The True Cost of Eating Out Instead Of Cooking At Home

Its often easier just to grab takeout or a restaurant meal instead of preparing a meal at home, but how hard does that convenient deliciousness hit your wallet (not to mention your waistline)?

The True Cost of Eating Out Instead of Cooking at Home

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It is 325% more expensive to eat a meal at a restaurant instead of cooking at home.

The average cost per person of a meal:

  • At home: $4
  • Restaurant: $13

Americans spend on average, 12.6% of their income on food.

The cost to eat at a restaurant has increased at a rate of 2.7% per year over the last 20 years while the cost of eating at home has only increased by a rate of 2.5%.

So eating at home is not only less expensive, it will become even more so as time goes on. There’s only one reasonable solution – learn to cook!

5 Simple Steps To Stop Eating Your Money


Step 1: Go Out To Dinner Less Often

Annual savings: $936
Eating out twice per week less over the course of a year could save you $936 per year.

Interesting fact: Over the last 10 years, retail food prices have outpaced the national average in these four large cities:

  • Pittsburg (8.91%)
  • St. Louis (2.27%)
  • New York (1.59%)
  • Atlanta (0.59%)

Step 2: Take Your Lunch To Work

Annual savings: $2,250
Average cost of eating out for lunch: $13

– Average cost of eating out for lunch: $13
= $9 savings per day
x 5 days per week
x 50 weeks per year
= $2,250

Bonus tip: Use the leftovers from the food you cook at home to eat the next day for lunch.

Step 3: Make Smarter Decisions When Eating Out

Annual savings: $500
It isn’t realistic to stop eating in restaurants completely, but you can make smarter decisions.

To reduce costs, try:

  • Skipping the drinks
  • Skipping the appetizers
  • Splitting a meal with someone else
  • Take home the leftovers

Step 4: Eat Less

Annual savings: $1,000
It seems obvious, but it really works.

Restaurants and grocery stores are masters of wanting you to buy the bigger size.

They play to your sense of fairness and value when offering double the size for just another 10%.

Deciding not to “super size” things can have an impact on your wallet and your waistline.

Step 5: Eat Leftovers

Annual savings: $1,050
70 billion pounds of food (25%-40% of all food) gets thrown into the dumpster in this country.

But you can repurpose food instead of throwing it out – the beans from today’s fajitas night can be tomorrow’s chili.

Conclusion:

These 5 tips can save you $5,800 per year, which is a huge number.

But if you took those yearly savings and invested them at 7% return (the average of the stock market), it would grow into into $362,199.87 dollars over 25 years!

Those little decisions to cook at home vs. eating out add up to life changing money over time.

1 Comment

  1. Lee Ann Bauer

    May 9, 2017 at 5:59 am

    We also only eat out at locally owned restaurants to support our local family owned businesses!

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