Featured Image I realize I’ve got to cut back on eating meals out if I want to get a handle on my budget. One of the most consistent budget-busters for everyone is restaurant meals. Lunch meetings. Fast casual dinners. Breakfast buffets. Americans love restaurants and we patronize them….a lot. Restaurants have figured out a way to make what they offer seem like such a good deal. You have to eat anyway, right? So a few dollars more to have a meal with a friend in a nice location isn’t really killing my budget. Or is it? Care to join me in a little experiment? Over the next 7 days, write down every time you have a meal, beverage, dessert, or other food or beverage you paid for out of pocket. At the end of the week, we’ll add it all together and find out how much we spent. I suspect we may be surprised at how quickly the cost of eating out adds up. If it’s more than you’re comfortable with, there are lots of proven ways to cut back. Pack lunch, for example. Split a restaurant meal with a friend. Order tea or water instead of beer and wine. Go out for breakfast or lunch instead of dinner. I’m sure there are other ideas that may have worked for you. Glenn B. Being frugal was never a habit I had to work hard to learn; it came pretty naturally to me. But as I’ve gotten older, I’ve seen more and more how money influences the decisions we make in life. I believe everyone has good ideas for reducing spending, saving money, or stretching dollars. I hope my blog posts will spark some ideas of your own. Other stories by Glenn B.