How to eat out, without breaking the bank

What is the number one reason you don’t go out to eat? My answer is simple….MONEY! Living on a budget and trying to save for other adventures forces me to eat out less. It’s fun to go out though, right?! Someone waits on you, you get to spend time with others, your out in the world, and best of all no clean up! However, it’s not always the best of experience since from beginning to end, I dread the bill. First I have to justify going out, then scan the menu for the cheapest or most reasonable priced meal, and when the bill comes I hesitate to hand over the card.

But what if going out wasn’t so anxiety ridden? Would you be willing to go out more? Would you see your friends more often? Would you be more willing to say yes to an invite? Uhhhhh…. YEA!

Recently, a friend and I have been meeting during the week for lunch at a nearby coffee shop or low key deli. I had been pushing it off to every other week, or sometimes even once a month because I couldn’t justify the extra expense. One day I decided to bring my own meal. I mean think about it, you spend all this time and money going to the grocery store and prepping meals for the week. Then if you choose to go out with a friend one day for lunch, that prepped meal gets thrown away. I hate wasting food especially when you put so much effort into making it! But when I brought my own, the anxiety was gone, it was essentially a “free meal”, and I got to spend some quality time with a friend!

The first few times I went through a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I feared the judgement, the guilt, and to be honest I feared I might actually get kicked out. Turns out my fears were over exaggerated.  I never once got kicked out and my friend actually started bringing her own lunch too. The guilt still rears it’s head from time to time, so I find myself giving in every now and then. But, bringing my own lunch has allowed me to still get out and spend time with friends, but keeps me on track with saving.

At the end of the day, it’s just an option!

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