Make no mistake; this one practice alone is responsible for crushing credit card debt, bankruptcy and living in near poverty. It puts younger people who are just starting out in life in debt of $25,000, $50,000 or more. Older people who are no longer working and living on fixed incomes have similar problems.
There is no activity that is so taken as a matter of course than dining out at restaurants. Young and old alike simply do it without thinking. Home cooked meals or even meals that don’t require preparation—such as sandwiches—are no longer eaten at home by many.
There is always a burger, fried chicken or fish, tacos or pizza just around the corner or down the street. Casual dining restaurants of virtually every description are available as both a gastronomic treat and an evening’s entertainment. Younger people grew up with this view of the world and older people have embraced it as their way of life.
It is an act of utter simplicity to pay the bill along with a generous tip by sliding a credit card across a counter or table—it is done without conscious thought.
Those who have had their cards revoked due to non-payment use cash. They eat fast food which is cheaper than a sit-down restaurant, but more expensive by far than eating at home. When they think about it at all, people rationalize to themselves and others that when you add up the pluses and minuses it is cheaper to eat out.
Utter B.S.! What they really mean is that they don’t have to drive to the market, shop for food, put it away at home and prepare the meal—which they have never learned to do. They don’t have to wash the dishes and carry out the trash.
They like the food better at fast food outlets and restaurants better than what they can cook—these dining excursions also get them out of the house, allows them to engage in social interaction and treat themselves.
The money spent on fast food and restaurants takes away from the total amount of funds they have on hand at any given time. This means they don’t have money for a decent place to live or decent clothes. Also, they drive a beater that continually is costing them money for repairs and burning through more $4.00 a gallon gasoline than a newer vehicle. The beater is uninsurable and when damaged leaves the driver standing on the bus stop.
It is absolutely essential to have a dependable car in order to find a good job and get to it on time every day.
Before you make an argument for eating out instead of at home, do these things:
- See how much money you can scrape together at this moment then add up your bills to see how much money you need at this moment. This is a brutal exercise because you will see just how bad things are regarding your finances.
- Look at your credit card for the last year and add up the amount spent on eating out. Take 1/3 off the total amount you come up with to account for the amount you would spend if you ate at home. The two thirds that you are left with is the amount of money that you could have had to spend on accommodations, automobile or actually put into savings or investments.
- Don’t blow your brains out! Simply stop eating out!
This is the best advice you’ll ever get and I have zero faith that it will be given any consideration at all.