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Old 12-08-2011, 09:35 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,487 posts, read 9,472,559 times
Reputation: 3722
Question Cost of Eating in VS Eating out for single or married w/o kids

I'm currently single...sort of. But I usually eat most of my lunch/dinner meals by myself and I think I've come to the conclusion that it's cheaper for me to eat out than it is to buy groceries for myself and make something.

I usually eat out at lunch time as a given because I'm at work, usually myself and a few co-workers go somewhere nearby for a bite.

I was at the grocery store tonight and noticed how much things have seemed to gone up in the past few weeks. I was pricing out what it would cost me to make a simple meal- pound of hamburger (smallest size), 6 hamburger buns, some chips, and a 2 liter of soda...the cost easily exceeded $10. I could easily eat out on that if I wanted.

Being single and even when I was seeing someone, I found it fairly pointless to cook a meal for one or two people. The prep, cooking time, the mess/cleanup...just isn't worth it for one or two.

Once in a while I just want to go home and crash so I skip supper and just munch on whatever I have, but usually I go to a few local restaurants for whatever I'm in the mood for. For a burger/steak/pasta/whatever sounds good plus a Coke, I usually eat for less than $20 (plus tip).

What does everyone else do if you're single or married w/o kids?
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:43 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
38,729 posts, read 34,398,394 times
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I cook everything more or less from scratch. No convenience foods. I eat healthy, wholesome, well-balanced meals. I eat in for about $80 a month. That's the price of a delivered pizza every four days.

Does that help you to make a comparison?

Yes, it takes some of my time. If somebody was offering to pay me to do something else during that time, I might be tempted, but nobody is offering.
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:50 PM
 
5,023 posts, read 2,611,375 times
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I'm married, and we cook most of our meals. We also eat "pick-up" meals, consisting of things like ham & cheese rollups with raw or pickled veggies on the side. Tonight, I made a simple stir-fry, using one chicken breast & veggies, and I roasted the rest of the chicken breasts for use over the next few days.

It's still more economical to eat in, and it is even more economical if you can cook a few bulk meals and freeze in portions. Things like chili, lasagne, spaghetti sauce, and beans (soup, etc.) do well this way.
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:52 PM
 
15,580 posts, read 9,302,328 times
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The difference in cost is huge. Eating out will kill your budget.
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:58 PM
 
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I do both. Cooking I enjoy, so cook enough to freeze a portion or two for another day. Soups and stews freeze well, portions of lasagna or plain pasta that I can use later with a quick sauce. Always have frozen veggies for a quick side.

But I also enjoy eating out... and trying new foods. Usually eat out for lunch, cheaper than dinner of course, take home leftovers to add to another meal. I avoid ordering foods that are inexpensive to buy/cook but make the dining place lots of $...like pastas, salads, Mexican etc.

I order foods I would not cook at home or that might be complicated/ too many ingredients to make it worthwhile: fish dishes, Indian meals, etc.

Some will say it is never cheaper to eat out than cook, but some items can be less expensive ie if you are not stuck with lg amts of foods, ie huge stalks of broccoli when you just wanted one serving. (no cooking/clean up is a big benefit too)

Write down all you spend when eating out for a week and then see where you are....you might decide you like cooking after all!










Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedyAZ View Post
I'm currently single...sort of. But I usually eat most of my lunch/dinner meals by myself and I think I've come to the conclusion that it's cheaper for me to eat out than it is to buy groceries for myself and make something.

I usually eat out at lunch time as a given because I'm at work, usually myself and a few co-workers go somewhere nearby for a bite.

I was at the grocery store tonight and noticed how much things have seemed to gone up in the past few weeks. I was pricing out what it would cost me to make a simple meal- pound of hamburger (smallest size), 6 hamburger buns, some chips, and a 2 liter of soda...the cost easily exceeded $10. I could easily eat out on that if I wanted.

Being single and even when I was seeing someone, I found it fairly pointless to cook a meal for one or two people. The prep, cooking time, the mess/cleanup...just isn't worth it for one or two.

Once in a while I just want to go home and crash so I skip supper and just munch on whatever I have, but usually I go to a few local restaurants for whatever I'm in the mood for. For a burger/steak/pasta/whatever sounds good plus a Coke, I usually eat for less than $20 (plus tip).

What does everyone else do if you're single or married w/o kids?
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:01 PM
 
Location: Silver Springs, FL
23,444 posts, read 15,929,528 times
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OP, it sounds as if you really dont know how to cook, if you bother to really learn, you will see that the difference is enormous.
Perhaps there is somewhere in your area to take some basic cooking classes?
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:22 PM
 
4,553 posts, read 3,555,746 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedyAZ View Post
I'm currently single...sort of. But I usually eat most of my lunch/dinner meals by myself and I think I've come to the conclusion that it's cheaper for me to eat out than it is to buy groceries for myself and make something.

I usually eat out at lunch time as a given because I'm at work, usually myself and a few co-workers go somewhere nearby for a bite.

I was at the grocery store tonight and noticed how much things have seemed to gone up in the past few weeks. I was pricing out what it would cost me to make a simple meal- pound of hamburger (smallest size), 6 hamburger buns, some chips, and a 2 liter of soda...the cost easily exceeded $10. I could easily eat out on that if I wanted.

Being single and even when I was seeing someone, I found it fairly pointless to cook a meal for one or two people. The prep, cooking time, the mess/cleanup...just isn't worth it for one or two.

Once in a while I just want to go home and crash so I skip supper and just munch on whatever I have, but usually I go to a few local restaurants for whatever I'm in the mood for. For a burger/steak/pasta/whatever sounds good plus a Coke, I usually eat for less than $20 (plus tip).

What does everyone else do if you're single or married w/o kids?
Do you eat ALL of that at once?

I cook in, and do the same, but what I cook lasts me for days (Not all in a row)

It's cheaper to eat in, even if it's steak. (And quality is better)
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:22 PM
 
Location: Scottsdale, AZ
4,487 posts, read 9,472,559 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kshe95girl View Post
OP, it sounds as if you really dont know how to cook, if you bother to really learn, you will see that the difference is enormous.
Perhaps there is somewhere in your area to take some basic cooking classes?
I know how to cook, I'm actually a pretty good cook when I want to be.

For a single person, I just don't see how it's economical to make a big meal. I price things at the grocery store and once I get done buying the noodles, the pasta sauce, the chicken, the garlic bread, etc...I keep thinking it's probably cheaper if I just go out and eat. If I buy a steak, vegetables, potatoes, etc...I've spent damn near $15 already.

I never cook in bulk because I don't eat leftovers. When I was growing up, it seemed that every few nights my mom cleaned out the fridge and forced us kids to eat the leftovers from the past three nightly meals. Now that I'm in my 30's...I really don't like leftovers.

I frequent four particular restaurants in Scottsdale and I'm such a regular customer that the two waitresses who usually have the section I sit in, know me by name and know what I want to drink as soon as I enter. I usually order one of three things on the menu and they know not to even ask if I want a to-go box because honestly...it would just sit in my fridge and get moldy. I don't do leftovers, I just can't after going through what I went through as a kid.

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?

Quote:
I eat in for about $80 a month. That's the price of a delivered pizza every four days.
$80 a month?? Please explain this to me, I can't think of anyone who spends that little on food. Are you a vegetarian? I've seen the price of meat lately, you can't eat much of that for $80/ month!
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:36 PM
 
Location: California Mountains
1,450 posts, read 1,139,594 times
Reputation: 2254
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedyAZ View Post
I think I've come to the conclusion that it's cheaper for me to eat out than it is to buy groceries for myself and make something.

I was pricing out what it would cost me to make a simple meal- pound of hamburger (smallest size), 6 hamburger buns, some chips, and a 2 liter of soda...the cost easily exceeded $10. I could easily eat out on that if I wanted.
Are you planning to eat 6 hamburgers, drink 2 liter of soda, and snack on a bag of chip in one sitting?

Let's just say you are cooking hamburger the McD's way, with a quarter pounder. That one pound of hamburger would last you four meals. That bottle of soda would last you more than four meals. That bag of chips is the worst thing you could put in your body after the hamburger and the soda, but although that's neither here nor there, it should not be consumed in one sitting after that meal.

Even if you do not care about the health factor, that $10 worth of ingredients would last you four meals. That's $2.50 a meal. Can you eat out for less than that?

If you use rice instead of hamburger buns and salad instead of chips, you can make meatloaf out of the hamburger and it would last you 6-8 meals. That's $1.25 to $1.60 per meal.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedyAZ View Post
Being single and even when I was seeing someone, I found it fairly pointless to cook a meal for one or two people. The prep, cooking time, the mess/cleanup...just isn't worth it for one or two.
When you want to cook for one or two, you should cook for six or eight. When the food is cooked, you divide it into six or eight servings, put all the meals in the freezer, then thaw and warm when needed. That way, you will only cook once a week. Or cook two separated dishes and eat leftover for the next two weeks. Or pull it out when you have company, then the house would not smell of cooking and ruin the ambiance.


Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedyAZ View Post
For a burger/steak/pasta/whatever sounds good plus a Coke, I usually eat for less than $20 (plus tip).
I can cook an excellent Italian meal for two people for less than the price of a McD's meal, or an excellent Asian meal for two people for less than the price of a Big Mac alone. I have known to contribute a huge wok of chow mein to a company pot luck for ~$3 worth of ingredients. My noodle dishes were always the first thing that was gone. Steak is more expensive, but for $20, I can feed steak, mashed potato, and a side of vegetable to four people. Even if you have not learned how to stretch a meal, you still can learn how to cook for less.

There is no way on earth that eating out is less expensive, or even equal the cost of eating in.
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Old 12-08-2011, 10:49 PM
 
Location: California Mountains
1,450 posts, read 1,139,594 times
Reputation: 2254
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedyAZ View Post
I never cook in bulk because I don't eat leftovers. When I was growing up, it seemed that every few nights my mom cleaned out the fridge and forced us kids to eat the leftovers from the past three nightly meals. Now that I'm in my 30's...I really don't like leftovers.
I wrote my reply before reading your comment. OK, so no leftovers. That would make cooking a more frequent act, but not impossible.

Quote:
Originally Posted by SpeedyAZ View Post
$80 a month?? Please explain this to me, I can't think of anyone who spends that little on food. Are you a vegetarian? I've seen the price of meat lately, you can't eat much of that for $80/ month!
For two people, we spend $200/month for everything. When I say everything, I mean anything we need regularly. Food, wine, household supplies, cleaning supplies, skin care, hair care and beauty supplies, OTC meds, etc and etc. The only exception from that budget is anything that is bought only once or twice a year.

Last edited by Ol' Wanderer; 12-08-2011 at 11:13 PM..
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