I'm budgeting for this in dollars as well as frequency, because spending my money wisely is always a goal of mine. Initially I was not going to count the snacks and sweets, only restaurant meals, but the random snacks are probably the splurges I need to control the most. When we eat a meal at a restaurant, it is often out of perceived convenience, to socialize, or to celebrate something. But walking across the street from work to buy a smoothie or a cookie is not really a convenience issue, is due to poor planning or more often because I am craving sugar. So I amended my goal to include both in the $80 monthly gap, with $20 of that being in sweets/snacks. I'm still shooting for only eating 8 meals per month at restaurants, which still seems high to me since I always pack a lunch to work; I would prefer if we only went to a restaurant once a week or on special occasions. For now, I am not going to set a limit on the snacks/sweets outings and see how I do with the $20 cap.
I thought it would be interesting to analyze the reasons I go out to eat. In January, we ate 8 of our meals at restaurants, not include random snacks/sweets purchases. Here's the breakdown:
- social: 4
- just because: 2 (we had a groupon)
- celebration: 1 (lunch after marathon #3)
- convenience: 1 (after flying home from vacation)