Every Day

2024 Restaurant and Take Out Budget

This is an area that we struggle with. Some years we rarely get take out food. Others we get it about 6 times a year. If we do get take out it is usually submarine sandwiches or wraps, Panera Take Two, fish fries, Arby’s, or KFC. These take out purchases occur when I am either sick or just plain worn out. Most meals are cooked in our home. It is so much cheaper to cook at home and tastier too.

This year I will try out the KFC copycat recipe that is here: .

I can make up this recipe ahead, freeze the chicken, and then quickly reheat it when I know that I am not up to cooking.

The fish fries this year have not been as good as other years and they have gotten much costlier. So now that it looks like I can get haddock at around $9. a lb. , I will make our own. Hubby has a great homemade recipe that he uses when we have haddock.

The rest we will get take out for.

Restaurants we only go to a couple of times a year and for the most part it is Russell’s which is one of the best steakhouses in our area. It is very costly but we love the food. It is the best prime meat that I have ever tasted and the service is top notch. It is worth every dollar that we pay. Once in a while, we take family with us. We have some gift certificates that were given to us by our son and DIL for Christmas so that will help defray the cost this year. We always go there for our anniversary. Their menu is here:

Sometimes, we go to a small family owned restaurant in town but that is usually it. We are not big on chain restaurants.

We have decided to set our eating away from home budget at $750. this year.

If you want to save money this year to build an emergency fund or some other goal, this is an area that most people could easily cut. Even with inflation so high, restaurant parking lots seem to always be full. Many would be shocked at what they spend in this category if they tracked every dollar.

Feel free to share in the comments.

10 replies on “2024 Restaurant and Take Out Budget”

I had gotten lazy the last few weeks and we have gone out 2-3 time a week but I am cutting that back to our weekly Friday date night only. We quit going to McD a few months ago, just not worth what they are charging these days. Chris built out 3 restaurants and we pay half price at each of these but one is between work and home so we always go there. I can get an amazing gluten free dairy free pizza that I can eat for several meals very cheaply. But its still 2600/yr that we shouldn’t be spending so we may have to start going every other week…

We are blessed for sure but it still runs us 50-60 a week with the discount. I have set the eating out budget at 2000.00 and created a spreadsheet for tracking. Fingers crossed

Hi Precious, this is an area I am not sure what to do. I am thinking about making a cash budget for eating out and when it is gone, it is gone until the next month. But we are like you and eat most of our meals at home. I am also thinking now that hubby is going to be retired, we can go out for breakfast or lunch vs dinner?

We are like you and your hubby. Since daughter started working for the restaurant group and we tried their restaurants, we don’t like to go to the chain restaurants anymore either. We have quite a few gift cards still for them, the owner is generous to let us buy with daughter’s discount. We definitely go to one of their restaurants on our anniversary.

There are a few fast food type places we like here, but don’t go often. We mostly get carry out and eat at home instead. We like MOD pizza and a place called Bibibop.

I looked at Russell’s menu, and had to laugh b/c the link took me right to the booze section. LOLOL! But I poked around and found the regular menu and it looks fabulous! Reminded me so much of some of the restaurants in daughter’s group. I know we would love Russell’s. When we go out to eat, I usually get seafood and I was particularly interested to see they had crab cakes and Chilean sea bass. YUM! And the menu for 2 looked good too, and a good way to try different things on the menu.

Hi Chris,

Good idea to do breakfast or lunch. That should be much cheaper. We especially love breakfast out a couple to times a year since I make breakfast for family so often. I use cash for groceries but not eating out. We just track it.

We never eat in a fast food place. It is always carry out.

Sorry about the mistake on the Russell’s link. I have had company here this week and I have been very rushed.

Our dining out budget for the year is $3600 (for 4 people). We track all of our expenses, so we have a good sense of how much we spend on all of our budget categories.

We rarely get fast food, although I often get Panera for lunch after a long international flight. And, when I’m super jet lagged, we are more likely to have one of the boys pick up Greek food for dinner here or there. Otherwise, dining out is pretty intentional: date nights for me + DH, birthday meals out, and we often take my parents out when they are visiting.

I think in the last few years, probably since 2020, we’ve gone out to eat five times. The most recently Christmas Eve and we just had appetizers and 1 entree. That bill came to $78 with tip. So.Not.Worth.It.
What we do instead is freeze individual meals. When the time comes and we can’t cook, we reach for our own frozen foods. I do, however, budget for meals out. That’s $10 per month and it covers an occasional coffee. That’s about it.

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