How can I tell my friends that I can’t eat outside all the time?

  • for love and money Insider has a bi-weekly column that answers your relationship and money questions.
  • This week, a reader asks how to talk to friends who’ve always wanted to eat out.
  • Our columnists recommend inviting them over for dinner to spend time together.
  • Have a question for our columnist? Write Using For Love And Money this google form,

Dear for love and money,

Our friends love to eat out, and when I say eating out, I mean every single meal. It’s too expensive, but they say eating at home costs the same, so they don’t want to change their ways.

My husband and I only want to eat out twice a week because we can eat so cheaply at home. Normally, we make it work, but it’s tough because we’re usually the ones who are out and about to spend time with them.

Having a relationship with them has led to the feeling that there is a choice between breaking up or saving money and lose friendship. What do we do?

with honesty,


Dear friend-to-eater,

The distinction between food and finance is fascinating because while food is a relatively controlling variable in our budget, it is also essential to survival. Millennials are infamously told that the latte and avocado toast are the only ones standing between us and the homeowner, while other personal finance experts say that if you’re obsessed with over $5 coffee, you’ve got bigger problems.

i doubt this assertion food in personal finance This is because both nurturing ourselves and managing our finances have come to reflect our system of values. Since everyone’s value system is different, when our values ​​clash with those of our loved ones, it feels like a question of identity. It seems like individual.

So, before I dwell on my suggestions, I want to encourage you to remember that while your friends may be impressing you with their restaurant-prone tendencies, it’s not intentional. they are not doing that Feather you; They just like what they like, and what they like is having someone else prepare their food.

But since this understanding doesn’t change the financial burden of dinner, I have three suggestions for saving your money and your friendship.

First, invite them to dinner

I grew up with parents whose friends would constantly come over for dinner. My mom went from being a pastor’s child to an officer’s wife, so hosting remained an essential part of who my mom is, even after my dad left the military.

Growing up in an environment where home-cooked meals with friends around the dining table were weekly, sometimes twice-weekly, I moved into adulthood believing that hosting friends for dinner was a big deal as I grew up. was part of. But it turns out that my friends were baffled and intimidated by the idea of ​​dinner parties.

While friends always accepted my dinner invitations with enthusiasm, the invitations my husband and I received in return always included restaurants and bars. Don’t get me wrong, I love little more than a lazy afternoon spent listening to live music outdoor brewery – But to your point, it gets expensive.

I addressed it while leading it. I kept inviting my friends for dinner at my house. I demonstrated how easy this can be by throwing a roll of paper towels on the table instead of cloth napkin origami. My guests were always in charge of the beverages, and my husband and I had alternating low-effort, crowd-pleasing, budget-friendly meals.

Between the good food, the relaxed atmosphere and excellent company, our dinner parties were always fun. More fun, really, than dinner at a noisy restaurant with a loud waiter that will inevitably end with an awkward fight over the check.

This is not my opinion: it has become the consensus of our friend group. Because, after several dinners at our house, our friends are no longer intimidated by the idea of ​​reciprocity. And now the untold understanding is that while restaurants and bars are the exception, eating in each other’s homes is common.

So, try inviting your friends for dinner. If you’re in a smaller living space, ask them about a few at a time. If they initially seem reluctant to change things up, play the best friend card and get them involved.

Be prepared to host several dinners at first. If your friends are foodies, and that’s why they love restaurants so much, turn dinner at home into a culinary adventure. Invite them over early to help you cook and experiment with the trending vegetables of the month.

Soon, you will find that you have changed the dynamics of your group.

Second, when you eat out, be intentional

If everything about my first suggestion makes you want to run away screaming, another option is to reserve your restaurant meals for your friends.

You mentioned that your friends want to eat every meal whereas you and your husband only want to eat twice a week.

To maintain your relationship, you should have dinner with your friends twice a week. For the rest of the week, you and your husband can eat at home, saving you time and money for two dinners a week with your friends.

Third, talk to them

You mentioned that you’re always going to do things and do things in your own way. If that sounds inappropriate, that’s because it is. Tell your friends you don’t want to eat out. Don’t attribute this preference to finances as I think that’s when they drag you into the weeds of grocery costs versus restaurant costs. Be gentle but firm, and remember that these people are your friends. If they don’t date you 50% of the time, they probably aren’t as good friends as you think.

That said, I don’t think food choices should come between you and your loved ones. No matter how awkward we are when it comes to money and food, a good friend will watch you, listen to you, and, when appropriate, follow your lead. So take your friends back to the kitchen, and share a great meal.

your support,

for love and money

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