• Frank Font

The Cost of Eating Out

Updated: Jun 16, 2021

In this post, I will discuss how much money you could save per year if you were to make your meals; I will consider seasoning prices but will not factor in cooking materials (In college, I was able to cook most if not all my meals with a small pressure cooker and pan which only cost $70). College students will find this helpful as it highlights the money that can be saved by making one's meals. I want to mention that I was raised in Cuba, where the main ingredient in most meals is rice. I state this so that someone does not say that I only picked rice due to its low cost. The information in the table is not hypothetical but a replication of what I eat per year. I will also be using the prices from Walmart Grocery, which is my go-to place and the location that I believe has the lowest prices; if you go to Publix, you are likely in the top 1 percent, so get out of here. I will also not use the dumb serving sizes located on labels and base the plates on how much I eat. Please consider that I weigh 195 lb; my height is 6'2, and I would say that I am lean. The price per plate will also include the cost of the seasoning that goes into making it. I will also estimate how much seasoning would need to be purchased for the entire year and the price.

Scenario One (What occurs in my household)

In my family we rarely purchase food from restaurants and the majority of the time we eat food from home. The closest we get to eating at a restaurant is ordering food to go from Lelo's BBQ.

I am not about to fill out the chart with all the possible combinations, as that would take forever, but what I will do is calculate what the average meal would likely cost and do some math with that. The most expensive meal I could create was salmon, rice, avocado, and black beans. I also took into account the seasoning to the best of my ability, and the total came out to $4.80. A lesser expensive meal would be rice, black beans, and bananas at $1.96. Therefore we will place the average dinner price at $3.38. That means that for a family of 4, you are wasting $13.52 every dinner time.

Scenario Two (Ordering Food Twice A Week)

I picked fast-food restaurants as they would be cheaper than going to a typical restaurant. The average of all the meals was $5.97. That is a difference of $2.59 from the home-cooked meal. Yes, I understand that cooking at home would take time out of your day, but let's be honest, when you are cooking, it does not require your attention 24 hours a. If we once again consider that it is a family of four, you are wasting an additional $10.36 every dinner time. If you then apply that to two times a week which would be Saturday and Sunday for most families, then you are wasting an additional $1160.32 per year. It might not sound like much, but once again, consider that you can place that money into an investment account. If we assume that you had kids at 27 and by 35, you start taking your kids out to eat at the above places, then by the time you retire, you will have an additional $46,404.

Scenario Three (Go To A Dine-In Restaurant)

This right here is the big boy league, the people that have some Benjamins. If we consider that the average meal prepared at a restaurant is $13 according to moneyunder30, you are wasting an additional $9.62 per meal. Again, we will consider that this is a family of four, so you are totaling an additional $38.48 for each dinner, but it does not stop there; we also have to take into account a 20 percent tip since the total amount is $52.00, that comes out to an additional $10.40. Now we are wasting an additional $48.88 each time you eat out at a restaurant. I will be fair and assume that they eat at a restaurant at least two times per month, 24 times per year, then you will have wasted an additional $1173.12, which is similar to last time. The argument some people will make is that restaurants make food that is better than what you can make at your home; all I have to say is that you must be kidding me. I would say that I am the worst cook in my household, and even I understand that the cooking at most restaurants is mediocre, no offense to anyone that works as a cook at a restaurant.

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