Beating the High Cost of Eating Out!

The cost to go out for lunch these days is rather high. For the two of us it takes a big chunk out of a twenty dollar bill, even at the fast food places. Some of you will say to stay at home to eat. We are out to prove that there must be some way to keep the cost down and still go out to eat.

Here’s what we came up with. Have lunch at Sam’s Club. It’s not a posh place. It’s clean and the seats are quite comfortable especially if you choose a table near a wall. Then you

Such bargains!

Such bargains!

also have a back-rest. Here’s the kicker, we get lunch there, for both of us, for $7.56. Oh, you can eat for less than that, if you’re willing to settle for one slice of pizza .But we really splurge and each of us orders the hot dog combo (which includes a drink), a berry sundae for my husband, and yogurt with chocolate syrup for me. There’s more too, one soft pretzel, lightly salted.

I know some of you will think that’s not a very healthy lunch, lots of calories and a hotdog, of all things! Well, this isn’t just a ordinary hot dog. It’s a Nathan Famous, all beef dog and we like them! For years we watched our diet, in fact, after my husband’s bypass heart surgery, we stayed fifteen years on a very low-fat diet. We were so very careful not to eat more than 10 percent fat, that our doctors bragged about us to other patients. Since then, the low fat diet is out of vogue and in fact it’s now no longer a good thing to do.

I’ve got to tell you, that we only do this once a week. Sometimes when aches and pains hit us, I’ll say to Burl, my hubby, “Do you think we’re going to make it?” His reply is always

Quite a spread, wouldn't you say so.

Quite a spread, wouldn’t you say?

the same, “We’ve already made it.” We’ve been around for a life time, but there is no one more concerned about staying well than me. Because I exercise daily, one of my sons asked, “How long do you want to live, Mom? ” The length of days isn’t that important to me, but the quality of those days is. So why am I eating hot dogs?

We’re not the only people liking Nathan hot dogs. Do you know that they are recognized worldwide for their unequaled quality and taste? Believe it or not, the year 2016 marks

How that for cheap food?

How’s that for cheap food?

their 100th birthday. It’s been that long since Nathan Handwerker, a Polish immigrant, started selling Nathan’s at Coney Island. In 1939, the president of the United States, Franklin D. Roosevelt, served Nathan’s Famous hot dogs to the King and Queen of England. Later, he had them sent to Winston Churchill and Joseph Stalin. That was their first international exposure.

Nathans hot dogs

The right way to eat a Nathan’s Famous!

We put onion, catsup, mustard and relish on ours. They say a purist won’t eat them that way. No, the all beef hot dog, in a natural casing, has to be cooked on a flatiron griddle, dressed with spicy brown mustard, sauerkraut, and griddled onions. That’s all. No relish, chilli or onions

I thought you might want to know what the ingredients are in Nathan’s Famous, so I looked up that information. Some of you may know what some of these ingredients are and they may help build your case against eating them. They contain beef, water, less than 2 percent of salt, sorbitol, sodium lactate, hydrolyzed soy, corn and wheat gluten protein, paprika, natural flavoring sodium diacetate, sodium erythorbate, sodium nitrite and they are packed in natural sheep casing to help seal in flavor. I heard one woman complain about the soy. She said the government was going to kill us all by adding soy to everything. Huh? I do know that they would not “sit well” with many of our family members.

So there we sat in air-conditioned Sam’s Club watching customers wheel out overflowing carts of every food product in existence and feeling quite proud of the fact that we had

That's what sat in the middle of their table.

That’s what sat in the middle of their table.

found the solution to cutting the cost of lunch by more than half. That was when a couple sat down at a table near us. They didn’t have any Nathan’s Famous dogs, in fact, they hadn’t placed their order at the lunch counter. Instead, they had walked to the back of the store and had purchased a rotisserie chicken. The man took a plastic knife and cut the tender, juicy, chicken in half and it made lunch for both of them.

I checked our receipt, yep, I paid $7.56. We finished our lunch, walked to the back of the store and there were 30 or 40 of those brown, flavorful, chickens roasting to perfection. The cost was $4.98 each. That was $3.00 cheaper than our lunch and perhaps healthier. Maybe we weren’t so smart after all. What do you think?

17 thoughts on “Beating the High Cost of Eating Out!

  1. Eating out has gotten very expensive, but it is nice to indulge on occasion. Nathan’s hot dogs are the best, and I like mine with mustard and relish on them. I have a friend with a daughter who works at Costco; and her daughter often eats one of the roasted chickens for lunch, while at work. Lol You’re right….it isn’t the quantity of our days that matters, but the quality.


  2. Well – I guess we could try the hotdogs…we pretty much stopped eating “dogs” when our young teenage children started calling them “cancer sticks.” 🙂 You do make the Nathan’s seem quite tasty! Have you ever eaten the ones in Wilkes-Barre from Abe’s? I never had them, but John says they’ve always been famous in the area.


  3. There’s just something about a hot dog that is satisfying no matter how you “dress it up.” Locally I like the hot dogs at Feris Lunch on Barney Street in Wilkes-Barre, right next to Abe’s. I think they are Armour hot dogs. The traditional meal includes 2 hot dogs with mustard & chili sauce (some like onions) a bag of BBQ Middlewarth chips and chocolate milk. My husband introduced me to Hofmann’s hot dogs out of Syracuse NY. They have been around for 130+ years and are now available at deli meat dept. at Wegmans and Gerritys, locally. I prefer their ‘Deli” franks in natural sheep casing. They have a “snap” when you bite into them. They are a combo of pork, veal and beef and more importantly have NO NITRATES or MSG! Hot Diggity Dog!


    • Good comment, Kathleen. Never tried the hot dogs next to Abe’s but Armour dogs should be good. I, too, prefer the Hofman dogs you refer to. Come to think about it, I like most all of them. I do appreciate the no nitrates in them and lunch meats. Why is it we pay more when something is left out, like “no sugar added?” Thanks for writing.


  4. Well, if inexpensive and fast are the main criteria, you can often find me in the drive-thru at McDonalds . . . Grilled onion and cheddar cheese hamburger (300 cal), yogurt fruit parfait (150 cal) and a large unsweetened iced tea = $3.00 . . . . And for supper, we very often pick up the Sam’s Club roasted chicken for supper and pair it with a bag of frozen broccoli with an orange for dessert! Yum and FAST!


  5. Joan and I enjoy Sam’s Club lunches too. She gets a pizza slice. I get a Nathan’s with onions, saurkraut, mustard, relish and a soda. We share the enormous soda. We skip dessert. I have to use a knife and fork to eat the hotdog since, with all the fixings, it is a larger diameter than my mouth.

    We find Sam’s rotisserie chicken provides two evening meals. Joan eats a half breast at each meal and I eat half the dark meat. Later we have a similar dinner.


    • We are definitely not the only ones eating at Sam’s. Today was our day there and I had to stand in a long line. Our Nathans were loaded with extras and I was tempted to eat mine with a spoon. Sounds as if you and Joan have learned how to eat economically. Thanks for the tips. Always good hearing from you.


  6. After a bit of thought, I can eat anything, anywhere, anytime. That said, I do think about what I pick to eat because when I look down, I want to be able to see my feet. Really, it is important to eat healthy and you are being a good steward of your resources. I’m sure most of us could do better with that part. Years ago, Nita and I drove to Red’s Eats in Wiscasset, Maine. I was really hungry by the time we arrived only to find out it was closed for the season. At that time we were not aware of the inexpensive and great meals served at Sam’s Club. I’m not sure where we ate that day but I’m sure we missed a wonderful experience at Red’s. You know how Nita likes to research and find great places when we travel. So, after leaving friends while in Conn. Nita says we are going to eat some of the best ice cream around today. I was ready for that ice cream. At that time we were traveling in our motor home and I drove and drove thinking the great ice cream would be around the next curve. Later I asked Nita if we were still going to get some of that ice cream and she assured me we would. I continued driving and my mouth and tummy was getting more and more excited. Finally, there it was, the ice cream place. Out in the middle of nowhere but there was a long line of folks waiting to get their frozen prize. I parked and we got in line. The ice cream was some of the best I have ever tasted and we sat in the shade savoring our cup of splendor. There was nothing to see for miles around but we did eat some great ice cream that day. Oh, just so you know, we drove 96 miles that day just to get there and I haven’t a clue how far after that to get to our camp for the night. The name of the place is We Li Kit Ice Cream. When you get to the map, click to back out to see the surrounding area. Nothing. We enjoyed you story, thanks.


    • You win, Ray, for having eaten at the most interesting places. I’m glad Sam’s is close to Sun N Fun. Driving 96 miles for ice cream… had to be the best ever.Thanks for writing, Ray. Hearing from you was fun, as always.


    • Hi Donna: I know how your family always impressed the kids with Santa’s generosity. I believe your dad was the Santa figure. I hope you get to the North Pole, maybe you’d better wait until Summer!! 🙂 Loved hearing from you.


      • Hi Donna: I loved hearing that two people very precious to me is enjoying Sam’s, too. I know you will enjoy Nathan’s Famous. Stay well and kiss winter goodbye. Thanks for writing.


  7. When our children were pre-school age…we went for lunch each day @ Burger King when they offered a salad bar. Because we came every day and from a distance of about 20 miles…the manager offered us a discount…so lunch for the four of us was about $2.50 a day. My husband and I still do breakfast out each morning for just under $10.00…and at least once each week a thoughtful and generous soul is moved to treat us in thanks to my husband and his service in WW2…we never know who it is…so we ask our waitress to thank them for us and we give thanks to God as well for moving them to do so. Eating out has always been our quality time together before we go our separate ways for the day. We do dinner out once a week…soup…salad…entrée…drink and dessert for under $20.00. I’ve never had a Nathan’s but I love hot dogs. Now I’m hungry for a Yocco’s…our local hot dog joint.


    • Hi Karen: I like the way you and your husband start the day. And it was great hearing how some folks appreciate your husband’s service in WWII. How wonderful our world could be. Thanks for writing.


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