News Flash: Millennials Dine Out a Bunch, but Here's Why That's OK

News Flash: Millennials Dine Out a Bunch, but Here's Why That's OK

For every meal I’ve prepared at home this week (if you count ramen noodles as a meal) there’s another where I’ve splurged with a much-more-appealing bite out. And while it’s perfectly healthy to indulge in your favorite sushi joint now and then, a new study shows that we millennials may be taking it too far.

The average millennial orders take-out or dines at a restaurant a whopping five times a week, reports the Bankrate survey, and 54% admit to eating out at least three times a week.

Their older counterparts reported significantly lower rates, with just 33% of Gen Xers and 32% of Boomers dining out at least three times a week.

The research also shows that 29% of millennials buy coffee at least three times per week, while 51% go to a bar at least once per week. These may not sound like huge expenses at face value, but bottom line: That’s a lot of money on food in just one week. And I can speak from experience as someone who’s been surprised by how quickly a few Starbucks drinks add up.

But before you sharpen your pitchforks and get ready to tear into millennials once again for their lifestyle choices (looking at you, Gen Xers and Boomers), let’s take a step back. Just because someone dines out more often doesn’t necessarily mean they can’t afford to do so. While I personally tend to eat out more than the average American in this study, I also track every dollar and make sure to spend less on other expenses to even out my budget.

Here at LearnVest, we promote the One-Number Strategy for budgeting, meaning that once you account for your fixed costs (like rent), your financial goals (like retirement) and your non-monthly expenses (like annual insurance premiums), whatever you have left over, known as your flex spending number, is yours to spend as you please.

Of course, if you find yourself going over budget to accommodate your daily Seamless orders, it’s time to re-prioritize. Check out just how much money you could save in a year by brown-bagging your lunch for a little motivation. And if the sound of a $14 cocktail makes your bank account quiver in fear, consider a night in with some affordable (and tasty) canned wine instead.

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