Words, Weights, Whatever

Thursday, January 27, 2005

***Cost containment***

As I discussed yesterday, we're looking into ways to contain our costs. One is our eating; specifically, the cost of eating out.

Years ago, we purchased our first Entertainment Guide primarily to discover and sample the restaurants in our area. Several became long-time favorites. We also used the numerous coupons to see plays. As always, the guide provides discounts of 50% or more, an effective cost-cutting measure. The Spouse and I have already discussed selecting at least one restaurant a week from the guide. Who said saving meant sacrifice?

Another cost-cutting measure are dining at those places offering those two-for-one meals. We tried out first last night at one of the local IHOP. Excellent. And we couldn't believe the final price. We'll definitely be returning to the restaurant.

At one of our favorite restaurants, we actually negotiated a slight discount. We have been frequenting this one small ethnic restaurant for years. Our meals there are huge: six to seven courses costing nearly six figures. But we love the food and the service. On the downside, we have to pay for the (excellent) ethnic drink individually. There are no refills except for water. One day, on a whim, I mentioned about getting a pitcher of the drink. The owner (who was also our server) thought about it for a moment, agreed, and named an excellent price. Whee! As the adage goes, it never hurts to ask.

Other measures include the standard splitting meals (which we tend to generously tip our servers) which have the nice side-effect in our weight control efforts. Eating in. I've figured out the absolute essentials when I buy the groceries.

We did have to make a few sacrifices (for us, that is.) We don't frequent the local coffee shop like we used to. With our drinks costing between eight to ten bucks a visit a day, we dramatically saved money by making our coffees at home. (And, again, a nice way to control our weight especially since we occasionally like to snack on pastries.)

We don't eat out twice to three times a day over the weekends. Now we're trying to limit ourselves to one meal per weekend day. We've discovered that we usually have plenty of leftovers to consume later that day or the next day.

I've already seen an impact on our finances and hope to continue to see more.


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