Budget Planning for Restaurant/Cafe Hunt Down - It's Not All About Money
May 12, 2016
Restaurant/cafe hunting is something that food bloggers & food lovers do frequently or occasionally. In fact, Everyone do, but putting the nice experience aside, cost is a pain but a must to endure.
It’s easy to be a food blogger like me, but it’s really difficult to keep doing it especially when I perform my weekly and monthly budget planning and realize how much I had spent only in food, restaurant, and cafe. But that doesn’t conclude that it’s always hellish when comes to hunting for nice food and place, and dining for gourmet feast.
There is no easy way or shortcut to counter this. And if you always opt for shortcut, it will be good for awhile but not for long, ya? Put some effort if you want to afford nice food while keeping your wallet happy.
Reality Talk: Save some money
We are living in the reality, isn’t it? As I say, there is no shortcut, you have to save some money like a week or two before you go for a nice feast.
How much you should is totally depending on your targeted food. That’s said, you gotta know where are you going for your gourmet meal at the designated date, like in one or two week later.
Don’t save a tons of it just to spend it all at one go. That’s allow you to enjoy a luxury meal for once and you have to stop doing that for a bloody long time.
Plan for a rough budget, like RM200, put that into your mind and remember that you need to save that amount before the date you are going for a feast.
If you want to have a feast after two week, set up a small plan to cut down on unnecessary expenses such as going for cafe, purchasing your favorite snacks, or eating something slightly expensive for lunch. You may go over after you save enough but before that, try to endure and not to spend too much before you able to reach your target.
In my usual restaurant/cafe hunt down, if I have a targeted place I want to go, I will keep that in mind and save some in my usual time.
It’s easy for me because I have my weekly expenses summary, I can see how much I had spent everyday, and I know how much I need to save to reach my target and how much I can spend after hitting my target.
If you don’t have one, you can use the conventional method: save it inside your piggy bank or drawer, it’s easy to know when you had saved enough.
If you want to try out different food places frequently, have this saving practice so that you won't have to deal with guilt frequently after spending on food.
Know the Cost
To know how much you need to save to have the food you want, you need to know the food place. It’s easy as you can get the menu of many type of restaurant & cafe in the internet nowadays like Zomato. You won’t need to go to their place to know the price.
Knowing the cost is something really common that most people do nowadays. But in this guide, you are not knowing the cost just to know how much you need to spend for the meal, you can do some planning to list down few foods that can fit into your budget and to order them during the visit.
Sometimes, it’s not just for main meal and drinks. After picking your main meal and drinks, you may notice there are some budget left for snacks and desserts. That’s a good time for you to consider trying more to fill up your gourmet experience.
Planning for a list of food to fit into your budget is better to be done before the visit. It can be quite a hassle if you do it during the visit because it may take a long time to think and plan. It can be quite convenience especially when you are hungry, and the waiter/waitress might standing right before you, waiting for your order.
If you wonder why sometimes people can order lots of foods at one go but still manage to not letting the cost burden them, it’s either they had planned their food list before the visit, or they just YOLO their money on whatever foods they want without planning.
It’s up to how you want to spend for your foods but cost wise, it’s always better to do things with a plan.
You can also pick the type of food that you want and calculate how much cost you need to consume those foods. Don’t forget to look out for GST and service charge as well.
Plan Your Way
Driving is the best option, but it’s not always the case if you think practically. If you drive frequently, I’m sure you understand the pain of unexplained-able and out-of-logical-sense traffic jam time to time and the cost of petrol down to drain.
Public transports have lots of bad reputation, especially when comes to waiting time. But you can save a lot of time and money if you know how to use them properly.
Do some homework, find out the best way and alternate road to reach your targeted food place. Try to identify some of the public transports that you may take on fully or partially on the way. Sometimes, you may want to drive your own vehicle until a certain place, get a parking and switch to public transport.
Troublesome? That’s depend on how you plan your way. Traffic jam, especially in the weekend, can eliminate more than half of your day and result in yourself being totally exhausted and that’s it for your day.
Don’t forget that petrol and parking cost should be part of your budget planning. But on the other hand, using the public transport effectively can save you lots of time and allow you to travel further.
Yeah, it’s always much more convenient just to use your own vehicle. If you are with other people, it will be difficult to expect others to follow your plan. But think about it, there are people out there who rely on public transports and able to reach a lot of food places, and I’m one of them.
But there are certain places that are difficult to reach by public transport. This is when you have to depend on your own vehicle and you really need to know how to plan your route.
Using Waze is convenient but after all, it's just a tool and based on experience so far, it's not too great in terms of figuring out the best route you should take. Sometimes a 10 mins travel could result in 2 hours because of over-relying on technology.
So, spend some time on Google Map, find out the best way you can use to save time and money. And don’t always think that own vehicle is the only option.
Know Your Appetite
I assume some people may “Huh?” on this subject. The thing about appetite actually has a good reason in how much you going to spend for a meal.
The most direct answer is nothing but don’t order too much of food that you couldn’t finish, and that’s result in food wastage and unworthy cost on your budget.
But it’s also common that you thought that you could eat more, but actually you are not the great eater that you thought.
After you decided on your food list, order the main meal and drinks first. Finish them before deciding if you want to order another item in the food list.
Sometimes you simply overestimate your appetite, but usually it’s just difficult to measure how full the foods can be because you are not the chef, and you don’t know the restaurant/cafe’s strategy especially if you are new to a food place.
Share With Friends!
Sharing the food with friends, and of course sharing the cost as well, help you to achieve huge tons of benefits. One of the best benefits and also the reason why this point occur in this topic is because it save lots of money.
Imagine ordering a heavy meal that cost RM50 for the portion of two person, which can be really costly and heavy for a single person. A RM50 meal can be divided to two person which is RM25 per person. You can also order more food and share among friends, and to share the cost equally. When you have more people with you, you can order larger variety of food, and do the cost sharing more.
If you are talking about a feast, just an ordinary meal and drinks defeat the definition of feast somehow. As you order more food, you might or might not pay more, but the important thing is you get to taste more food in the end of the meals, and you are not going to finish the food all by yourself.
This is also one of the powerful tools that food bloggers used to capture more food pictures and get to tell you their experience after tasting variety of foods.