$4.99 Mac-n-Cheese


I had an IHHE Moment this weekend.

My family traveled up to Burlington, NC to teach the Financial Learning Experience.  We arrived on Saturday evening and went out to get dinner.

My lovely bride spotted a restaurant that does not exist near our home, so we went there.

It did not go well.  It was 8:00 PM, but we had to wait twenty minutes to be seated.

I took one look at the menu, and began to employ my hero, Paul Marshall's method of choosing what to eat.  I looked for the cheapest item on the menu and decided it was palatable.

This place sells hamburgers.  HAMBURGERS.  But not just any hamburger.  They sell $10 hamburgers.  What a RIP-OFF!

And then I see that the kid's menu has mac-n-cheese for only $4.99.

ONLY $4.99.  I can buy AT LEAST twenty BOXES of mac-n-cheese for that amount of money.

I suffered through the experience.  And, NO, I did not let my daughter order the ridiculous, outrageous, enormous, cruddy, massively overpriced mac-n-cheese.  She had to share my $10 burger.

What a rip-off.

I am really sick of being ripped off by the so-called kid's menus at restaurants.

Who's with me?

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  1. Dogatemyfinances on February 18, 2008 at 7:00 am

    They still have to pay the cook, the rent, the power, the dishwasher. More expenses than the box.

    I love eating out, and will pay for that service because it has value to me. If it doesn’t have value to you, or you can’t afford it, eat at home.

    That doesn’t make restaurants a “rip-off” because they are trying to make money off a service people value.

  2. chris on February 18, 2008 at 8:46 am

    To a point I agree with the above.

    Many restaurants go out of business, because they can’t meet the expenses of running the business. Even when selling $10.00 burgers.

    Every time I see a new restaurant start up, I think of Joel Maxwell. If you’re not aware of his story, go to joelmaxwell.com

    It appears that there was not shortage of people lining up to get ripped off if you had to wait 20 minutes to get a seat.

    We dine out only when we have budgeted for it and it is a date for us. Also, we tend to take weekend trips and stopping to eat somewhere new is one of our budgeted treats.

  3. Mandy on February 18, 2008 at 12:51 pm

    Well, to be a little more positive I would like to share some of my experience in eating out with my children.

    Cheap Eat Outs – MckyD’s has a great double cheeseburger meal that splits nicely between 2. Then I can either spend the extra $1 & buy a milk or get a free water. Works for us.

    Reduced Expensive Eat Outs – I can get a burger or chicken meal for us to split & add a salad (for me) and then I pull the trick….I have “found in my research” that if I order water my child is still at a stage that she will ask for the same. So I beat her to it & ask for water. This usually saves at least $1.50 a piece. (Even the kids drinks range that high as you know!). So, yes it is expensive, but not AS expensive.

  4. Blythe Adams on February 18, 2008 at 5:00 pm

    My husbands Aunt owns a Resturant in Burlington and so does his cousin. Next time I can get you a free meal.

  5. Brian Baute on February 18, 2008 at 7:49 pm

    Blythe, I live in Burlington – can I get a free meal?

  6. Jay on February 19, 2008 at 12:38 am

    A couple of things here. First, your system has allowed me to get almost completely out of debt. However, I still have NO problem going to a place like Sullivans and spending 75 dollars on a meal for my wife and I. That is budgeted for. I think there is a balance between being to cheap and enjoying some of the finer things in life–paid for with cash of course. I have a friend that runs a resturant and it has hard to make ends meet. Everything in business is up. So Hey, if they can make 1000 percent profit on Mac and Cheese then so be it.

  7. Minimum Wage on February 19, 2008 at 4:30 am

    Twenty boxes for $4.99, I’m jealous. The cheapest I can find here is three for a dollar.

    One store used to be 28 cents until a few months ago wqhen it went up to 38 cents, another store has stasyed at 3/$1.

  8. Mark on February 19, 2008 at 7:11 am

    It’s even worse when your kids don’t even eat it. That’s when I get EXTREMELY frustrated. We’ve gotten to where we just share with our kids too so there isn’t so much waste left on the table – because when I see wasted food I see wasted money.

  9. Joseph Sangl on February 19, 2008 at 7:13 am

    Sangl says …

    I appreciate the comments, but none have persuaded me to spend $4.99 for mac-n-cheese.

  10. Alan B on February 19, 2008 at 1:22 pm

    “My lovely bride spotted a restaurant that does not exist near our home, so we went there.”

    That statement alone is worth the $4.99 mac-n-cheese.

    Do you really want to disappoint the lovely bride?

    Ok, next time try a few recipes from this…


  11. Joe too! on February 19, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    Not Sangl says…

    Suck it up and deal with it! You must not have been too worried about it when you went into the place. I’m sure with your salary at NS, all the seminars you give and sales from your books you could have afforded to cough up $4.99 for the mac-n-cheese. Next time how about asking to look at the menu before you commit to sitting down or do some research before you head out of town :o)

  12. Woolie on February 20, 2008 at 12:43 pm

    I guess you didn’t have to do any dishes, did you? There’s a reason why things in restaurants are more expensive.

  13. Chris on February 21, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    Wow – I didn’t realize the pro-mac-and-cheese crowd was so hardcore!

  14. If I had a Million Dollars (Linkified) on March 12, 2008 at 5:57 am

    […] If I had a million dollars – We wouldn’t have to walk to the store If I had a million dollars – Now, we’d take a limousine ’cause it costs more If I had a million dollars – We wouldn’t have to eat Kraft Dinner But we would eat Kraft Dinner – Of course we would, we’d just eat more And buy really expensive ketchups with it – That’s right, all the fanciest ke… dijon ketchups! Mmmmmm, Mmmm-Hmmm […]

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