What’s Your Measuring Stick for Value?

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Over the weekend I went out to eat on two different occasions. The bills were significantly different, and so were the experiences.

Restaurant #1:

Vonnie and I visited a nice restaurant that came highly recommended, and has a reputation. The kind of reputation that usually results in people mentioning going there during Monday morning hallway conversations at work when asked if you and your significant other did anything special over the weekend.

Vonnie had butternut squash ravioli, a cranberry spinach salad, and a glass of wine while I ordered the shrimp and scallop au gratin.

Oooh, sounds fancy!

Except it wasn’t very good.  I love seafood, but I did not enjoy my entree, and I wasn’t satisfied because the portion was tiny.  With no appetizer, no desert, and me sticking to water, the bill still came to $50.

Restaurant #2:

We took our two kids and one of their friends to a local sports bar and grill that has some awesome daily specials.  Vonnie and I have frequented this restaurant a few times for $5 lunches, but Sunday’s special is “Power Hour” from 11am to noon featuring $1 for burgers, buffalo wings, and rail drinks. I suspect their goal is to get people to come in for lunch, and stay for the NFL games.

Between the five of us we ordered 2 burgers, 3 orders of buffalo wings, 2 baskets of fries, soft drinks for the kids, and rum and cokes for both the wife and I.

While we were eating, a touchdown was scored in the football game being shown on the big screen TV causing the restaurant employees to blow a super loud air horn. It startled my ten year old daughter Tori so much that she just about fell off her chair. We all laughed hysterically for what seemed like an eternity.

The bill came to $18. I loved my buffalo wings bathed in a delicious Jim Beam Buffalo sauce, and since my daughter didn’t even come close to finishing her ½ pound burger, the daddy trash compactor walked out of the restaurant completely satisfied.

I work hard for my money, and I want spending it to be worth the effort it took to earn. When I review our spending at the end of the week I want to feel good about every purchase and know that they have added value to our lives. I think I’ve found a new measuring stick by which to determine if a purchase or activity is worth opening my wallet.

I’ll simply ask myself the question, is this Monday morning hallway talk, or is this an air horn ready to blow me off my chair?


About Travis

8 Responses to “What’s Your Measuring Stick for Value?”

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  1. Catherine says:

    You should probably add a disclaimer not to read following post if you’re starving. Sounds delish.

    I would die for deals like that! While I love the odd nice meal out, pub food is yummy, cheap and usually good! Feeling good about purchases is so important. I need to start viewing all my spending this way..I sometimes feel guilty about eating out but it’s an event for my husband and I, who get no other satisfaction in life while paying this debt off (vacations etc) so after the meal if we enjoyed ourselves then I shouldn’t feel bad about it!

    • Travis says:

      I agree, Catherine, if it’s in budget, and you enjoyed the meal then you surely shouldn’t feel bad about it! I just hate spending money and looking back thinking I wish I hadn’t done it. The second restaurant is a new one in town (only open for a few months), and as you might expect, is VERY popular. 🙂

  2. I am very value conscious too. I only have a couple of expensive restaurants on my favorites list and they both offer a great bang for my buck, but not as much as my absolute fave. Our local Chinese restaurant offers the best House Special (chicken, beef, and shrimp with rice) for $4.85 with tax. I LOVE IT.

    • Travis says:

      That IS a great deal, Crystal – Now you’re making hungry because I love Chinese food. 🙂 There are restaurants out there with great deals, we just have to find them!

  3. Gina says:

    Our absolute favorite place to eat for the two of us, is a local (not a chain) burrito joint. Fresh made burritos with grass fed beef brisket, and all the trimmings, chips, salsa bar, and some homemade fruit tea,
    I could eat there everday. We both can eat all the above for 13.00. You just can’t beat the price.
    We noticed eating at Hooters before football game, burger and fries for $5.99 Mondays only.
    It always pays to check out a the website of the restaurants as well, some specials you may not know about otherwise, and coupons!

    We also always buy the coupon books the local schools sell, or Goodwill store sells Smart Cards.
    1/2 price or free food is always more delicious!

    Why did you not mention to the waiter that you didn’t like the dish, and send it back? You could have got something else.

    • Travis says:

      I didn’t send the dish back because I believe it was cooked correctly – it just wasn’t my favorite. I feel bad sending something back just because I happened to not think it’s not super awesome. Now, if they had messed it up, that’s a different story. That’s just me, I know there are people that will mention to their server if they just don’t like something, though.

      Checking out the coupon books/cards that the schools sell as fundraisers is a great idea, Gina – we do that too – the best one we found was actually a buy one get one free oil change. The book came with two of them which ends up being over $60 of value, and the book only cost $20! Thanks for sharing!

  4. Sofia says:

    Agreed. Now I am hungry and I think it’s time for an early lunch. Travis, how inclined are you to send food back? How bad does something have to be? Or is it only if there’s a hair in your food- or it’s cold? I haven’t sent anything back in a while myself. Sometimes I want to send dishes back bc it’s okay and edible but not worth the price that I saw on the menu. What if something is pricey, you order it and the portions are huge? Like Buca DiBeppo huge. Do you take it home just because you can- even if you didn’t like it? Feed it to you dog?

    • Travis says:

      Hi Sofia, I think I may have actually answered your question above before reading your comment – LOL. If I believe it was cooked correctly and I just didn’t like it, I won’t send it back. If they burnt the daylights out of it, or forgot part of the dish….back it goes. In this case I just had the wrong view of what it was….I was thinking a plate of shrimp and scallops with some sort of sauce over it. What showed up was a bowl of sauce with shrimp and scallops in a bath of cheese sauce. Exactly like scallop potatoes, only take out the potatoes and add the seafood. Looking back at the menu, it’s exactly as advertised, I just didn’t interpret it correctly.

      Oooh Buca….I LOVE Buca!!!!

      I always eat my food, even if it’s not that good. I’m a “always clean your plate” kind of guy. But in the case like Buca where you order family style – if something really wasn’t good and we had a lot left over, I’d just leave it there (ashamed). I could either let them throw it away, or I could take it home and throw it away.

      If I order something (or make something at home) that doesn’t turn out, I’ll eat as much of it as I can. But once something is relegated to “left over” status, I just can’t get myself to make the same mistake twice. 🙂

      Great to hear from you Sofia!!!

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