Americans blow more money dining out in the summertime than the rest of the year, a new survey finds.
This summer could burn a hole in your pocket.
Americans are expected to spend an average $305 more on socializing this season than they do during any other time of the year, according to a new Capital One report, which found 87% of us drop more dough once the temperature rises.
Going out to eat is taking the biggest bite out of most people’s budgets (65%), with millennials in particular (77%) treating themselves to restaurant dishes more often now compared to the rest of the year.
It’s often too hot to cook comfortably at home — and summertime staples like wine and lobster are expected to be more expensive this summer. Lobster rolls are crawling closer to $50 apiece this summer due to bad weather plaguing New England fishermen, with whole hard-shell lobster prices running up to $16 per pound this spring compared to $7 to $10 per pound last year. And since wine production shriveled up across Europe and South Africa, also largely due to weather-related causes, basic Italian wine prices jumped 74% over last year, while wine prices are also up 45% in Spain and more than 10% in France.
Worse, U.S. gas prices are expected to guzzle an average of $3 per gallon at the pump this summer, according to AAA, which reported that gas prices jumped 12 cents over two weeks running up to Memorial Day weekend, raising the national average to $2.93 a gallon — the highest price point going into the the unofficial start to summer since 2014. That impacts transportation costs to and from restaurants and vacation hot spots — as well as the cost of delivery for those essential ingredients, which can get passed onto your plate.
And if you’re going on vacation, just over half (51%) of Americans planning to take a trip this summer expect to spend $1,000, with nearly a quarter (24%) bracing to drop more than $2,000 on vacay, according to a recent Bankrate.com survey.
Financially savvy foodies and travelers can minimize the damage by putting their dining charges on a rewards card to earn cash back or points to put toward travel. Almost half of Americans (46%) and 65% of millennials told Capital One they have chosen to go out to eat specifically to earn rewards points or cash back, and almost three in four millennials (74%) — and 58% of Americans overall — admitted they picked up the check not out of the kindness of their hearts, but to get extra credit card rewards points.
Still, more than half of us (54%) would prefer to treat our friends and families to a meal by holding a dinner party in our homes, which it’s much easier to stick to a budget — although the Capital One survey also noted that more than two in five hosts admitted to buying restaurant food to pass off to their guests as a home-cooked dish.
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