If you are anything like me, you enjoy a good meal prepared for you every now and then while you sit back and catch up with friends and family. Unfortunately, unless you have a personal chef, most often you have to go to a restaurant to get this kind of service.
I fully enjoy the experience of going out to eat, maybe it is because I worked at a restaurant for many years, or maybe it is because I am only a so so cook and appreciate a well cooked meal.
Regardless, it is something I enjoy.
The thing about it is, going out to eat can be pretty expensive. There are things you can do, such as always ordering the specials or only ordering the cheapest meal on the menu, but to me this sort of takes away from the enjoyment of the experience.
It is also no secret that lots of restaurants give you pretty big portions. I know that at times when I have eaten the whole meal I was served I didn’t necessarily feel better after dinner. This wasn’t because the food was bad and made me sick, it was because I was a dummy, ate way to much, and was now overly full.
In an ever evolving attempt to lower cost, save money, and continue to enjoy a full life, I have began to employee a simple method to not only extend the overall cost of eating out but to also help me live a healthier life.
Here is how you do it…
You order what you want off the menu. Of course if something is extremely overpriced do not order it (such as lobster, where I live I find it pretty overpriced and I enjoy other seafood much more anyway) but for the most part just pick what you want.
When the food arrives immediately portion it into two halves. Eat one half and put the other into a carry out box. Simple. Done.
What you have just done is extend the utility of my money. If you had choose to eat the whole $15 meal in one sitting then that one meal would have cost you just that, $15, but when you get to eat twice you get two meals for $7.50 a piece.
Another benefit is that you won’t feel like crap when you do this. You won’t get that bad overstuffed feeling that you get after Thanksgiving dinner and you will be taking in less calories. Trust me, the seams of your clothing will thank you.
Now I understand this is basically a psychological trick but there is some economic theory backing the idea. Getting into the habit of taking home half of your meal when you go out to eat can further the enjoyment you receive from your money.
The idea isn’t to stop doing things you enjoy, its to try and do things smarter. Sure, you could never go out to eat or have drinks with friends and for some, I suppose that is perfectly fine. But I think a majority of people are social and although not everything costs money, some things do. It’s about making the best decision for you on how to spend your money to maximize your happiness.
Do you already do this? If so, how does it work for you? If not, why not?