Duh you say. Seems pretty obvious, right? Well some will claim that eating out can be cheaper than cooking at home. Really, they will. I've heard people say it, and I've read it on financial websites. Setting aside the nutritional disaster that are fast food and restaurant meals, is there any truth to this? Well no, at least not for us. Let's take a look at it, using my family as an example.
12 of our kids still live at home. At any given time there can be up to 14 people to feed per meal. Let's assume that 2 of the kids are absent from each meal per day; eating at friends, away, working, at classes, in the county lockup etc...
So that leaves 10 kids + 2 parents. I should mention that 8 of the kids are eat-anything-that-isn't-tied-down-and-a-lot-of-things-that-are boys, not that the girls are shy about packing the food away.They are their mother's daughters.
12 mouths x 3 meals per day x 30 days in a month = 1080 meals per month.
We spend $1400 per month on food (2012 data), that works out to $1.30 per meal. Or $3.90 per person per day.
That $1400 per month includes drinks and snacks, and any eating out that we do. Not to mention that my overly-social bride loves to have company over. These are nice meals too. I'm not talking Ramen noodles.
Now do you really think you can feed yourself for that when eating out?
Rough Average Price per Meal at some well known eatery's.
McDonald's (not really edible food, but lets count it anyway)
$3.50 per meal = $3,780 per month
Starsux, Dunking Donuts. Coffee and a Pastry
$4 per meal = $4,320 per month
Apple-bee's, Chili's, TGI Fridays etc....(they are all the same)
$10 per meal = $10,080 per month
$20 per meal = $21,600 per month
I'm not including tip and taxes in the eating out figures.
Yeah, I know most people aren't eating out every meal. But you get the point. Eating at home saves money. Lots of money.
As you can see we crush the eating out options. Even if you were to get 2 items off the Dollar Menu at McFatties, we would still win.
Lot's of people like to complain to me about never having enough money, even though they have good paying jobs. These are the same people eating out 3-5 times, or more, per week. Take a good look at your eating habits. Your wallet and waistline will thank you.
Sure we eat out occasionally. Sam and I go out for lunch on the 20th of each month, we were married on the 20th. I take the kids out on their birthday's, one-on-one. We usually go out to eat once or twice on our yearly trip to the beach. But that's about it. We never stop for fast food cause we are running late or didn't plan a meal. We plan out our meals ahead of time. And since we buy sale items in bulk, there is always food in the house. We don't stop for slurpee's at 7-11 after the kid's soccer games. Or for a cup of coffee on the way to work. We don't run inside to the food shop while we are pumping gas and buy over-priced junk. Listen that is fine if that is the way you want to live. It's your money and totally your right. But no one wants to hear your whining about not having the money to pay your bills each month. I don't care and I don't feel sorry for you. Get some help. Go on a fast. Cut up the plastic. Do something.
So eat out a lot if you want. But the cost can be pretty high.
And remember to never waste food. Even watermelon rinds have uses.