Eat on $40 a Day (are you kidding?!)

by Rocket Finance

Our family enjoys watching Rachael Ray’s program on the Food Network where she documents how she is able to experience the cuisine served in various tourist traps around the US and the world. For some reason, even my 4 and 3 year olds will sit and watch most of a 30 minute episode. My wife enjoys commenting on Rachael’s outfits and I enjoy the math of the program. Rachael gives all of her costs to the penny including tip and she sometimes adds a snack or extra beverage during the day – for which she includes the price – always less than $40. I also try to fool myself into thinking that someday she might give a negative review of a particular dish or establishment. Ray’s personality drives the show is she is comfortable in the medium.

The thing we can never get over, is how extravagant spending $40 in one day to feed one person seems to us. Granted, Ray seeks out mainly gourmet foods that are typical of the region that she happens to be visiting which drives up cost, but if our family used Rachel’s budget, we would be spending $200 per day on food while on vacation!

It seems shocking because my wife is typically able to feed our entire family on $10 to $12 a day. The even more remarkable fact is that I still manage to overeat . . Our family’s food choices are dominated by three factors: price, nutrition and taste. We usually try to feed our entire family of 5 for less than $40 a day when we are on vacation.

Now, there is a show!

  1. 3 Responses to “Eat on $40 a Day (are you kidding?!)”

  2. By plonkee on Nov 24, 2007 | Reply

    On holiday (vacation) I normally budget for 2 meals a day. About £5 ($10) for lunch, and about £10 ($20) for dinner. This is the cost of basic eating out in the UK. Obviously, when I go abroad things are typically cheaper, but I might have a snack as well 😉 . $40 a day sounds like a pretty average amount to me.

  3. By Lazy Man on Nov 24, 2007 | Reply

    I think $40 a day is about right. You have to factor in that she’s not eating at McDonalds. Also kids tend to eat less.

  4. By rocketc on Nov 24, 2007 | Reply

    True, I understand that she has a different goal. I often eat for $12 a day while on the road. The food I eat and the places I go would not make for a very good food network show.

    The bottom line is that frugality is relative. If I were given a $40 per diem (the standard business per diem) in the states, I would make money. And if we had to feed our family on it, we could do it, comfortably.

    I guess there is a little “sticker shock” for people like us. Just like when finance blogs discuss putting $4000 a year in an IRA – $4K is about 1/7 of our total income for the year.

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