I have no idea how many calories was in lunch, but I'm think it had to be at least over 1,000. It cost $10.48 and breakfast was at 600 calories and at $1.30. It was the left over mac and cheese from the previous night. For dinner it was a quick 2 banana peanut butter sandwich for 85 cents and 885 calories.
I probably had a minimum of 2,500 calories and budget busting amount of $12.63. That put me over for the day by $6 and with the surplus so far I'm $4.33 over budget thus far this week. I've got to make that up in the next 3 days.
I didn't technically have to eat out with my friend who was in town. But I also did it to show 2 things. First, it shows just how much money we over pay at restaurants. We pay for the "atmosphere" which is fine and all, but when you really compare it to how we waste if we'd bought the food ourselves, it adds up to an incredible amount over time. Even for those who think they're eating cheap by going to a quick fast food place, it's still relatively expensive. One value meal could easily be your entire daily budget or 2 days worth depending upon what you eat. Not to mention it's way less healthy than if you cooked at home. Secondly, it also highlights how strict of a food budget somebody who makes minimum wage is on. One moderate meal eating at a restaurant can blow your budget for a few days. You have to pay very close attention to situations like this. However, the more that I've done this, the easier it gets because you get very good at seeing caloric value plays. Once you get it down, shopping and preparing food becomes an ease.
In many developing countries eating out is seen as a luxury. A celebratory occasion for the entire family to enjoy. In Western societies it's more of an after thought because we're too lazy or didn't plan adequately enough to cook food for ourselves. This demonstrates another example of how they're able to save a huge portion of their income, while not making much money. If you have a hard time saving money, look more into this area. A tip could easily be the amount for an entire day's worth of food.