Tracey & I enjoy going out for meals, don't get me wrong, but we enjoy it more without the kids. Sometimes we'll sit, childless, at a nice restaurant staring into the middle distance just enjoying the novelty of being able to finish a thought.
Plus, if we take the whole family, we tend to ruin the evening for the other diners - it's hard for people who aren't use to eating in a war zone to carry on a conversation with our mob all talking at once and demanding dessert for their main.
Taking our lot out for a meal can also be very draining on the purse. And it's the drinks which can really sneak up on you in a restaurant: just a single soft drink can cost $3.50. Well we need twelve of them for the two hours we're ordering, waiting for and eating our two coarse meals, so that's $42 before the food bill.
Even this morning we went along to the markets to buy some fresh fruit and vegetables and would have needed to fork out $30 to fed everyone a sausage on bread ($5 each for a bratwurst!). Instead we came home and cooked up American hot dogs for the tribe for a grand total of $7.50 (or a more reasonable $1.25 each).
Markets can be a great place to save on fresh produce, if you know your prices. After buying a heap of fresh pink lady apples, lady fingers bananas, mushrooms, capsicum, lemons, limes, cucumbers and a pumpkin we let the kids buy themselves a little bit of junk from a stall - costing a big 20c each.
Then we stocked up at the local supermarket, buying enough meat for two dinners, two lunches and three breakfasts, and enough yummy snacky stuff (like cheeses, dips, chips, salami's, kabana's and biscuits) to sink a battleship. We'll be eating like kings over the weekend - not real kings with their foie gras and sturgeon caviar, but certainly up there with my old mate Rob King and his family.
Total was $100, which is less than what it would cost us to eat just one meal at the local pub. Is it any wonder we don't do go out to dinner often.