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What is the biggest spending regret?

Dining Out! About 55% of survey respondents regretted spending money on meals out instead of putting that money into a 401(k), according to Charles Schwab. Dining out was by far the biggest regret cited, followed by clothes, new cars, vacations, and tech gadgets.

It's not surprising so many Americans regret dining out. The Bureau of Labor Statistics 2017 report on Consumer Expenditures found average spending of $3,365 annually on food away from home in 2017, up from $3,154 on dining out in 2016. And don't forget that when you dine out, you're paying for service in your tip, which gets bigger as you rack up your total bill.

If, instead of spending so much on eating out, you put $3,000 annually into a 401(k) from age 30 to age 65 and earned a 7% annual return, you'd end up with a nest egg of $414,710 -- just by redirecting your dining out budget. And, that's a conservative estimate for how much you could save over time, since eating out expenses have been shown to increase by a few hundred dollars every year

How can you save on eating out?

Giving up eating out entirely would obviously allow you to maximize your savings -- but you also want to be able to enjoy life. You don't have to entirely give up eating out in order to avoid spending regrets, but there are ways you can cut your costs so you can put more of your money into savings instead of into your stomach. Sometimes you can't avoid a meal out, like if a loved one is celebrating something you can't bear to miss. So use the below tips to minimize your dining out costs without suffering:

  • Skip convenience meals.

  • Opt for late lunch instead of dinner.

  • Use coupons and find special deals.

  • Skip the drinks. 

  • Split food

  • Do take out instead of delivery or dining out.

By following these tips, you can still enjoy the occasional dining out experience -- without being left with lingering spending regrets. 

For more investment strategies, contact Stevie Swain at Swain Consulting, LLC.



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