Has the Economy Changed How & Where You Eat?
Have you been eating differently lately because of the economy?
A friend who works at one of those high-end cookware shops in an upscale neighborhod,says that sales are "going through the roof", Why? Because people have decided they don't want to spend money on/feel they can't afford the small luxuries of a fancy coffee drink or lots of restaurant meals. Instead, they're buying coffee/cappucino makers, slow cookers and waffle makers so they can treat themselves at home.
Has that been your experience?
re: Janet from Richmond
Similar story here. We're not quite empty nesters (the kid just got home from college for the summer), but I work from a home office so gas is irrelevant, and we're in the middle of the city so we can walk to plenty of good restaurants. But we both love to cook so we only eat out about once a week and choose a place based solely on the food, not the cost.
And we already have more than enough kitchen contraptions for everything we like to make.
having my monthly gasoline cost to fuel our suv go from $720/month to $840/month has made us cut back on going out a couple of times a month, and attempt to stick to a weekly grocery budget of around $100. Its a balancing act.
We are using more leftovers for meals during the week, ordering less carryout, spending less on tequila, and not going out for drinks. On the flip side, we still spend as much on our daughter for toys, etc, and I did just buy a new lawn tractor for myself. We are also going for a weeks vacation, to be with family, and eat and drink like kings, next month in Hilton Head, so times are not as bad as the media makes them out to be.
I've heard it's a new fad to be "frugal" and I have heard well-off people using the word to describe themselves lately. Me, I'm putting in a small vegetable garden this year to augment my herb garden (supposedly another fad, hate to be such a sheep!), and find it hard to resist popping in Spanish/Oriental markets and dollar stores to supplement my usual grocery shopping. No new high end appliances, thank God, I have enough of them from the good ol' days.
I went from full-time career work back to part-time retail work last fall so that more than anything else changed our dining out habits. We've cut back to about once every ten days now since we don't have my old income anymore. We also were getting very jaded on dining out so it was actually really easy to cut back. We really don't miss how often we used to eat out at all. Since we don't go out as often as we used to, we are a lot more discriminate about where we go. That's probably been the biggest difference compared to when we were going out 4+ times a week.
Since the first of the year i've been watching the grocery bill more closely...I was never one to really pay attention but with food prices getting so much higher so much faster it's hard not to notice and once you do...well it's easy to start to try and save. I shaved $300 off our grocery bill last month fairly easily by shopping less, choosing more carefully at the store and cooking around what's on sale and what's less expensive. We haven't suffered in terms of taste adn enjoyment at all.
I have to say I also work in a high end cookware shop and our sales have been anything but "through the roof". We did well the last part of last week and over the weekend for mother's day but other than that this year has been very painful. We're in Phoenix though and this area is badly hit by the housing crisis so the shop your friend works in may have different demographics.
I wonder if the people buying the high-end kitchen equipment are actually saving money in the long run, or just buying dust collectors and will be switching back to eating out, etc....
I've definitely made some cuts, number one being meat. Cheaper steaks to marinate instead of extremely expensive and more tender cuts of beef. Whole chickens or less processed chicken instead of boneless, skinless thighs/breasts. Adding more pork, which is a bit cheaper than beef/chicken.
Also, we've taken to eating more economical things like breakfast, sandwiches, and a lot of pasta for dinner (not all at the same time). Thank goodness summer is coming to michigan and the abundance of produce will hopefully drive prices down a little at the farmer's markets.