We set out to prove that you can dine out eating interesting meals, not junk food, for the entire day costing only $30 per person.
The family are quite used to not being taken out for meals by their frugal dad. They know that unless someone is turning 21, announcing an engagement or being invited into Cambridge University on a scholarship, indulging in restaurant meals as a family is an unlikely event.
It must have caught the family off guard when I announced this eating out challenge one Sunday morning. The opportunity of not cooking or washing dishes or cleaning exploding meals from the microwave for a whole day didn’t quite cause the enthusiastic stampede toward the front door I expected.
The rules of the challenge are:
- $30 per person handed out to each man, women and child at start of day. They keep what ever is left over at the end of the day.
- No junk meals. Burger and chips is not a meal.
- Spend the money however they choose at the places I take them to based on my experience from writing this blog.
- No other money will be spent on sustenance for the day.
The initial reaction was one of disbelief and bewilderment. Eventually jaws did drop when I placed $30 each into the hands of two boys aged 5 and 8, who had never seen such a large sum emerge from dad’s wallet and be handed directly to them to spend how they saw fit. However the cash, which they caressed lovingly, had strings attached. I knew hunger would prevail and the money would be all but spent by sunset.
I do enjoy dining out and the less it costs to eat out, the more often I can do it. Oh sure there’s something to be said for rolling up the sleeves and creating a satisfying dish at home in the kitchen. But you need time and energy to do it justice. Dining out is my moment to sit down, give the orders, eat well and have others clean up after my messy kids. “It’s good to be the king”."...the less it costs to eat out, the more often I can do it..."
Quite on purpose I chose a Sunday for this challenge. Sunday is the hardest day of the week to find low cost food in town since the business end of town is all but closed. If we can meet the $30 per person challenge on a Sunday then spending less than $30 each on food any other day of the week should be easy.
Read Part 2 - The Kids Learn How to Budget While Having a Fun Day Out in a forthcoming post.
Do you think you could dine out well in your home town for $30 per day? Please comment below.