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Nov 17, 2008 05:15 PM

Have you cut back on restaurant meals with this economy?

We most definitely have. We used to eat in restaurants up to three nights a week; these days, we allow ourselves just once. Just cannot afford it now.

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  1. I sure have. Been cooking at home a lot more, but the new TJ's across from the Whole Foods in Montgomeryville is easing the pain for now. I am worried about some of my favorite eateries in the area though. I hope they survive this slow time.

    1. We usually go out to dinner on Saturday nights, but I really haven't felt like spending the money on us. I've felt better when we've donated the money that we would have spent on dinner to an organization that is dear to us. I've felt like they needed the money more then we've needed the meal. However, this weekend we were at a wedding in New Orleans. We were on our own for two lunches and really enjoyed having amazing meals AND tipping generously. The economy is really hurting there and we felt good about spending our money AND enjoying amazing food. Everyone we met said something to the effect of thank you for coming to New Orleans.

      1 Reply
      1. re: DaisyM

        we keep our dining out experiences to a minimum, these days. I only go on Weekends, Saturday and Sunday, and usually for lunch, before 3. I am a comfort food kind of guy and having diner food, i.e. Country Club Diner, on a Saturday afternoon, works out well. Usually less that $20.00 for two. Rarely are my bills over $35.00, although on our visit recently to Cheese Cake Factory, it was over $40.00 for both of us, lunch of course. To me, that's splurging. I know many of you visit fine dining establishments in and around the city, so apologies in advance. I do have my eye on Distrito, however, that may take a special occassion...

        1. Not really....we still eat out 3-4x week for dinner on average. I have lunch out about twice a week and Dh five days a week. One thing I have noticed is that the "festive" atmosphere of many places has diminished significantly and getting reservation is easier and vocal appreciation from places is on the rise. So far, we have been fortunate in that our income has not diminished (and in Dh's case has increased) thus far, but we are being more thoughtful in our spending, even if we are spending as much as ever.

          11 Replies
          1. re: Janet from Richmond

            I'm pretty much with you on this. Unless you've lost your job or (God forbid, living off your 401K), I'm not sure why you would cut back. Last Sat. night we went out to a popular local place and it was mobbed by 7 p.m. I commented to our waiter that it must be the great economy...

            1. re: bnemes3343

              The cutbacks are more visible during the week and the weekend.

              And frugality is in order even if one hasn't lost one's job or is living off savings. The $ add up quickly, and it's prudent in uncertain times. This will dawn on increasing numbers of people in the hard months and possibly years that are coming.

              1. re: bnemes3343

                I don't know how things are looking in your part of the world, but I find everything is costing a lot more. Flour alone has gone up by almost 100% in the last year, eggs by 50%, and meat by about 50% too. Fuel is certainly more expensive, and my rent's gone up by 10%. So even though I'm earning the same, everything else is costing more, which means... eating out and eating meat have gone down a bit in our household. So I don't think it's as simple as - you either still have your job or you've lost your job.

                1. re: Gooseberry

                  I have to agree with you on this. Two years ago, my grocery bill was about $50 a week and now it's up to $70 buying essentially the same items I bought two years ago. I used to go out for lunch a lot more often and now I just go home. Now I go out to try a specific restaurant, but considering where I live, that isn't very often.

                  1. re: queencru

                    I'm starting to see things come down. I saw a gallon of milk for $2.99 yesterday. I think we will see food prices comes down along with gas and everything else (hopefully not TOO low, that's not a good thing).

                    1. re: southernitalian

                      Personally, I never saw milk go over $2.39 at Aldi's and many of the local markets now have milk under $2/ gallon.

                      1. re: jlawrence01

                        Well, not all places will price milk to make money. (Used very often as a loss leader, or the dairy supplier cuts a deal to date move his stock)

                        Milk today ranged from $2.89 to $4.29 a gallon.

                        1. re: RShea78

                          If you are serious about reducing your food costs, you take advantage of the marketplace. You take advantage of the promotional prices at retailers who price that way. You take advantage of the EDLP retailers for the rest of your spend.

                          Another reason for the low price on the milk is that the dairies the retailers use are local. I am sure that if I went to Costco or TJs, I could spend more on milk that has been trucked across the country.

                          1. re: jlawrence01

                            I'm a huge Everyday Low Price person myself. I'm sure my grocery prices would be even more than $20 higher if I didn't do this, because most weeks I save at least $5, sometimes $10+ by buying items that are on sale. Just out of principle, I don't usually shop at places that require me to have a card for savings. I don't know what it is about that, but it really annoys me. At some places there are still ELDP savings in addition to the card, but I used to shop at one place that would price items roughly 100% higher for people without the card. Talk about ridiculous!

                            1. re: jlawrence01

                              EDLP unfortunately is a gimmick in my neck of the woods. Need I say, Walmart?

                              Although I have complained to several retailers go with "ads online", we are forced into getting ads from the local paper or be creative and pass word of mouth.

                              Milk pricing is a fiasco. Convenience stores and Pharmacies (like CVS) generally have the better deals, because they do not accept public assistance (FS) Stores I believe hedge to those on public assistance, when pricing seems best the last 2 weeks of the month.

                              Anyway, my system is working, as I knock on wood.

                          2. re: jlawrence01

                            In California, dairy cannot be priced below certain amounts.

                2. As we are pretty particular about restaurants, we don't dine out often. But when we do, we go to very good local restaurants (like Spring Mill Cafe, George's...). So the economy has not stopped us from going out to dinner.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: jarona

                    I have cut back & think twice before suggesting to my hubby that we go out for dinner. Before, if I just didn't feel like cooking when I came home from work, I'd drop the hint to go out. No so much any more.

                    I am making a conscious effort to eat through the stuff already in my freezer instead of just going out & picking up something else to make for dinner. I have tons of stuff in there that I just forgot about. My hubby refers to those dinners as "freezer surprise". I'm also making an effort to cook big batches of stuff like soup, chili, spaghetti sauce on weekends & putting it in the "freezer bank" for withdrawal later -- I just have to remind myself to defrost.

                    I'm cutting back on buying lunch at work as well, as much because it's packing on the poundage, but also because I'm thinking twice about where I spend my $$.

                    1. re: PattiCakes

                      I love my freezer bank too Patti! A coupla weeks ago I made an obscene amount of lasagna and so for dinner last night I was able to just pull out a glass pan of the stuff to defrost a bit. I was so tired I crashed on the couch for a bit, then I could just nuke up slices. Homemade, really good, ready instantly. Felt like I beat the system some how. And TJs helps when my bank is depleted with easy meals to eat at home. Did you ever get over to TJ's?

                      1. re: givemecarbs

                        I'm freezing soup more and I've gotten my husband to (happily) make bread in the bread maker. I'm not feeling so good about spending $6 for a loaf of bread anymore. I also bought a bunch of spices from I feel like cooking and experimenting more.

                        1. re: DaisyM

                          Daisy I love my bread machine too! Even if the bread it made sucked (which it doesn't) just coming home to the house filled with that fresh baking bread smell would be worth it.

                        2. re: givemecarbs

                          No, never got to TJ's -- maybe this weekend. I'm working on some quilty Christmas presents, and the weather was perfect for hunkering down by the toasty sewing machine......

                          look in my profile & shoot me an email.

                          1. re: PattiCakes

                            Done. Now I need to find pictures of those projects. Maybe on Yelp if I can figure it out.