According to Bureau of Labor Statistics consumer expenditure surveys, the typical household spends $2,625 each year, or around $219 per month on food outside the home.
Do you know how much you’re spending on eating out? One way to find out is to download a month’s worth of spending into an excel format. You can sort the vendor name alphabetically and quickly add up any restaurant names.
Those in higher income groups spend more on restaurants — around $370 per month — and those in the lowest income groups spend less, at around $104 per month.
Here are a few signs that you’re spending TOO much. Also, don’t forget that all beverages consumed outside the home should also be included
- You spend more at restaurants than you do on groceries.
- Your restaurant tab rivals your housing costs.
We don’t want to take away all of the fun of going out to eat so we’re listing our two favorite apps to save you money at restaurants. We selected these since they have the largest amount of restaurants to choose from and for ease of use.
Their website states, “Save up to 50% at 62,000 restaurants.” so you can be assured they have plenty of matches in most cities and decent sized towns.
How it works: You purchase a $25 gift certificate for $10, but they often run promotions where you can buy the same $25 gift certificate for just $2 or $3. $25 worth of food for $2.
Ease of use: You can search by restaurant name, cuisine type, city, or zip code. Why so cheap? You are accepting their restrictions:
Each restaurant has their own set of restrictions. Some of the most common are:
- Minimum purchase ($35 or $50)
- Dine-in only
- Not valid Friday or Saturday night
- Alcohol does not count toward minimum purchase
- Not valid toward tax or tip
- Limit 1 per table
- Not valid with any other offers
Based on a search of Denver, CO – there were 68 restaurants within 5 miles, and 88 within 10 miles.
We recommend asking around or looking up the restaurant on Yelp before you buy.
Groupon – Your first step is to click on Categories and select “Food and Drink”, then “Restaurants.” You can filter by category, distance, price, or click on “Map” to see what is close.
As of 10/4/16, there were 147 matches. Groupon also regularly does special “Today Only” or “3 day deals” where the discounts are even deeper. As of 10/4/16 there is a Groupon-a-thon where certain restaurants deals are even cheaper. One example of a deal is a voucher good for $20 at Jack-N-Grill that you can purchase for $13 or a $40 voucher for $25.
So, go ahead. Charge up that phone, download that app, put on a nice shirt and go out to eat. If you use these apps you may be able to eat out for less than a home cooked meal.