I grew up in a small town, so I can completely related. Red Lobster was the fanciest place ever. The one part where I disagree is where justifying the expense of eating out is difficult. I always figured that if you were leaving the house anyway, you were going to spend money, whether you were bowling, seeing a movie, eating, or anything else. And while watching a movie might be fun, the alternative is probably free: watching a DVD at home, or watching Netflix, which is already paid for. But food you would have to pay for in some capacity. So eating out is simply spending a little more money on something that you had to buy anyway.