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Old 11-20-2007, 04:47 PM
 
650 posts, read 3,745,315 times
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Default Which is cheaper and more efficient: eating out or cooking at home?

My husband and I don't like to cook, so we tend to eat out a lot at inexpensive, but healthy fast food places, like Panera. Typically, we spend about $7 each (for takeout) there. To me, that seems like a pretty good deal--we don't have to get groceries, make the food or clean up afterwards, and spending $14 on dinner isn't that much.

On the other hand, we find that when we do get groceries and cook at home, our weekly grocery bills are usually about $200. When we get tired of eating out, we cook at home, and do menu planning, so we can get everything at once. But getting the groceries, combined with the time it takes to make the food and clean up, makes it seem like eating out at the cheap fast food places (but getting salads and soups or healthy sandwiches--not burgers and fries) is more economical. Now, I will say that when we make something like a lasagna or casserole, etc., that lasts for more than just one meal, it becomes more economical to eat at home.

I just wonder if we're doing something wrong with our grocery shopping. Does $200 per week (including juice and soft drinks, which are expensive) sound right for two people or too much? The interesting thing is, I'd say half our grocery list is produce, but produce isn't super cheap. When we get sweet potatoes for a sweet potato dish, for example, we usually end up spending about $12 just on those.

What do you think?

Last edited by doglover29; 11-20-2007 at 05:11 PM..
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Old 11-20-2007, 04:52 PM
 
Location: huh?
3,100 posts, read 179,638 times
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200 a week sounds really high for two people but maybe it is because of the produce? or maybe you have expensive taste or maybe youre buying alot of non food items? i think it's always cheaper ($) to eat at home.
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Old 11-20-2007, 05:06 PM
 
187 posts, read 413,339 times
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It's really difficult to eat/cook at home for 1 or 2 people less expensively. Per person it just costs more because you're less likely to make casseroles or the larger quantity recipes unless you like to eat tons of leftovers or have lots of freezer space.

I find I can do a lot with a rotisserie chicken, though.
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Old 11-20-2007, 05:12 PM
 
Location: Back Home In TN…YAY:):)
15,874 posts, read 15,716,906 times
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$200.00 a week does sound like a lot. Where are you from. My dh and I spend anywhere from $80.00-$150.00 depending on sales and how much meat I get. I'm also a stocker, so if tp, laundry detergent, paper towels, etc. are on sale I tend to buy multiple quantites. Same goes for health and beauty items. Other than that it is definitely much cheaper to cook and eat at home.

We eat really well. Three cooked meals every day and usually seperate ones at that because we don't eat the same food.

If you buy a lot of fresh produce it can get expensive. Try to find any produce stands or farmers markets in uour area for your produce. Also try to buy what is on sale. I try to plan around sales and this helps a lot.

Also with the price of gas, just going out can cost a lot. So yes I definitely vote for eating at home except for special occassions.

Lisa
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Old 11-20-2007, 05:12 PM
 
Location: southern california
49,278 posts, read 45,802,045 times
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those home economics classes where not so pointless after all
(old guy talk, here it comes) saving money was considered a skill.
worked for me. i cannt tell you how many 30 dollar a plate meals i have eaten
that included nothing but boiled ambiance.
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Old 11-20-2007, 05:33 PM
 
Location: Back Home In TN…YAY:):)
15,874 posts, read 15,716,906 times
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It's Lisa again,

I just have to tell you what we just had for dinner at home.

My dh had prime rib, gravy, baked potato, and corn (cost @$3.75) and I had grilled swordfish and frozen broccoli and cauliflower(cost @$3.50). We drink water so our total dinner for a really "nice" dinner was @$7.25 with no extra for tip or gas. I can't get a meal that cheap going out.

Lisa
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Old 11-20-2007, 05:43 PM
 
Location: Missouri
1,554 posts, read 3,052,731 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by younglisa7 View Post
It's Lisa again,

I just have to tell you what we just had for dinner at home.

My dh had prime rib, gravy, baked potato, and corn (cost @$3.75) and I had grilled swordfish and frozen broccoli and cauliflower(cost @$3.50). We drink water so our total dinner for a really "nice" dinner was @$7.25 with no extra for tip or gas. I can't get a meal that cheap going out.

Lisa
Ok Lisa I don't mean to be mean....but it sounds like you have frozen entree....Is that correct????? Now if you read the ingredients a lot of the stuff is not healthy for you. You are better cooking meals from scratch if you love to cook but since you don't like to cook you can make big dishes but put it in small dishes so you can break what you will eat and have the same next week. There are a lot ways to get stuff done in one day and make cooking easier through out the week.... Just my point of view.
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Old 11-20-2007, 05:58 PM
 
Location: GA
2,579 posts, read 6,496,362 times
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I made veal cutlet at home the other night for the whole family for the same price as one meal out. I don't understand how it could cost more to eat outside the home. I think what happens is that buying condiments and all the "extras" to make a meal really add up. I also think if you eat simpler foods, say roasted chicken or broiled fish, steamed or roasted veggies, it's cheaper than making things with sauces, marinades, etc...

you did good Lisa!
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Old 11-20-2007, 06:23 PM
 
Location: N of citrus, S of decent corn
16,542 posts, read 19,145,661 times
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Wow, I could feed a family of 6 on $200. a week. A more valid comparison would be if you made what you had at Panera at home. You can make a lot of soup and sandwiches for $14.00.
$12.00 for sweet potatoes? I'd switch stores.

Last edited by gentlearts; 11-20-2007 at 06:31 PM..
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Old 11-20-2007, 06:32 PM
 
2,486 posts, read 5,991,974 times
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My guess is you buy a lot of pre-packaged, pre-processed food that tacks on the cooking/packing/preserving expenses into the bill. My boyfriend and I don't spend more than 50 dollars a week buying groceries and we eat extremely well---as matter of fact my coworkers beg to come over for dinner! We don't get 'organic' things as I don't buy into the craze but we do buy plenty of fruits, veggies, and lean meats. Chicken legs are only about 2-3 dollars a pack for 8 drumsticks. That's like a day's worth of food for your one meal. Also, we make a lot of things on our own (he and I are huge foodies and advocates of DYI): bread, pie, stuffing, ...we have even made our own butter for fun (which, by the way, is sooooooo much better than any store bought crap if you make it correctly).

Not to mention, if you get something like a large roast or a whole chicken, it can last you at least 2-3 days if you mix it up and cook it different ways for each meal: roast it one night, make sandwiches the next day, and then chicken stew for the next night.

One of the posters were right: Home Economics really does have a place in today's society.
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