How often do you dine out? (Poll Results)

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Last week, I posted a quick poll about eating out. Over 500 responses later, the results are in!


eating-out-2I imagine that readers from all over the country weighed in!

While my poll was in no way scientific, I do think the results are quite revealing. Despite the recession, and despite our common desire to save money, most of us love dining out! Perhaps a little more than we should.

I don’t believe there is anything wrong with dining out. That statement may surprise some of you! Actually, I enjoy supporting local small businesses in general. Like the ice cream shop owner who knows my children by name. Having worked in restaurants and hospitality myself for many years, I appreciate good service and always tip accordingly.

But like anything else, dining out must be in the budget and done in moderation. I am not a menu planner by nature, so in order to avoid the take-out trap, I know I must make an extra effort to plan ahead.

Over the next few weeks, I will be sharing some tips and ideas to make eating at home more of a reality. I would love to hear yours as well!

What do you think of the poll results? Do they surprise you?

This post is linked to Life As Mom.


  1. The Prudent Homemaker says

    They don’t surprise me. But, we only go out once a year, and only if my parents give us money to go out as a gift for our anniversary or birthdays–and it doesn’t include the children. Our birthdays just passed, and they didn’t give us money to go out to eat this year, so we stayed home. Going out to eat isn’t in our budget; grocery shopping isn’t even in our budget!

    Making nice meals at home works just fine. If I want to try something new, I can try a new recipe using what I have on hand.

  2. Vanessa says

    The last time we went out to eat was in October of 1997.Since the economy has went down hill we just can not afford to eat out.Yes the poll results surprise me alot.

        • Crystal Brothers says

          @Vanessa, lol…that’s funny. Still a long time though. It would be a challenge for us, but one of those things that I think would get easier over time. Good for you!
          .-= Crystal Brothers´s last blog ..I love Meijer!!! =-.

  3. says

    I’m not surprised. We eat out about once a week, because my sweet husband likes to bless me with a break from cooking. However, when we go out, we cut costs by using coupons, drinking water instead of soda, and making careful choices (e.g., sometimes choosing fast food or pizza). We only go to “fancy” restaurants for special occasions.
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Guest Post: Budget-Friendly Outdoor Fun =-.

  4. says

    I find it surprising how many people eat out several times a week! Wowsers! I guess I just view it as such a budget-buster and, well, we’re pretty content eating around our kitchen table. Now, that’s not to say that we don’t OCCASIONALLY enjoy a meal out… but I think it’s the fact that it’s a rare occurance that makes it feel special.
    .-= JessieLeigh´s last blog ..I Call My Lawn Boy "Honey" =-.

    • Crystal Brothers says


      I agree that it being a rare occurence makes it feel more special. And, we ate out for breakfast a couple weeks ago. DH and Caeden each got an orange juice, for $1.50 each. So, 2 OJ’s for $3. I took another $3 that week at Meijer and bought 4 frozen from concentrate CONTAINERS of OJ! lol. Definitely makes you think twice about eating out, but we just enjoy it so that’s still where our fun money goes for now.
      .-= Crystal Brothers´s last blog ..I love Meijer!!! =-.

  5. Crystal Brothers says

    My husband and I go out to eat together every Friday night. We call it our “date night” and my mom gets to spend a couple hours with the babies as well so it’s a win-win right now for us. We have a really tight budget, but this is one of the things that is important to us. Dave Ramsey recommends a place in the budget for “blow” money (which we call “fun” money instead) and usually we end up spending our fun money on eating out. I know some people “can’t afford it” but I think generally that we just prioritize things differently (not good or bad, just differently). We spend our “fun” money on eating out. Someone else may spend theirs on clothing or other things that are less important to our family, but are important to them.
    .-= Crystal Brothers´s last blog ..I love Meijer!!! =-.

    • The Prudent Homemaker says

      @Crystal Brothers,
      That’s nice that your mom is able to babysit for you. My husband and I would find some fun free things to do if we had free babysitting more than once or twice a year.

      Instead, we play board games and watch shows on Hulu!

      • Crystal Brothers says

        @The Prudent Homemaker, We do free things too, and we play tons of boardgames and such that aren’t limited to Friday night dates. Those are just things we do every day in spending time with each other and our family. For me as a SAHM this is the only 2 hours each week that I get to have any time to myself and I find that it is really beneficial for refreshing me. It’s just something that is important to me and my family. And, like I said in another post, different families have different families and values and that’s okay.
        .-= Crystal Brothers´s last blog ..I love Meijer!!! =-.

        • The Prudent Homemaker says

          @Crystal Brothers, We think dates are important, too, but a babysitter for 6 children and the money to go out simply doesn’t exist for us, so we have to have dates at home–even if they’re just normal, everyday types of things. We would love to go out more than on our anniversary, but our income varies quite a bit, and is, right now, nothing at all. You can’t budget for something without an income! So, we have time together after the children are asleep.

          I think it’s great that you’re able to go out and that your mom is willing to watch your children so often. Mine is willing to watch them on our anniversary (usually). I think dates are very important for a married couple. We do our best to have them at home since we can’t go out.

  6. says

    Hi there! I am dropping in from Frugal Friday.

    I enjoyed your post. We shouldn’t eat out at all. It really isn’t in our budget, but we have an old habit of turning to cheap takeout or dining out locally whenever life gets hectic. Ugh.

    Stop by and see me when you get a chance over at Free 2 Be Frugal.

  7. Shay Speer says

    We don’t have eating out in our budget very often. I mystery shop to one particular restaurant about every 3 mos. , but get most of that money reimbursed. We sometimes pick up a $5 pizza from Little Caesar’s or grab a burger & eat it w/ a bottle of water we brought w/ us. We do try to find the money to eat out once per month at a sit-down restaurant. Last month, we went to IHOP for free kid’s dinner & spent under $20 w/ a very nice tip for the 4 of us. It would be less, but I can’t seem to get my DH to give up his soda.

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