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Do Restaurants Suffer During a Recession?

Are Meals Out a No-No When You're Trying to Save?

We're all aware that eating out can be a serious drain on your wallet, and I'm not here to lecture you on where you should budget your money. If you love eating out but manage to save as much as possible by cutting expenses in other areas of your life, so be it!

The New York Times published a brief, inconclusive article on the prospect of restaurants suffering more during a recession. The article stated that "restaurant traffic does not always fall during a recession" — mind-blowing information, I know. But it got me thinking, with the ongoing conversation of a possible recession and the instinctual response to save more, is eating out one of the first things to go? Or are meals out similar to the "lipstick indicator," which replaces more expensive indulgences with lipstick, or in this case, ordering from a menu?


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chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
I've cut back, that's for sure! But when making my budget, I added room for eating out once a week... it's a social thing for me, and a lot easier than somebody trying to cook for everyone, with our schedules!
JaimeLeah526 JaimeLeah526 9 years
That is the first thing to go when I have to save money.
bingkaycoy bingkaycoy 9 years
Definitely...eating out and shopping for something I don't NEED are literally a no-no all the time for me. The only time we eat out are on special occasions such as anniversaries and birthdays.
Brendelwoman Brendelwoman 9 years
About 3 months ago I decided that my family and I go out to eat too much and it wouldn't hurt us to stop doing it for 2 months. My husband was on board. We have two kids (now 3 but she is nursing) and the typical meal cost us between $20 and $30 with tip. We were going out about twice (probably more!) on the weekend. Essentially we were going out a lot!! When we looked at the savings the first month there was an extra $500. That is an incredible amount of money to spend on eating out. We now no longer spend our weekends going from restaurant to restaurant. I think it will be better for my kids, too. I grew up with a single mom who didn't cook so a lot of our meals were restaurant meals. That's where I learned it and now I'm hoping to teach my kids that eating should primarily be done at home. And I feel much more in control of my money, too.
fuzzles fuzzles 9 years
I agree with misswills about knowing what is in your food, and also about being confident in how your food is being handled. I love to cook, though, and I can usually turn out dishes that are as good or better than most restaurants. So for me, dining out is maybe a once or twice a month event to be shared with friends.
LaLaLaurie06 LaLaLaurie06 9 years
My bf and I enjoy going out to cheaper places like local diners and IHOP if we have coupons or gift cards. Sometimes, eating out has to be done like if we are away from home all day long.
randomname12345 randomname12345 9 years
I've chosen to stop eating out for economic reasons and for health reasons. You never really know what someone else is putting in your food, so I stick to making my own.
Abbigail Abbigail 9 years
I've stopped shopping for clothes, so I tend to eat out a little more. However, I've noticed that eating out is about as cheap as cooking for myself. It all equals out.
insanitypepper insanitypepper 9 years
I think I ate out more often when I made less money, but I definitely spend a lot more on groceries now. I also went out to bars more back then, and now I buy pricey bottles of wine to enjoy at home.
Marci Marci 9 years
I don't believe in totally depriving myself when I'm saving. I just cut back and go out less often. But I still need a reward system here and there for working hard.
angelfromlsu angelfromlsu 9 years
My boyfriend loves to cook but we eat out once every 2 weeks.
Stacey-Cakes Stacey-Cakes 9 years
It's one of the first things i cut out if i'm trying to reduce expenses, but luckily my boyfriend is chef so i still get yummy gourmet meals...
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
Jude C, I am hella jealous... sushi is so expensive here. :*( My other major savings-failing is online shopping... if I'm slow at work, helllllooo urbanoutfitters!
tiff58 tiff58 9 years
My fiance and I still go out to eat once or twice a week, but I don't really go shopping, and we also both pack our lunches. We could still cut back more, but then we would just be in our house all of the time!
hmcmcd hmcmcd 9 years
I try to cook more at home and maybe splurge on one of our favorite nice restaurants once or twice a month. I would rather go out w/ friends on the weekend than eat out every night. Also cut back on clothes shopping, I really try to just avoid the mall, b/c I know if I see a pair of shoes on sale, i just can't stop myslef!
MandyJoBo MandyJoBo 9 years
We never cook so we are always eating out. I also buy prepared gourmet meals for lunches & breakfasts that come to my door frozen, and that adds up as well. If we needed to save, we'd save hundreds of dollars a month by cooking & eating at home, but going out to eat is a form of entertainment. We're so used to do it for the past five years or so, that I don't know what we'd do every night. Even so, if I had to give something up, eating out would be the first to go!
beingtazim beingtazim 9 years
i don't go out to eat often and haven't since january, since i am trying to get serious about saving money. i haven't been buying much either, though.
gabiushka gabiushka 9 years
Hm I eat out at cheap places 1 or 2 times a week. Dont shop a lot though, and have a ton of savings.
bengalspice bengalspice 9 years
Shopping for cloths is the first to go, then drinking, then activities, and lastly eating out. I'm always too tired to cook for just one. Maybe if my boyfriend and I lived together I would cook more and eat out less.
Jude-C Jude-C 9 years
That's my problem as well, mondaymoos :) I'm lucky to have a decent sushi joint just down the street that has a fantastic 1/2 off happy hour every weekday.
mondaymoos mondaymoos 9 years
eh... i couldn't live without sushi. :(
ktownpolarbear ktownpolarbear 9 years
i eat out A LOT, but i'm still trying to save. basically i try to make meals out into at least 2, sometimes 3 meals. or i'll buy the family size combos and stretch it over 2-4 days worth of meals.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
we rarely go out to eat because of the expense. I have learned to make most of our "cant live without them" restaurant specialities at home and way cheaper. I just mastered my favorite Thai Places Red Curry shrimp.
melizzle melizzle 9 years
It's a great way to save, but it's important to treat yourself every once and a while.
bellaressa bellaressa 9 years
I have been bringing my lunch everyday and refrain from shopping while trying to pay off bills. I try to treat myself to a meal on Friday, very inexpensive but yummy.
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