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    The Price of Eating Out: When Food Eats Your Budget, and Builds Your Waistline

    By Sara Richmond Walls     

    After taking a look at our previous month’s expenses, my husband and I determined (much to our shock and dismay) that we spent only $100 less on eating out than we spent on our monthly mortgage payment! We have also struggled to keep off those pesky, unhealthy and unwanted pounds. Coincidence? I think not. Dining out has successfully drained us financially, and plumped us up physically, two things neither my husband nor I are happy about. What to do?

    Take Time for Reflections

    Making sure you have a firm grasp on your past is one of the most essential steps in starting anew. Start by analyzing how much money you spent on dining out in the last month. A week’s look could work, but a month provides a better look of your average dining out expenses.

    Build a Budget

    I know, I know. This is perhaps the last thing you wanted to hear, but building a budget is one of the key elements of spending less, and saving more. Either allow your self a maximum amount of money that you will spend on dining out, or determine a certain number of dining out days per week, such as Tuesdays and Thursdays.

    Evaluating Restaurants

    Now take a look at what restaurants you are frequenting. Are they inexpensive fast food joints? Moderately priced? High-end restaurants? Can you get the nutritious, healthy lunch that you want at a cheaper dining facility? The issue here is balance. Make a list of restaurants where you (and your spouse if you eat lunch together) can eat for under a certain amount. For my husband and I, the amount is $10ish. We have a list of all the restaurants we can eat at for under $10.

    The Nutrition Factor

    Along with pinching at your finances, eating out can also wreak havoc on individuals trying to maintain weight and especially on those who are trying to lose weight. One of the most important things to consider when dining out is that restaurants often give two or three times the amount of food that would qualify as one serving. Be prepared. Consider splitting meals with your spouse. This will spare you change and calories. Even fast food restaurants are offering healthier choices these days.

    Make Time

    Whether you are trying to lose weight or simply keep off the pounds, on of the most important elements is making time to exercise. Do what ever you can to make time for physical activity and guard that time with your life. This will help control the negative physical effects of eating out.

    Written by Sara Richmond WallsRate this article:

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