I read a fascinating article at Market Watch recently which actually states that Millennials (ages 25-34) spend more money on dining out than Baby Boomers do. This is outrageous! In our minds, Baby Boomers should already be retired, or be darn close. They should have done their heavy savings lifting by now. At age 25-34 you are laying the foundation, and every dollar is of the utmost importance- it cannot be blown on fanciness. The average Millennial spends an average of $2,639 eating out per year. That breaks out to just under $220 per month. That is way too much!
Think about it. If this budget was even cut in half ($110 is still too much!) and saved, you would earn $35,069 in 15 years! This is investing $110 per month with a 7% compound interest rate. That is a huge chunk of change. When we bring our restaurant budget down to $50 (this is our goal) you are talking about $54,197 in savings! That is $54,000 saved compared to your average money blowing peer.
Dining out is awesome. I love it, but it needs to be done with a conscience. $50 can mean getting take-out once a week, or a nice sit down dinner once or twice per month. That is still a treat, and eating out less can make you appreciate it even more. If $50 is too aggressive for you starting out, shoot for $100 and work your way down. As a recovering restaurantaholic, I can relate, but when you crunch the numbers it sure seems worth it. Another key to lowering your restaurant budget is improving your own culinary skills. I love cooking and feel that I can make just about anything I can buy at a restaurant. Cooking your own food makes it taste even better, and trust me guys and gals, everyone is always impressed by a good chef. Grab a decent cookbook, run a few Google searches, and get to work!