Americans Say This Is the Most Toxic Piece of Financial Advice They've Received

Many or all of the products here are from our partners that compensate us. It’s how we make money. But our editorial integrity ensures our experts’ opinions aren’t influenced by compensation. Terms may apply to offers listed on this page.


  • Restaurants commonly charge huge markups on the items they serve.
  • While it's far less expensive to cook meals at home, a new survey reveals the advice to avoid dining out isn't being well-received.

Have you been fed a similar line?

"If you were to take the money you spend on restaurants and invest it instead, you'd be rich enough to retire."

How many times have you heard that line, or something similar? If you're a fan of financial blogs, you may have read that eating at restaurants is one of the biggest budget-busters you'll encounter.

To be fair, there's some truth to that. Restaurants are notorious for charging significant markups on the meals they serve. A $40 entree at a high-end eatery is something you could probably prepare for $10 in your own kitchen.

But while the advice to avoid restaurants like the plague may be well-intended, it's clear those hearing it aren't taking it that well.

In a new survey by "I Will Teach You To Be Rich," a financial blog, "never dine out" ranks highest as the most toxic piece of financial advice Americans have received. But are consumers being too sensitive? Or are they onto something?

It's all about moderation

Dining at restaurants is something a lot of people enjoy immensely, and for different reasons. For one thing, it's an opportunity to socialize. It's also a chance to get a break from cooking, cleaning up, and having to plan out meals or hit the stores to buy ingredients.

Or, to put it another way, dining at restaurants is a treat. Eliminating restaurant meals completely may not be realistic.

As such, the advice to never dine out is pretty unhelpful. But might you consider dining out less frequently? That's a different conversation.

The reality is that if you're doing just fine financially -- you have a nice chunk of money in savings, you don't have unhealthy credit card debt, and you're on track to meet your personal financial goals -- then there's no need to cut back on restaurant meals if they make you happy.

But if you're struggling financially in any way -- your savings balance is dwindling, your credit card balance keeps growing, and you're nowhere close to meeting your goals -- then it may be time to consider cutting back.

Say you normally dine out three times a week. You might consider scaling back to once or twice a week to free up some cash -- especially if money is tight. Furthermore, if you're already deep in debt and can't keep up with your bills at all, then you really should consider pausing your restaurant habit until you're in a better place financially.

But should you commit to never dining out at all? That's probably unnecessary.

Set priorities

If you love dining out, then it pays to prioritize restaurant meals in your budget. That may mean having to cut back in another leisure category if funds are limited, which is reasonable.

But either way, there's no reason to feel guilty about dining out, and there's no reason to assume doing so will prevent you from being able to meet your goals, whether it's to retire comfortably or buy a home. While spending money at restaurants will mean not using that money for other purposes, it's important to enjoy life. And no one should be shamed into feeling otherwise.

Alert: highest cash back card we've seen now has 0% intro APR until nearly 2025

If you're using the wrong credit or debit card, it could be costing you serious money. Our experts love this top pick, which features a 0% intro APR for 15 months, an insane cash back rate of up to 5%, and all somehow for no annual fee. 

In fact, this card is so good that our experts even use it personally. Click here to read our full review for free and apply in just 2 minutes. 

Read our free review

Our Research Expert

Related Articles

View All Articles Learn More Link Arrow