| June 10, 2015

Hispanics are Good with Money, but They’re Biting a Hole in their Budgets

41 percent of Hispanics admit they spend excessively dining out.

While Hispanics are generally cautious about spending money, a new survey by TD Bank seems to indicate they have one budgetary weakness: Restaurants.

That’s the surprising result of a study that polled 1,600 Hispanic adults about their spending habits. The good news for America’s fastest-growing demographic is their overall frugality on nearly every aspect of their lives. The bad news is they may be spending too much income on food costs because they love eating out.

“Hispanics are spending less than the national average, but they are still struggling to save money, with 43 percent wishing they could save more,” comments TD Bank VP Nandita Bakhshi.

Where many could save is by eating at home more often – 41 percent admit they spend excessively dining out, and not just for the food. It’s for the socializing with family and friends. NPD, a Hispanic market research firm, says 75 percent of Hispanics prefer eating at chain restaurants, compared to 62 percent non-Hispanic.

Another big difference:  40 percent dine out with children, versus 29 percent of non-Hispanics. So every outing costs Hispanics more than their non-Hispanic counterparts because more of the family is included on the same tab.

“Time is of the essence,” says Silvia Beebe, Assistant Director of Community Partnership of the Children’s Services Council of Broward County. “We Hispanics are acclimatized to the culture and we strive to achieve the same things as other Americans. Between the everyday activities, school, work, the football, soccer practices, it’s just easier to pick up something and eat it in the car. Sometimes there is just not enough time to prepare a meal.”

Earlier this year Sandelman & Associates, a food service consumer research firm, dubbed Miami the number one place in the country for fast food dining. According to the US Census Bureau, over sixty percent of the city’s population is of Hispanic origin.

“Price is a key factor,” Beebe explains. “You could probably feed a small family with five dollars at a fast food place. You can go to a supermarket and buy all the ingredients that will last longer, but for the necessity of eating in the moment, with $5 you can buy a lot of stuff on a $1 menu. That’s why they are so popular.”

In terms of differences between spending habits of younger and older generation Hispanics, Beebe comments that the difference is huge. While older Hispanics preferred dining at home, younger Hispanics are more inclined to try new places and new food. “We are more open to new information and new experiences.”

Other surprising results

  • 43% of Hispanics claim to sometimes indulge in impulse purchases because they feel they deserve it.
  • 15% overspend on shoes and clothing while 19% overindulge on coffee and lunches.
  • 64% agreed they would cut back on the costs related to restaurants and dining.

“Just having the desire to cut back is not enough. Financial goals can only be achieved by creating a budget,” states April Lewis-Parks, Consolidated Credit’s Director of Education and Public Relations. “As a rule approximately 15 percent of the household budget should be allotted to groceries and dining out. Therefore, for an average family making about $43,000 per year, 15 percent would be about $125 per week. So if someone spends $100 at the grocery store a week that would leave them with about $25 for dining out. To some this may not seem like a lot, but it all depends on your lifestyle.”

Since dining out is more of a luxury than a necessity Parks recommends limiting dining out to once a week. “Cooking at home a few times a week can save money and help you to maintain your budget. Fast food and pizza joints may seem cheaper but in the long run, your wallet and by extension your health will pay the price.”

Money Saving Tips

Invest in a Crock-Pot

If you are pressed for time, investing in a crock-pot can be a great solution. Throw in all your ingredients, put it on low and it’s done by the time you get home. There are numerous websites with tools and tips on how to save on food items, while staying on track with your budget.

Restaurant deals

You can get great deals on sites like Amazon, Groupon, Living Social, Restaurant.com, Yelp and BiteHunter. From $25 meal values for $10 to half-off dining, this is a great way to save. $20 for 2 deals are now very popular, so look out for these ads on TV, Internet and your local newspaper.

Decline drinks

They always get you on the drinks. Outside of Happy Hour, an average alcoholic beverage may cost up to $8 per glass. You pay $8 per glass on the same wine you paid $8 for at the supermarket last week. Have soda or iced-tea instead. Ask for water with lemon, it’s healthy, complements most meals, aids digestion and best of all it’s free at most restaurants.

Skip desserts

After a hearty restaurant meal, go for a stroll with family or friends; keep the conversation going. If you really want that desert, stop by your favorite pastry shop. There are usually better options for a fraction of the price you’d pay at a restaurant.

Dine In

Recreate the restaurant feel at home. Look up the menu of your favorite, expensive restaurant and recreate meals with your own flare. Dust off those old recipe books or better yet check out hundreds of recipe sites online. Doing it yourself will cost less, can often be healthier and will be much more appreciated by family and friends.

If balancing your budget seems impossible, we can help. Call Consolidated Credit today at 1-888-599-0741 for a free consultation with a certified credit counselor or get started now by completing an online application.

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