A lot of people wonder, “Where did my money go???”; but the answer is usually pretty simple, they spent money on something they didn’t need to. For this weeks tip, It’s for those that may go out to eat often. It is nice to end a busy day at work and go out to eat, not having to worry about having the energy to cook. But this is a big culprit of budge sabotage! The biggest challenge with this is that the cost adds up quickly. The cheaper alternative is always to cook at home. You can save money by cooking at home, which adds up quickly
The True Cost of Eating Out
I’m not saying, never go out to eat, but more to be conscientious about it. The money adds up quick, even at McDonald’s. Figure about $5 per person (usually a minimum for adults), for a family of four that’s easily $20 or more (cost will vary depending if getting a kid’s meal or other factors). The average cost of cooking a meal at home can easily be done for under $10 per meal. So at least a 50% savings from fast food.
The savings goes up if you are eating at a sit-down restaurant, which the cost can be at least $12 between meal and a drink and goes up from there. Say you go out twice a week with a family of 4, the cost will be close to $100 per week. Where as if you cooked the meal it would be again around $20 for the week. Saving around 75%-80% (depending on meals, taxes, tips). If you refrain from eating out as often, you will save a lot of money over the course of the year; which can easily be over $1000 a year savings. It is easy to save money by cooking at home, but the savings will vary.
If you choose to cook
There are several options when it comes to this. One is to, quite obviously, cook that night. And the other is to do meal prep; for example, cook everything on Sunday and can reheat throughout the meals week. This is more if you don’t have picky eaters as far as Leftovers. I tend to do this with lunches because it is easier during the week to grab and go. Not having to worry about prepping more things during the week and wasting more of my time. Can get everything that I need done at one time. And only 1 tortuous day of clean up!
During the fall and winter months, we opt to do crock pot meals. Put everything in the crock pot that is needed, set it and it is ready when we get home that night. It makes it extremely convenient and saves a lot of money in the long run.
Going out is a great way to relax and not have to worry about the effort of cooking or dishes but at a cost. There is a lot of savings from cooking at home, especially if your used to going out multiple times a week. Again, I’m not saying don’t go out, but just pay more attention to how often you are going out. If you can reduce the number of times you eat out by 1 trip per week, a family of 4 can save close to $200 a month! That is a good chunk of change.