July Food Stamp Challenge — Day Four, Eating Out

by Katy on July 4, 2011 · 3 comments

Today is day four of the July Food Stamp Challenge, and we experimented with eating out last night. I am 100% aware that food stamps do not cover restaurant meals, but I could not stand the idea of going the entire month of July without eating out. I had noticed that my favorite Mexican restaurant had been added to Restaurant.com, which sells $25 gift certificates for $10, and almost always has a promotion going where you can buy them for $2. (Of course, you have to spend $35, and an 18% tip of the original price is added onto your bill.)

I worked yesterday, as did my 15-year-old son, so we decided to use the gift certificate and enjoy a night off from cooking. Unfortunately, this was one of those situations where the idea is better than the actuality. Everyone in the family ordered $12.95 chimichangas, (which I think are disgusting — deep fried burritos? Blegh!) and even though I chose a $8.95 entree, we went way over the $35 that I was trying to stay under. So all said and told, with 18% tip added, the bill came to $36, which is no bargain.

Frugal fail.

We did leave with loads and loads of leftovers, (in my own container, which I remembered to bring — points for that!) but I think our eating out is finito for the month of July. And we are going to have to concoct some mightily cheap meals to stay under $404 for the month.

I hope you weren’t hoping for helpful information today, because all I’ve got is a cautionary tale.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without”

P.S. Happy Fourth of July!


{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Bellen July 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm

Actually it was good information – on how not to eat out!


Practical Parsimony July 4, 2011 at 11:06 pm

About 3 times each year or less, I use the Ruby Tuesday coupon for a free meal. It is a bogo deal. You get up to $10 off. So, I have agreement UP FRONT that we will keep our meals to $10 or less and drink water. No appetizers, salads, or desserts. It works well but the key is having the upfront agreement so we will actually save money and not spend too much in the process.


Barb @ 1 Sentence Diary July 5, 2011 at 5:58 am

We are in the middle of moving and trying to sell our house, so cooking is a bit challenging at the moment. (We don’t want to mess up our kitchen too much, especially the smell of cooking, and also do not want to add to the heat in the house.)
So, I bought a few coupons from Restaurant.com, just as you did, thinking that it might just be easier to go out rather than have one more meal of grilled cheese sandwiches. Unfortunately, I found, just as you did, that we spent much more than expected. The leftovers did make some impact — we were able to reheat in the microwave without too much head or odor — but all in all it was definitely NOT a frugal choice. On the other hand, we sure did enjoy the air conditioning in the restaurant!


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