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Why we may never eat out again…

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hahaha! Ok, yeah right! There is no way we will never eat out again. I don’t like cooking that much, I don’t care how you spin it… but I did some interesting figuring:

A few years ago I overheard a conversation in which someone swore it was cheaper to eat out at restaurants like Longhorn Steak House than cook meals at home. I was shocked. It is impossible that this is true. I was reminded of this conversation when I bought dinner for Simeon and I at Chick-Fil-A recently. I ordered the basic meal without up sizing. I ordered him the least expensive kids meal. Our total was eight and some change. Eight dollars??!! For one meal??!! I don’t know what made me suddenly surprised, but I was.

Today I went grocery shopping and bought the ingredients for one of my new favorite meals. I walked out of the store with several meals: dinners & lunches for 30 bucks, so I decided to do the math. I’m using my broccoli potato soup.

Potatoes .65 (These came in my produce box, for which I paid $10 total

onion .65

4 cans low sodium chicken broth 3.36

4 cups sharp cheddar shredded cheese 3.68

1 large bag frozen broccoli cuts 1.74

I also use olive oil and garlic, but those are staples in my pantry, so I don’t count the cost. My total so far: $10.08.

I serve this with crackers. The price varies by pack, but the average is around $3.00

This meal feeds 8 people, so $13.00 for 8 people. Way less than $8.00 for 1 1/2.

But, let’s assume that it’s worth it to eat out so that you don’t have to do the work. If you were being paid $20/hr. This meal takes about 15 min. of prep. Let’s add another 15 for setting the table (if you do) and loading the dishwasher, or packaging leftovers. That would be $10.oo for your time.

Now the total cost of the meal, including your salary is $23.oo You are still feeding eight people. The total per person? $2.88! That’s right $2.88!!! For two adult meals out it costs about $12, for two adult meals at home is costs about $6!!!

And this comparison is between a fast food restaurant and a home cooked meal. The difference in cost between casual dining and a home cooked meal seems astronomical. So cooking at home IS cheaper. By half…. and that’s if you’re paying yourself. It’s nearly a quarter of the cost if you count food alone. And it’s healthier to boot!

I’m glad I did this exercise. I was getting lazy about cooking at home, but not any more! I’d be interested to see what you guys do. Compare a recent dinner out with one you make at home and share the costs.


About Monica

Christ following, husband loving, children hugging foster and adoptive mama.

One response »

  1. It is possible to eat out for about the same cost as eating at home BUT you have to watch where you go and have to be smart about your ordering. I can feed my family of 4 with chinese food and have leftovers for $7.80. I can also feed my family at Wendy’s for less than $7 or pizza w/ leftovers for under $6. It is possible to eat out inexpensively, it just takes a lot of preparation on your part in determining the most inexpensive way to order your food.


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