Does the average American spend how much on eating out?
How much is a medium entree at Panda Express . If you live in an urban area with plenty of dining options, the idea of going out to eat may seem like no big deal? But if you’re not sure which restaurants are worth your money and which should be skipped, it’s helpful to know how much money the average person spends on eating out each month.
This article breaks down how much Americans spend on dining out, how that amount has changed over time, and what the industry will look like moving forward as dining habits continue to evolve in the U.S.
The average person spends $365/month eating out
If you’re reading through these numbers and thinking, That’s a lot of money to spend on eating out. I could have invested it!—you’re right. That $365 can buy nearly 3-and-1/2 years’ worth of savings at a 6% annual return rate, assuming you make one extra mortgage payment per year.
Think about what that means: You could be saving enough money to pay off your house in less than 4 years just by investing that $365 per month you spend eating out (that is if someone else doesn’t eat out for you). And it goes beyond just buying more time to retire.
35% of the American population eats out once per day
Depending on how you define eating out, anywhere from 50 to 75 percent of Americans eat at restaurants once a day. According to a 2014 analysis by NPD Group, that translates to 35 percent of consumers who eat at restaurants once per day.
Fifty-two percent of that number—18 percent of all Americans—are frequent customers who visit a restaurant three or more times per week. As far as demographics go, young adults are most likely to dine out, with 44 percent aged 18–24 visiting a restaurant daily and 19 percent aged 25–34 doing so three or more times weekly.
52% spend more than $3600/year eating out
The average American spends more than $3,600 a year eating out. Because many fast food companies offer meal deals and discounts, it’s easy to end up spending much more than you expected.
When ordering takeout, make sure to pay in cash only. This forces you to pay for what you order and not be tempted by add-ons or discounts that aren’t part of your plan.
In addition, don’t forget about delivery costs—some services tack on an extra $5-$10 onto every order. To help track spending, try using Personal Capital—it automatically pulls all your transactions from bank accounts and credit cards so you can see exactly where your money is going every month.
17% spend more than $1000/month
A 2016 Nielsen report found that 17% of consumers spend more than $1,000 a month eating out. The largest group (34%) eats out 3-4 times a week, with average spending of just over $190 per month. Another 34% eat out less than once a week and spend just under $200 per month on dining out.
The remaining 33% don’t eat out at all and make up for it by spending more money on groceries – about $350/month according to Eat This Much data. Data Source: Nielsen Consumer & Media View Survey 2016
You can save money on food by not buying it at restaurants. Instead, cook your own meals or order from restaurants where you can get larger portions for lower prices. With delivery services like UberEats and GrubHub, there are even fewer reasons not to cook your own meals!
Only 5% spend less than $200/year eating out
According to a recent survey from TD Bank, almost 90% of Americans eat out at least once a week and spend an average of $175 per month doing so. However, only about 5% said they spent less than $200 eating out each month, which is around what you’d pay for one entree at Panda Express.
The takeaway: If you want to get ahead financially, think about where your money goes and make adjustments accordingly. You may find that small changes add up over time (such as buying groceries instead of going out) or that you’re being charged more than you should be for certain items (like that drink on an airplane).
And it’s all about Chinese takeout!
If you’re anything like me, you could eat Chinese food every night for a month and not get sick of it. So what does that tell us about Americans’ love affair with takeout food in general? How much do we spend, on average, eating out at restaurants
the answer: is more than $2,500 per year, according to data collected by Express Orders. That includes delivery food, fast-food joints, and sit-down restaurants. If you cooked your own meals, you could save so much money!
Bonus question – what’s your favorite type of restaurant?]
I think that’s a good question. I loved Sizzler. After I switched to a low-carb diet, though, it was tough finding something that fit my lifestyle. Of course, I still go out and eat with my friends now and then but they don’t always cater to people who are watching their carb intake.
I recently found a place called Zona Rosa which is fantastic because they have tons of options for me – both salads and steaks! What about you? What do you like about ordering at restaurants? And what do you spend on average per month eating out? It would be interesting to know…