“Per diem” meal expenses are EXPLOITATION. $50 is not enough for a single meal at a hotel restaurant, let alone an entire DAY for food. Shifting travel costs onto your employees = evil. Yes i mad :<

likefunnyhelpfulsmart
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I think the OP has missed the point of a per down. It isn’t what you have to spend every day - it’s an average of the expense you will incur each day. Some days will be more, some days less. It’s an agreed rate - like your salary - that you are entitled to, so it’s not stealing from anyone. It doesn’t cover just meals, but also incidental expenses: the kinds of things you wouldn’t incur if you were at home. It was never intended to pay for a $25 hamburger and two $15 beers at that high-flying hotel, but it should cover the $13 one from Red Robin down the street, and those $5 drafts they have. Oh, and it is supposed to cover that Uber if you decide you don’t want to walk 2 blocks. You are better off thinking of the per diem like your childhood allowance: it’s yours to use as you see fit, whether you want to blow it all at a Ruth Chris on a baked potato or zip into a 7-11, grab a death dog and some ramen, and call it a day. Hell, you’d have plenty left for a $2 malt liquor that comes with a handy reusable paper bag to stash the breakfast items from tomorrow morning’s buffet for lunch. You can bank the difference and not feel bad about it. Me, I always eat reasonable, splurge once in a while, and generally come out ahead (if you ignore all this other non-business expenses that seem to come from being a road warrior long term).

likeupliftinghelpfulfunny

https://images.app.goo.gl/vD12w1Zn5xsWGBwZA.

I feel shocked and exploited Cotton

OP, we could argue about the right per diem threshold and never get agreement. I disagree with your assertion that per diem is “FLAWED” and is designed so people can pocket the difference. I have worked with a number of clients who prefer is to charge a per diem and don’t want actúalas. The reason is that per dimes are easier and cheaper to manage. They don’t have to track receipts, process invoices with line item expenses, or perform audits on those invoices.

I actually think the best way to do this is to understand what our costs are for expenses and build it into our rates for the project as a fixed fee and expense total. I have been doing this for a few years now and it has greatly simplified the whole thing for my clients and teams. Then we have an expense policy that we set for our teams to hit that number.

And in general, I think $50 a day for food and incidentals is in the right ballpark. We let our people go over, but they have to document it. If they don’t, they can keep whatever is under the limit. It is not meant to augment your salary but just take away the added food and incidental costs of being on the road. And BTW, many of our clients have disallowed alcohol as a reimbursable expense. So per diem at least let’s you cover that a little.

likeuplifting

OP you lost the last bit of respect with the alcohol thing. First you’re exploited and now you think prohibiting alcohol in actuals should be illegal. Newsflash: the bubble that you apparently live in isn’t inhabited by our clients.

But please, don’t pay attention to the discussion here where folks have tried to make reasonable points and patiently explain the rationale behind different expense policies. Keep the hyperbole coming. Sounds like you would be better off filing class action lawsuits as a profession than being a consultant...

likefunny
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Lol first world problems. I survive fine with $48 per day. You don't need to get drinks and apps with every meal...

likefunnysmart

D2 I think it keeps it simple. Different people have different eating habits - per diems average that out and give the decision making back to the individual.

If it was expenses based the incentive structure there is to max it out

Don’t eat at the hotel?

likesmart

C10 has also missed the point on how per diems works

likefunny

This is a hilarious post

likefunnyupliftinghelpful

Dude I usually make bank on per diem...

likehelpfulupliftingfunny

A16 - if you are in Boston, you are not trying very hard. I live there- there is public transportation and if you are in the city, you can walk to anything. Plenty of web sites for cheap eats.

Whew the entitlement

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Lol. OP do you even know what Stockholm syndrome is?

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I don’t know about you OP but I feel like this is going REALLY well

likefunny

Don’t go to the hotel restaurant???

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Many poorer folks would yearn for $50/day for food.

Consider getting hotels with in-room refrigerators and do some grocery shopping upon arrival. Then you also have more control of how healthy you’re eating.

likesmartfunny

Lol- Grocery Outlet and Trader Joe’s for the win!

Idk what you’re eating, a burger at the double tree is like $15....and if I claim dinner per diem (usually >$25), then I can pocket the difference.

likeupliftinghelpful

I can't think of a trip where I didn't make money off the per diem.

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Chipotle all the way

likesmart

Do you spend 500/week on dinner when you’re local? I spend 500/month . It’s about smart reasonable choices, not that your per diem should cover a $100 steak dinner. Lmao

likesmart

OP - You need to do some zero based budgeting!

Dude, when I was traveling, I banked serious cash with my unused per diem.

If you do it right:
Free breakfast in the lounge
~$9 sandwich for lunch
Free dinner in the lounge (I can make salad, chicken wings, and hummus into a nice meal!)

Bank $41/day

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@a22, they might provide it but that doesn’t mean I’ll always eat it :p (eg, allergies, personal preference, etc)

Now the firm needs to adjust per diems for your lifestyle. The entitlement.....

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Someone needs to buy OP a third beer...

likefunny

I DRIVE A DODGE STRATUS

likefunny

I AM A DIVISION MANAGER IN CHARGE OF 29 PEOPLE

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This is one of the snobbiest posts I've ever seen.

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No, says the guy that spends 80 bucks a week on groceries and packs his lunch every single day to save money. A good try though!

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Yes, let’s increase the daily amount for one-off reasonable exceptions - that’s how averages work 😂

likefunnyuplifting

The average cost of food per month for the typical American household is about $550. Note, household, not individual. Assuming 2.5 persons per household, that would mean $220 per person per MONTH. Yes eating out on a work trip is more expensive and yes you deserve nice nutritious meals, but your per diem is many times the average and should be able to cover most things.

Frankly I don’t even understand why alcohol HAS to be expensed by companies to begin with, even though my firm does expense it.

likesmart

$50 is a reasonable per diem in 2015~2018 (many companies set to $50 to my knowledge) but not any more in 2022; coffee + pastries = $8, lunch salad = $15, dinner has to fall below $27 - which doesn’t leave you with too many options in 2022 (if you think entree below $20 in most big cities - it means fast casual) IMO per diem has to go up to $60 if not $70 in light of inflation.

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