It might not be a bad idea.
- Many people struggle with higher than average living costs.
- Consumers are reducing their spending in a key category to make their bills more manageable.
It’s no secret that inflation has been rampant since this time last year. Consumers today spend a fortune to put food on the table, gas in their car, and clothes on their bodies. And we don’t know when the pace of inflation will start to slow.
Unsurprisingly, the rising cost of living is forcing consumers to make tough choices. And in a recent Primerica report, 71% of Americans said they were spending less at restaurants and takeout to cope with rising expenses. The question is – should you do the same?
Are restaurant and take-out meals blowing your budget?
Prepared meals are a luxury that many people enjoy, and for good reason. For one, they taste great. Second, for people with busy schedules, not having to cook could be a lifesaver. And even those who love to cook might want to take a break from the routine of going to the supermarket and cleaning up after making a mess in the kitchen.
But while eating out and ordering takeout can improve your quality of life, if money has gotten really tight, it might be time to cut back. Suppose you are normally able to pay all of your credit card bills each month, only since the beginning of the year you have a balance due to higher living expenses across the board. In this situation, it is certainly worth reducing non-essential expenses to some extent. And that could mean you won’t visit restaurants or order takeout until you’re in better financial shape.
That said, if you really like eating out or eating out, there may be another expense in your budget that you can reduce. Imagine you’re currently paying for cable and two streaming services. If going to a restaurant and ordering takeout is more important to you than having lots of TV variety, you can cancel your $90 cable plan, limit yourself to streaming content, and spend that money on prepared meals if that’s not the case. is what makes you happiest.
Also, if money is tight, you don’t necessarily have to cut everything restaurant and take-out expenses. If you’re currently spending $200 a month on meals you don’t have to cook yourself, you can reduce that amount to $100 a month and cash out the difference. If you’re single, a $100 budget could easily translate to one meal a week that you don’t have to prepare in your own kitchen.
Be careful with spending
If you’re managing your spending well despite inflation, there’s really no need to cut back on the things you love. But if you’re struggling to make ends meet, to the point of going into debt to cover day-to-day expenses, it might be time to take a look at your non-essential expenses and save some money.
Of course, there may be another avenue to explore before cutting back on restaurants and takeout, and it becomes a scramble. If you are able to supplement your income with a second job, you may be able to continue enjoying the meals you love without reducing your expenses. And that extra cash could also help shore up your savings so you have more breathing room in case the cost of living rises even more.
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