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Old 12-12-2011, 07:54 AM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic east coast
5,115 posts, read 9,411,192 times
Reputation: 9423

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Yep, groceries costs are rising...but the OP has looked at purchasing a pound of hamburger, six buns, chips and a liter of soda as over $10 and costing more than eating out as ONE meal.

However, a pound of hamburger can be four 1/4 pounder burger meals, and the chips and soda (costly for non-nutritious foods) could be instead be the makings of a salad (get bagged spinach, a carrot or two and a tomato)-- for four meals--which means each meal actually costs $2.50 and not $10. And quite a bit healthier.


That pound of burger, some canned kidney beans and a can of diced tomato with green chilies and a few seasonings could also be turned into a neat chili--add in some chopped green pepper for more veggie power. Serve over rice or barley and you've got probably 4-5 main meals for much less than you could eat out.

Hamburger and hot dog buns are pricey and, unless you get the whole wheat alternative, have empty processed calories...think more of combining your meat or poultry with vegetables and whole grain options--brown rice or barley or cous cous.

Soda? Empty calories, way too much sugar and it eats up your teeth. Me? I stick to water or a glass of good red wine.

It's neat to learn basic cooking so you eat frugal and healthy meals...and hint, hint, women love men who are somewhat handy around the kitchen and stove...

Last edited by LittleDolphin; 12-12-2011 at 07:55 AM.. Reason: typo
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Old 12-12-2011, 08:58 AM
 
Location: Pittsburgh
21,461 posts, read 22,692,102 times
Reputation: 45123
Quote:
I'm just curious to what everyone else does. Being single, I really don't see it being cheaper eating in versus eating out. I'm almost forced to eat out during lunch because my group of co-workers always try different eateries close to work. With tips included, I probably spend around $30-$40/ day for food. I never think this is unreasonable?
Just noticed this from the OP. So you're saying that you spend $150-$200/week on food just for you, and you don't think that's unreasonable? I'm single, and my grocery bill for the week is rarely more than $50. I bring lunch to work most days, and maybe eat out for dinner once a week, but still, that adds only another $30-40 to my total. If you've got the money to spend, that's fine, but I'd be freaking out if I spent $800 a month on eating.
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Old 12-12-2011, 09:55 AM
 
18,856 posts, read 30,440,508 times
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I was thinking about this on my way to work today... I went out Saturday night, had a bacon cheeseburger...it cost about $8.00 with fries. If I had wanted that same bacon cheeseburger at home, it would have cost $5 for the hamburger, $7 for the cheese, $2 for the tomato, $1 for the onion, $3 for the buns, $2 for the lettuce, $6 for the thick pepper bacon. Sure, I would have had leftovers, if I wanted to eat those things for the rest of the week. Or, they would have all gone over if I had other things going on...I don't like how frozen buns taste, or stale buns, so that would have been a complete throw away item. I did not even factor in the cost of fries at home, because that is a mess I don't do at home. So...in some cases, maybe going out is cheaper than eating at home...
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:30 AM
 
Location: Mid-Atlantic east coast
5,115 posts, read 9,411,192 times
Reputation: 9423
When I go out to eat I've come to realize it's more for the social part of it and not for the quality of the food. Some restaurant meals are cheap and for a reason--the food items (and I call it "food" loosely) are highly processed with lots of additives that sound like a chemical experiment. Wings with bleu cheese dipping sauce for example are mostly additives.

Have you ever been inside the kitchen of a restaurant's kitchen...? Yuck--most everything (except at a vegetarian or high-end place using fresh. local foods) comes in a huge can, a frozen slab or ready-made packs that are then nuked. That's how the costs are kept down.

Sure I eat out with DH and friends and have fun, but I'm not fooling myself that it's because it's cheaper than home cooking, but that it's fun to eat with friends--and not cook for a change.
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Old 12-12-2011, 10:48 AM
 
5,470 posts, read 8,160,530 times
Reputation: 7274
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
I was thinking about this on my way to work today... I went out Saturday night, had a bacon cheeseburger...it cost about $8.00 with fries. If I had wanted that same bacon cheeseburger at home, it would have cost $5 for the hamburger,
This has been addressed, a SINGLE burger would not... and frozen the remainder will not taste appriciably different.


Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
$7 for the cheese,
Only if you never bought cheese before, and were NEVER going to eat it again.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
$2 for the tomato,
Perhaps, this might go bad if you chose to let it do so.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
$1 for the onion,
Same as tomato, but MUCH less likely if you are cooking other things...

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
$3 for the buns,
Somewhat overpriced, but Ok... you need to learn to 'mannage to force yourself' to eat say 2 hamburgers within the week and you'll cut this in 1/2
(If you ABSOLUTELY REFUSE to eat frozen...)

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
$2 for the lettuce,
That's some expensive lettuce, and only assuming you THROW the remainder out, and don't do tacos the next day (With that hamburger meat), never eat a salad etc....

Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
$6 for the thick pepper bacon. Sure, I would have had leftovers, if I wanted to eat those things for the rest of the week. Or, they would have all gone over if I had other things going on...I don't like how frozen buns taste, or stale buns, so that would have been a complete throw away item. I did not even factor in the cost of fries at home, because that is a mess I don't do at home. So...in some cases, maybe going out is cheaper than eating at home...
...If you eat a POUND of bacon on your burger... I want pix!



As you can see, this is 'fake frugality' often used by those who want to continue the 'easy eating out' lifestyle.

...They fail to realize how much they 'work to eat' and what else they could do with that money!

Personally, I couldn't eat out that much b/c I cook better foods...

Oh, a MASSIVE amount of fries is about $0.60. Peel the potato, slice it up, and fry it... little trouble, and better than store bought!
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:03 AM
 
235 posts, read 393,931 times
Reputation: 550
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasper12 View Post
If I had wanted that same bacon cheeseburger at home, it would have cost $5 for the hamburger, $7 for the cheese, $2 for the tomato, $1 for the onion, $3 for the buns, $2 for the lettuce, $6 for the thick pepper bacon.
If you buy in bulk and freeze, then $5 of hamburger will make around ten quarter-pound burgers instead of just the one you got at a restaurant.

$7 of pre-sliced cheese in bulk is enough to make over 100 cheeseburgers easily.

$6 worth of bacon is good for what, at least 6 burgers or more?

The veggies you list are ones that most people have on hand already and per-serving are dirt cheap, I'm pretty sure nobody eats $2 worth of lettuce on one hamburger!

-------
Side note, here is a good tip for buying bulk hamburger.
We always buy 5-6 pounds at Sam's at a time, then we make every bit
of it into hamburger patties separated with wax paper, then we freeze all of them. If you want hamburgers, just take out a few the day before. If you want ground beef, just brown it and you are ready to go!
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Old 12-12-2011, 11:04 AM
 
2,282 posts, read 3,121,183 times
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OP, invest in a slow cooker. I am about to purchase one myself. You just throw whatever you want in there, and voila, you have a meal that will be ready for you when you get home from work. I agree that it's a hassle to prep meals, but it's definitely a lot cheaper to do it yourself. Anytime I go out anymore, I'm looking at a $15-$20 (w/ tip) tab at the very least. Just two days worth of eating out could be an entire week's worth of groceries for me. Plus, it's usually healthier to prep your own meals.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:09 PM
 
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
16,416 posts, read 25,194,987 times
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Interesting thread guys, I too am a single college student working full time, which makes it really difficult for me to find time to cook, often I go straight from school to working, but it is definitely killing my budget and I am going to go to much greater lengths to start cooking and eating leftovers.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:14 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,486 posts, read 14,918,052 times
Reputation: 3919
Wow I never knew my thread would garner this many responses!

Am I trying to justify eating out for basically every meal? Maybe a bit but it isn't my intent.

MANY of you have absolutely EXCELLENT tips for eating-in cheaply and I do THANK YOU for those. I really do appreciate everything.

A lot of you seem to be very healthy eaters which is good. I've always tried to balance between healthy food and...not-so-healthy food but it's often an uneven 20/80 split. I don't necessarily eat a lot of "junk" food but I eat food that is full of calories. I've never been big on fast food but I do like good food.

Maybe my thought process is different but it seems quite a few don't mind eating the same thing for two nights in a row which is fine but not for me. I decide where to eat based on what sounds good for the nightly meal- if I just had steak the previous night, I'd rather have something different the next night. Sometimes blackened salmon sounds good, sometimes I want prime rib, other times I want alfredo, etc. I enjoy grilling outdoors so I do tend to buy meat and fix it at home but have you seen the price of a good ribeye or new york strip lately? I can get a good 12 oz steak with a big baked potato, side salad, and soda for a comparable price of making one myself.

Quote:
I was thinking about this on my way to work today... I went out Saturday night, had a bacon cheeseburger...it cost about $8.00 with fries. If I had wanted that same bacon cheeseburger at home, it would have cost $5 for the hamburger, $7 for the cheese, $2 for the tomato, $1 for the onion, $3 for the buns, $2 for the lettuce, $6 for the thick pepper bacon. Sure, I would have had leftovers, if I wanted to eat those things for the rest of the week. Or, they would have all gone over if I had other things going on...I don't like how frozen buns taste, or stale buns, so that would have been a complete throw away item. I did not even factor in the cost of fries at home, because that is a mess I don't do at home. So...in some cases, maybe going out is cheaper than eating at home...
I think you think the way I do. I may not USE everything up at once but I still have to purchase it all and in many cases, I won't get to using the rest before it starts to go bad. I can freeze a bunch of hamburger but meat can get freezer burn if not used within a few days and things like buns, tomato, onion, lettuce, etc can all go bad if not used fairly soon after being opened/cut up.

Quote:
Just noticed this from the OP. So you're saying that you spend $150-$200/week on food just for you, and you don't think that's unreasonable? I'm single, and my grocery bill for the week is rarely more than $50. I bring lunch to work most days, and maybe eat out for dinner once a week, but still, that adds only another $30-40 to my total. If you've got the money to spend, that's fine, but I'd be freaking out if I spent $800 a month on eating.
Give or take. I never think of things like that- they end up sounding pretty bad. It can vary though, some nights all I want is a simple sub sandwich for $6 and some nights I want prime rib. Just depends on how hungry I am.
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Old 12-12-2011, 12:25 PM
 
3,321 posts, read 3,562,039 times
Reputation: 4119
Hamburger does NOT get freezer burned if not used "within a few days". We buy 1/2 a beef at a time for the 2 of us! it takes a YEAR to go through that, if not longer!
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