The Family Dollar and Restaurant Eating

Stacey C. Slagle

Nowadays everyone is worrying about the family dollar. How far can we stretch it? Of course, our money can go very far if we never do anything and have PB and J sandwiches three times a day. But how beneficial is that? Sure we’ll have more money in our account, but chances are we’ll be depressed with nothing to look forward to but old re-runs and perhaps fried bologna sandwiches for variety. There are numerous ways to save money, but I’m going to focus on one in particular — eating out less. Note that I said eating out less, not ceasing to eat out. And it’s not all about sacrifice here; there are many other benefits besides just saving money.


  1. Saves Money. We’ll cover the obvious first. We don’t have to be math geniuses to figure this one out. You can easily drop $40 to feed a family at a fast food restaurant — we’re not even talking about a fancy sit-down restaurant where the waiter refills your drinks. If it is a family-style restaurant, maybe that number would double — but then if we go one step further and branch out to non-chains, the sky’s the limit. Compare that to your weekly grocery bill. How many dinners can you prepare with 40, 80 and 100+ dollars?
  2. Control in Ingredients and Weight Management. We all know that obesity is a growing trend. Just read any report and you can see the statistics for weight trends and the number of times people are eating out — a definite correlation. Think about how often you ate out as a kid — it was a treat, right? Now think about how often we’re eating out today. The big culprit is the portion sizes and the consistency. We all want our money’s worth, so restaurants are giving us bigger and bigger portions. Now it’s the norm to eat enormous portions without even batting an eyelash. When you eat at home, you can control what kind of ingredients, including long stray hairs hiding under your fettuccine. There are numerous cookbooks out there with copycat recipes for the restaurants you love — so now you’ll know the ingredients are fresh, cheaper, and the portions the size that you choose.
  3. Strengthens Families. Think back again to when you were a kid and it was a treat to go out to eat. This was a special time for your family that we now so easily have taken for granted. If we eat out less, and make it more a unique occasion, your children will learn to appreciate it and it will be something they learn to excitedly anticipate — and they can even take turns choosing the restaurant, feeling even more special. And of course, those times that we are eating at home, we are teaching our children habits for life. This is a perfect opportunity to teach your children cooking skills and the importance of eating healthy and making wise food choices.

If you’re examining the family dollar — examine this habit, and you’ll improve the depth of your pocket and your family relationships.

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