Making Excuses for Not Going Out

Canada
January 17, 2010 9:36pm CST
This new year, my boyfriend and I are trying to cut back on our spending wherever we can. One of our ways to do this is by not eating at restaurants as much ... which is fine when it is only my boyfriend and I, we don't mind eating in. But what do we do when friends want us to join them for dinner at a restaurant? I'd love to say, "sorry, but we've already used up all our budget for eating out this month." But I'm sure someone will say that they'll treat me, and I don't want that either, I'm not a charity case, I'm just trying to be sensible with my money. Last Thursday I went out for lunch with my co-workers, one of them was being layed-off and it was his goodbye lunch. I felt obliged to go. It cost me $22 for my lunch!!! That's a lot of money, and I didn't even have anything to drink! The following day a bunch of them were going out again, this time it was to celebrate someone's birthday. I insisted that I couldn't go, I had too much work to do, but really I didn't want to fork over another $20 or more for lunch, when I had already brought my lunch and that cost me about $2 to make it at home. I know I'm going to have lots more situations with friends and with co-workers, where they try to make me eat out with them. For me, the good time doesn't make up for all the money I am wasting. Is there a polite way to tell people that I don;t want to join them because I find it too expensive, or should I keep coming up with excuses?
5 people like this
16 responses
@thyst07 (2091)
• United States
18 Jan 10
You need to be honest with your friends and let them know that you are trying to eat out less. You don't have to go into any detail about your finances or make it sound like you have money problems. You could tell them that you're rearranging your spending priorities and eating out less so that you can save for something else, or you can tell them that you're trying to be healthier by eating out less. Let your friends know that you still want to spend time with them. You could suggest taking turns having each other over for dinner at home- you still get to have dinner together, but everyone will save money, probably eat healthier, and you can have fun coming up with new recipes to share with your friends. You can also watch a movie or play boardgames or some other activity after dinner- you can't do that at a restaurant! The bottom line is that if your friends decide to judge you or stop hanging out with you because you don't want to fork over the cash for a meal out, then they're not really very good friends. Continuing to try to come up with excuses will just make things harder in the long run, so just be up front about it.
2 people like this
• Canada
18 Jan 10
Oh, I really like the "eating healthier" idea. I think I will go that route.
@Fulltank (2896)
• Philippines
18 Jan 10
I agree with you especially your last sentence. Just be honest and explain that you're side. At first it maybe embarrassing but for the sake of you and your boyfriend, just swallow a little pride. But I knew that your co-workers would understand. If one would insists to treat you, then so be it. But the next time, you will can definitely say no to the treat. It would be much more embarrassing if your they found out that your just making excuses.
@maezee (34514)
• United States
18 Jan 10
I don't think it's an "excuse" necessarily that you can't afford to go out. Possibly you could just be straight with your friends and tell them exactly what you're saying here..You and your boyfriend are trying to cut back expenses. Of course, you could always go out OCCASIONALLY but maybe just not at places that charge $22 per person per meal?! Possibly go out to somewhere a little more.. affordable? Or if you do decide to go out and eat..Possibly eat ahead of time so you're not actually hungry at the restaurant and just get an appetizer or small salad or something (and water). Otherwise you could always find OTHER, more affordable things to do with your friends. Invite THEM over your place for a home-cooked meal, maybe? You don't want your friends to think you hate you, but I understand you don't want to spend over $20 every time you go out. That adds up!
2 people like this
@thyst07 (2091)
• United States
18 Jan 10
Yeah, seriously...somewhere that charges $22 for lunch is a little far out there.
1 person likes this
• United States
20 Jan 10
I would, depending on how close you are to your friends just be completely honest with them. I would tell them that you are trying hard to cut back on the money that you spend for whatever reason and that one of the things you are cutting back on the most is eating out. Just let them know that it's quite expensive to dine out and you'd prefer to save your money so you could do something else with that hard earned $20.
@kingparker (9698)
• United States
19 Jan 10
You know what, it is the same situation for my co - worker. I understood that he is in his budget watch. Every time, we, a bunch of co - workers went out for lunch, he insisted that he already brought his lunch, and he would rather having his lunch. Well, we can't force him to do something that he doesn't like. So, we let him has his own way.
@salonga (27957)
• Philippines
19 Jan 10
If people will only be wiser, they will realize that it does give them a lot of savings when they minimize eating outside. It is always very economical to eat at home and when in the office just bring your packed lunch. In my case, I always find the food I eat more healthy, safe and palatable than the food sold in restaurants. I am using fresh ingredients in preparing my own food and I doubt if restaurants are doing that. Nevertheless my family also dine outside but we make sure we don't do eat lavishly. Twice a month is not bad at all. There are times we eat out once a week but I found the food not really worth the price. They are mostly over priced. One time I computed the cost of eating out with my family. I was shocked to note that in one dining we paid an amount which is already equivalent to a one week meal at home. That is too much so I think during this time of crisis, it is better to be wise-spender. When your friends are asking you to go out with them for lunch you need not fabricate any alibi. Just make sure you have a packed lunch always so that every time they ask you to come and eat with them, you can always say, "Sorry dears but I have food". There is no need to say you find it too expensive. The mere fact that you have food anyway means you have all the reasons to stay and eat the food yourself prepared.
• United States
19 Jan 10
Discussing finances makes a lot of people uncomfortable. If you feel comfortable with your decision about cutting back on this unneccesary expense then this is how you proceed. When someone asks you to go out to eat you let them know that you have decided to cut back on your spending for a while so you will be 'brown-bagging it' for the forseeable future. Thank them for thinking of you, but be firm about your position. This way everyone knows exactly what is going on with you instead of thinking that you don't want to hang out with them because you keep coming up with excuses not to.
@sid556 (31003)
• United States
19 Jan 10
I just tell people straight up that I can't afford it. If they offer to pay for me, I tell them no. I invite people to my house for dinner rather than go out. It's fun and we all take turns inviting each other over with no set pattern and no one under any pressure. It is so much cheaper than going out!. I can make a beef stew or a big pot of spagetti and have some friends over and it is probably more relaxed and fun than sitting in a restaurant. Another thing we all used to do but haven't in a while is have "pot luck" dinners. We'd all gather at a persons house and everyone brought a dish of something. we'd hang out, play cards & have a few drinks. Each week we'd take turns as to whose house we'd meet up at. Going out to a birthday dinner is a bit different and you may have to bite the cost but going out to lunch with co-workers is costly. You have to put your foot down on that one. They aren't going to disown you over it if they are good friends.
@cute125 (101)
• Australia
19 Jan 10
I think personally there is some sort of disease like a going out disease. i seem very comfortable sitting at home doing stuff around the house. If Im invited to go out this dread and small panic arises. i dont know what it is but maybe its the way you have been brought up. I think making excuses is just a symptom of a bigger problem. Using money as an excuse is very poor form. If it was me i would be annoyed with you. Its only $20 its not really that much to be nice to someone else. i think its selfish not to go.
• Philippines
18 Jan 10
You could continue your plann, but in case of occassion situation you should join. To let the celebrant feel their importance in your presence.
@trisha27 (3498)
• United States
18 Jan 10
I think just being honest with your co-workers and friends is just the best thing to do. Just let them know, that you are trying to save up on your money and you don't plan on eating out as much. They should be understanding when you let them know that. If they offer to take you out and pay for your meal. Just let them know you'd rather not. I'm the same way in when people offer to pay for my meals and it become frustrating at times, but sometimes its just best to say no. My husband and I used to eat out alot as well and it does become expensive and too expensive for that fact and also unhealthy. I think just the best thing to do is make your own stuff. Sometimes you can make the same meals that you could get eating out on your own and it is just cheaper than that, then eating out. Plus its more healthier and you know what is going in your food.
• Canada
18 Jan 10
Hello Gogirl, Its not an easy situation. Im the same, trying to cook and not eat out at restaurants as much. I have 2 reasons for not going to restaurants. One is monetary and the other is for health reasons. The foods in nearly all restaurants have too much salt. Ive told my family the real reasons, that we're trying to cut back on spending and that I dont want anyone to pay for us. Ive told people that I work with that Im on a diet and its too hard for me to see all the foods and not eat it. You might tell them the truth if you feel comfortable with it or you can go and eat only a salad or the less expensive item on the menu.
• United States
18 Jan 10
GOGirl49 WHile excuses may last for a little while, I think it is better to come up with the truth to tell coworkers as this will happen again and again it seems. You could mention you worked up a budget, and saw how much money lunches were coming to a year.You decided to save that money for..ie a wedding, a new car,a home to buy..whatever you like. Maybe some of them will then stop and take alook at how much they are spending on lunches when they add it all up. Excuses that are not truth will come back to bite you eventually, so it is better to let them know the truth. sincerely arcticwolf PS When you are invited out to dinner; you could cook up something at your home instead and invite them over.
@satya4186 (280)
• India
18 Jan 10
ya ofcourse you are right and i will with you that if we will save money and utilize there if we want to take dinner or lunch with friend at restaurant so make the budget ofter we give the order at make launch.
@smileonstar (4013)
• United States
18 Jan 10
Hello, That's why I dont like to hang out with too much friends. Even my husband as well. My family eat out only when I want to eat out... everything is depend on me. But when my family member come over then we are mostly eat out. If I dont want to go, then I will tell them that I already have my dinner or we already ate. That's my excuse but if you keep doing this... then you will not have any more friends ask you out anymore. Are you sure you want to do that? well, I understand financial is important but the good thing is not pick up their call... then you dont have to take any excuse
@Rainegurl (2158)
• Philippines
18 Jan 10
I agree that you should be honest about your financial situation to your friends. Also, you have to be frank about the fact the you do not want them paying for you. If they are really friends, they would understand. I think we are in the same boat. My husband and I have this really good friend and we used to go out at least once a week for drinks. Now, I just could not anymore see the fun in spending that much and getting a hangover the next day. I tell our fried straight up that it would be too expensive for us to go out that often. He already knows that we are watching our spending these days. I know he understands and agrees that we, including him, have to save. Have a nice day!
• Canada
18 Jan 10
My husband and I are honest with people when we find something too expensive. Don't make excuses, just be honest. OK Hubby and I have done a few things recently (we spend $30 on two tickets at the A N A F to celebrate Robbie Burns night last night, and we spent another $10 today for the pancake spper at church next month), but most of what we do is inexpensive (that's a total of $40 for two meals for two people!!!) and most of the proceeds, once the cost of the meal has been ofset, go to charity. The pancake money after the food is paid for goes into the church, and the money we spent at the Robbie Burns dinner goes to support Canadian war vets, so we don't feel badly about that. Tonight I donated some points on MyPoints to Haiti. I figured that I may be short on cash this month, but I've got a load of points.