. On the flipside, if you were used to eating out 1-2 times a week before the pandemic and the rise in food costs, you might be cutting that back completely or just doing it once or twice a month instead of 4-6 times a month. You’re weighing the options as it relates to your budget. Can you afford to eat out or is it more suitable for your to spend those funds on actual groceries that you can ensure lasts the entire week?

Dining out is great, but in many cases its not like you’re getting your money’s worth at all times people. Some places the portion size and the price you pay is NOT worth it. At other places you pay a decent amount for the food and you receive a decent portion size as a result America. I think that is WHAT ALL AMERICANS WANT! We want to dine out, have a great meal and still have some leftover to take home and eat later. You’re not going to see that often at many restaurant chains unless you’re ordering multiple items and having a taste hear and a taste there of multiple items.

I will make the point that I did dine out about a month ago at an establishment that had fantastic service, great good, great portion sizes and it was not a stickler on my budget. That is indeed a rarity America, but when you find a great restaurant that delivers you will return over and over again, but at the same time you don’t want to make it a habit where you spend countless bucks and not turning back. Think again though, because if you actually calculate WHAT you’re spending it will indeed make you say, damn, I’m spending too much and I need to cut back significantly to ensure I’m not overspending. That is very easy to do when you dine out people.

Dining out is a treat, we should be allowed to do it, but don’t be afraid to shop around. You don’t have to go to the most expensive restaurant to feel special, it is sometimes those hidden gems that surprise you in ways that you never imagined and they don’t’ take a huge bite out of your budget people.

Written By Zoe Mitchell