This took me many years to discover but it has served us well. Despite being on the frugal track we occasionally eat out (ok, more than occasionally). Sometime as a family sit down dinner or for a special occasion but most often because we go out because it would be fun to go out.
To save 15% at a restaurant, skip the tip by taking the food to go. That will save 15% (or 20%) on the bill because there is no tip. And, after a while, you realize you have drinks at home. And bread. And that is another few dollars saved.
Instead, set your home up to be a delightful place to eat with a fancy and clutter free table that include forks that haven’t been in a million people’s mouths (a no cost bonus!). At the Café De Your Place there is never ever a wait. The table is always open, there are just enough seats and it’s the best table in the joint.
In the summer we eat out on the ‘rustic’ wood table that came with the house. This year we added a coral maple to enhance the view at our fine dining establishment. How many restaurants do you visit have this kind of greenery? Get creative (but low cost) and set up your own ambiance.
Paying for Private School’s Frizzy Coral Maple Tree of Awesomeness.
If you are like most families where eating out just overtook the grocery sales then you probably spend around $2625 on dining out.
Ha. I know the truth. If you have the income to consider a private school tuition and live in metropolitan area that number is much higher. It is more like $6000 a year. Lets go with $6000. That is $900 a year in tips if frequent wait in line and then sit down establishments. Toss in another $100 on desserts and drinks over the course of a year and we will make it an even $1000.
Show em’ the sink!
I know some of you are secretly cringing because you spent way more than three or even six thousand on dining out last year. This is a judgement free zone. We are here to help. You just have more opportunity to save! Start with an immediate 15% discount on many (and soon to be rapidly declining) restaurant meals. And enjoy the further benefit from having your children rarely hearing the phrase “I will be your server for this evening”. They need the gift of responsibility and can get up and get their own water when they need a refill.
This one slight change in behavior nets you $1000 a year and comes with a free side of humility for the entire family. A $1000 here and there starts to look like a tuition payment and there are lots of easy ways to save big money.
Paying for Private School French Simulated Country Kitchen- comes with reading materials. How many restaurants do that? Don’t worry, we bought those chairs used.
Our dishwasher was not functioning well. Repeated repair attempts had extended the life a bit but dirty dishes after each wash was the motivation to finally replace it.
We selected a washer that made sense for us (hard food disposal!) and had decent reviews.
Awesome Maytag Dishwasher with hard food disposal.
There was a fancy one for $598. Let’s assume we would have it installed for us rather than attempt to get the thing in ourselves.
Below are actual quotes from the site we purchased The Awesome Dishwasher (rhymes with West Guy).
||Fancy Stainless Steel Version – Installed
||Fancy Stainless Steel Version, DYI
So $154 more for the installed version. That is 30% more for the same functionality.
This might seem like a waste of time as I am wholly unqualified to install a dishwasher. And despite daily practice my ability to even use one has come into question (hence the hard food disposal). It would take a pro 1 hour. It took me two hours on a Saturday and another two hours on a Sunday. Since we took our time I was able to clean up all the junk under it, test it multiple times for leaks and line it up just right under the cabinet. The previous, professionally installed one, was a miniature leaning tower of Pisa.
And I didn’t have to wait for a contractor and can do it in the morning. 4 hours to save a measly $154. That is only 38 bucks an hour! Based on this calculator that is $79,040.00.
This is looking better already.
But wait – this is tax free money. I don’t have to earn that $154 which would have taken $215 in gross income (before taxes, withdraws, sales taxes and mystery fees). Now we are bumped up to $53 an hour.
The Adjusted Savings
That is better. $53 an hour equates to $110,000 annual salary.
Of course your salary takes priority but if you were going to spend a lazy afternoon with a non-fiction book you can have just as much fun watching a you tube video of how to install a dishwasher.
Change Your Mind Set To Make The Grade
Paying for private school means changing your mind set on seemingly small things. You can do this.
First up, this is an unsolicited article. No one is paying, pushing or promoting me to write this piece.
Here is my typical grocery shopping experience;
Grocery shopping experience diagram -multiple ways to waste
I will admit, I am very impressed with people who can clip coupons, keep a price book and then find everything on their list, in exactly the right size, in a massive store with an average and ever changing 47,000 items in the store. I have tried many times and repeatedly failed at doing so.
We kept seeing a Peapod truck at the neighbor’s house each week. We quietly snickered and thought even though they are super frugal on everything else they had a hidden weakness.
My interest was piqued so we tried an experiment with this online grocery thing. We intentionally keep detailed records so it was easy to load a Peapod cart online and compare to last weeks grocery expenses.
Oh man was it easy to find stuff. They have a search engine! And it was certainly educational. For example, the two red peppers I buy each and every week have gone up from 50 cents in the summer to almost $4 in the winter. Green peppers will do just fine and only cost a buck.
That kind of real-time-pricing-feedback adds up – in our case to $50 less than we normally spend (that would be $2,400 a year). So we went crazy and got the Peapod meal kits (all the ingredients in a box). And it was *still* $20 cheaper and we will waste less food as a result. Hmm.
A few months in we found we saved about $300 a month on groceries. And this probably points more to my ineffectiveness as a shopper and my susceptibility to “buy it now while supplies last” sales. Know thyself.
If you end up trying this or a similar service I would love to know how it works out for you – or if it doesn’t. And if you are inclined to do so please use my Peapod referral link and hook me up with free (Green) Bell Peppers for an upcoming stir fry. Woot!