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Omnivore - The value of a meal: how much is too much for dinner?

Would I spend my own money on this?

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Recently, in the course of eating for work, an uneasiness has begun to come over me when paying the bill. I've been eating professionally for a long time, and there's always the occasional meal that seems outlandishly or disproportionately expensive, but lately the bills at ordinary restaurants have disturbed me more than they used to.

I don't think it's that restaurants are getting more expensive. In fact, it probably has more to do with the economy than any change in pricing. Like most people, I am far more cautious with my money than I was a few years back. Without going into too much detail, the recession has had a very real effect on my family's finances, and luxury items are out, for the most part.

Of course, when I eat for work I am usually not spending my own money. I have a budget to stick to, and my dining is in no way unlimited, but I'm not under the same constraints as my readers. But when I've eaten out over the last few months, more and more I'm asking myself, "Would I spend my own money on this?" And more and more, the answer is no.