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What’s Your Eating Out Cost Per Month?

Updated: Jan 22


Photo Credit: TheTakeout

It’s no secret that eating out can add up very quickly. But have you ever really considered or added up how much it’s costing you to eat out per month? It’s easy to swing by a Starbucks or your local coffee shop on the way to work, on the weekends when you have nothing going on, while your in college, or whether your just hanging out with friends. To swipe your magical little plastic card called a credit card, and not even think about the cost. I mean it’s only 4,5,6, even 7 dollars right?


While that may not seem like much, think about how quickly that can add up. Three or Four coffee’s a week can easily add up close to 30 dollars a week. Take that 30 dollars a week multiplying it by 4, and you have a whopping 120 dollars a month just on coffee. And by the way… that’s on the low end for the typical American.


Now on top of all those latte’s, you continue to buy lunch while your out to work, you may swing by your local gas station and pick up some energy drinks and waters, and may even pick up some quick takeout Chinese on the way home. Now it doesn’t take a genius to know that it adds up quickly. And we aren’t even talking about the weekend yet!


Photo Credit: Financial Executives International

Now by no means am I trying to make you feel guilty. Because I too, know how easy it is. Especially when your running late, didn’t have time to grocery shop, or simply are too tired in the morning or after work to prepare your food, leaving a clean up mess behind that no one likes to take care of! Sometimes you’re just craving some delicious take out food. I get it.


But our goal here at Wise Financial Man is to simply open your eyes, showing you ways you can save massive amounts of money, helping you pay off your debt and save, while helping you achieve your financial freedom that everyone desires. And this is one topic most of us struggle with including me.


If you really think about it, why do most of us wake up every morning, put on our big boy or girl pants, and go put in 40 if not more hours a week? To pay our bills, aim to live the life style we want, and to achieve our goals and dreams, while hopefully saving and building a large portfolio of investments right? So why would we go out and hustle to only spend one or two hours of pay on fast food a day? It doesn’t seem logical right? So let’s figure out your true eating out cost per month!


The easiest way to figure this out is to to begin budgeting. To look at your monthly expenses whether keeping receipts, breaking down credit card statements, or looking at your Starbucks App. Because that will be the most accurate way to measure your true eating out cost per month!


(For those that have already began budgeting and downloaded your Wise Financial Man Budget Spread Sheet, I am super proud of you. Because you have taken the first huge leap towards improving your financial health and are on your way to financial freedom. But for those that have just found Wise Financial Man, no worries, because you have taken a big leap by taking the effort to learn!)


So what does the typical person’s eating out cost per month? On average, the typical working adult will eat out 4 to 5 times a week! Multiply that by your typical four week month, and you have an average of 16 to 20 times per month Now some of you may eat out less than that, and that’s awesome. And a few of you may eat out more. But 16 to 20 times a month is the average for ONE PERSON!!!

Photo Credit: SmallBusiness

Now over the years, I’m not sure if you’ve noticed, but fast food cost has gone up drastically. Eating at a simple fast food place like McDonalds or Carls Junior can easily cost $8 to $12 for one meal, if not more! And that’s for fast food! But for sakes of showing your eating out cost per month, let’s say the average cost for eating out on any given work day is around $10.


Breaking it down:

$10 a meal x 16 days eating out = $160 a month

$10 a meal x 20 days eating out = $200 a month


That second one would be if you ate out every day at work with no gas station stops or Starbucks trips. Oh by the way, that’s not including date nights, or eating out at restaurants with your love ones.


So lets now add two Starbucks trips a week!


$6 a trip x 2 days a week = Estimated $12 dollars.

$12 dollars a week x 4 weeks in a month = Estimated $48 dollars a month.

$200 a month eating out at work + $48 a month at Starbucks = Estimated $248 a month in eating out cost!


But wait! We still have to include eating out at a restaurant on the weekends. Let’s say an average trip to a restaurant just for you is around $22 with tip, if you behave and get a burger with a beer, or something on the lower end.


$22 at a restaurant x 4 weeks in a month = Estimated $88 dollars.


Now adding it all up:


$248 for eating out at work and Starbucks trips + $22 at restaurants = A WHOPPING $336 a month just for ONE PERSON!

$336 x 12 months = An Estimated $4,032 a year!


By this time you may be saying, I don’t eat out that much. And you may be right, My response would be to simply add up how much you spent last month eating out! Because I can promise you, the majority of adults spend way more than they know eating out. And many spend more than this!


And unfortunately, $4,032 dollars isn’t what your missing out on. Your actually missing out on more! According to Business Insider, the typical American household carries $5,700 dollars in credit card debt. With Credit Cards Interest rates ranging on Average from 12% to 22%, it actually cost you more to eat out if you're adding your eating out habits to your credit cards!


$4,032 in eating out cost per month x 15% credit card interest = $604.80 in credit card interest!


Add your $4,032 eating out cost per yer to $604.80 in credit card interest… Which would give you a insanely $4,636.80 a year in eating out. That could easily be anywhere from 5% to 20% of your total income!


I don’t know about you, but to me those numbers are just mind blowing!


Now you may be saying, “Wise Financial Man, I don’t have credit card debt, and pay cash!” Congrats, that’s awesome! However, you too are still missing out!


How is that you may be wondering? Going back to our $4, 032 a year in eating out cost. Imagine if you took that money, and invested that money in to mutual funds, putting you that much closer to financial freedom! Long term returns on mutual funds has had a return average of around 10%.


$4,032 x 10% return from mutual funds = an estimated $432 return.

$4032 eating out cost per year + $432 in returns = an estimated $4,435 you could be adding to your investment portfolio!


And that’s just keeping the math simple without counting compounding interest and all of the other amazing parts of finance.


Imagine how much money you could retire on, just by bringing your lunch to work 4 days out of 5. If you have to, buy one meal during your work week. Whether it’s your Monday to make the first day of your work week that much easier, or your Friday to reward your self. But by bringing your lunch to work 4 out of the 5 days a week, you can literally save thousands a year. And throughout your career, I’d be willing to bet you could probably save close to $100,000 between you and your significant other, if not more if you really tightened down!


Investing in a simple lunchbox like this will cost you close to one meal in eating out. But the money you would save after that initial investment would literally be 10 fold.

At the end of the day, the decision is yours. I know many of you don’t spend this much on eating out. And that’s awesome! But I can promise you there is always room for improvement! And for those that spend more, it’s really time for you to tighten up your finances and budget!

Photo Credit: Glamour.Com

Yes… it’s easier to buy food while your out and about whether at work, or on your weekends. Yes, there’s no clean up, and the food is delicious. Yes, it’s fun. But what about your financial health. Would you rather eat out throughout your life? Or save an enormous amount of money, investing it in mutual funds, using it to take that dream vacation, being able to pay for the kids college, be that much closer to financial freedom, or whatever your heart desires! Just look at your eating out cost per month or year! Here at Wise Financial Man it’s easy… I’d rather use the money towards my financial freedom! We’re always looking for people that changed bad financial habits! Comment below and let us know how taking your lunch to work has helped your financial position!



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