My new maxim is: “restaurants are not for eating”.
Yes, you read that right. From now on, restaurants are a place to meet with your friends. If you want to eat, go to the grocery store.
Crazy, right? I learned it from Mr Money Mustache. So, if you’re hungry after work? Cook. If you’re meeting friends, sure, go to a restaurant. But remember that the point of you being there is to socialise, not to eat.
Feel free to eat before (dietary restrictions are a great excuse for this), or just order an entrée, or to order the cheapest thing on the menu. You don’t need the $34 tasting plate.
Once you shift your focus from “I need to eat anyway, so I deserve a good main dish” to “who cares about the food, I’m here to hang out with Christine”, you’ll magically spend less money.
This is a really big part of how I saved $20,000 to go travel. I didn’t feel like I was missing out because I wasn’t- I was making a conscious choice to maximize my long-term enjoyment.
I chose to spend less money on something I didn’t care much about so that I could buy more freedom (and much more exotic food) later on. You can do it too 🙂
PS: Sometimes I like to be really badass and just order a plate of fries plus dessert.