Why We Eat Out While In Debt

Mr. FAF and I are in debt. We’re still trying to pay off the mortgage on our primary residence.

Many people treat a mortgage as part of life and consider it a good debt.

To us, however, debt is simply debt. And we want to eliminate it as soon as we can.

That said, Mr. FAF and I LOVE eating out, especially at Asian restaurants.

Below are the three reasons why we eat out while still trying to pay off our mortgage:

1. We’re not good at cooking.

Me

I never really learned how to cook until I was 23. My mom did all the cooking in our family when I was still living with my parents.

She wanted me to spend more time on my school work and never insisted on me learning some culinary skills from her.

After I left home at the age of 18 to go to college, I was fortunate to have a meal plan at school.

I also had some great friends who were fantastic cooks and wanted to share their food with me.

When I actually had to make something for myself, I resorted to the easy options: instant noodles, bread, rice and eggs.

I don’t know how, but I managed to get by all those years without knowing how to cook anything well.

Mr. FAF

Before Mr. FAF came to America at the age of 29, he barely knew how to make anything. It was actually cheaper for him to eat out than to cook at home in China. A meal out cost him less than $1. His college and grad school also had cafeterias that offered a wide range of dishes at low prices.

Mr. FAF told me that he starved himself for almost two days when he first came to the US since he didn’t know how to cook or where the restaurants were. He eventually went grocery shopping and looked up recipes online out of desperation.

He has improved his cooking skills a great deal since. But both of us know that what we make is just edible, can fill us up, and is rarely delicious. We can get by with what we manage to cook. What’s made at Asian restaurants, however, is delicious and complicated to make.

 

Korean BBQ

2. We just don’t want to cook. 

Sometimes the reason is simply that we’re just too lazy to cook. I feel guilty saying this, but it’s true. It’s Friday. I get home from work feeling tired and entitled after sitting at the same desk in the same office for five days.

Mr. FAF is tired of staying at home all week eating the same dishes we always make. We look at each other, smile, and decide to eat out.

Hong Kong dimsum

3. Eating out is the only favorite activity we have in common. 

Don’t get me wrong. Mr. FAF and I enjoy each other’s company. But when we decide to go on a date, we just can’t agree on what we want to do together so that both of us can be happy.

I want to check out the free museums in DC, but Mr. FAF is not a fan of museums. Mr. FAF wants to watch a new action or sci-fi movie, but I like romantic comedy. While we can compromise, the idea of Mr. FAF not totally enjoying something I like makes me not want to do it.

What do both of us love doing together? Eating out.

 

Mongolian hotpot

The good news

We eat out only once a week when Mr. FAF visits me in DC or when we have special occasions like our anniversary. We try to go to cheaper places like the food court at the mall or Asian grocery stores where rice plus three side dishes are around $7, and we don’t need to tip.

Sometimes we splurge and go to a hotpot or Korean barbecue, but it happens at most four times a year. Below are some pictures from our anniversary dinner at a steak house. It was $60 in total, including an iced tea for Mr. FAF and tip.

 

                         Buffalo wings                                                            Crab legs and French fries

 

                   Mozzarella cheese sticks                                                     Breaded shrimp

I know it lacks some greens, but we don’t eat like this every day. It was a special occasion which called for some special food.

Our plan to cut costs

When Mr. FAF eventually gets his degree later this summer and moves back to DC, we plan to limit eating out and learn more cooking from YouTube videos or take inexpensive cooking classes to improve our life quality.

We want to accelerate our debt payoff process in order to realize our dreams of owning rental property and reaching financial freedom. And an important part of that plan is to learn how to make and eat healthy and delicious food at home.

Related:

Home-cooked Meals v. Eating Out – The Dilemma

Why We Don’t Order from Blue Apron

3 Reasons Why I Love Instant Noodles

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5 thoughts on “Why We Eat Out While In Debt”

  • If you ever need a few easy Asian recipes, holler at me girl 🙂 it’s full proof hehe.

    We eat out a lot too. When I’m old I won’t be able to eat all the deep fried food so money isn’t going to stop me! My blood pressure will.

  • This isn’t my forte (it’s yours), but apparently investing in money accounts, etc., makes more financial sense than rapidly paying off a mortgage, even if it feels less emotionally like a victory. It’s about interest rates and coming out further head in the next decades or so by investing the money that you could have used to pay off your house. Even people who could this instant pay off their house, don’t, because that invested money is making them more money than the money they lose on whatever their mortgage interest rate is. I haven’t read anything on your blog about investing in stocks, etc., but it might be worth an article? I enjoy reading about your even more immediate victories of lowered food costs. Thank you.

    • Hi Maegan, thank you for the great suggestion! You’re absolutely right. I haven’t invested in the stock market yet. After Mr. FAF started working, we have been maxing out our 401(k). Once I invest in stocks and made other investments, I’ll be sure to write about it. ^.^

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