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Old 12-03-2009, 10:05 PM
 
Location: roaming gnome
12,391 posts, read 23,776,154 times
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Just wondering what it is worth, if time is money... is it worth it to be more productive in time you spent cooking? I.e. I pay 2 bucks for a daily coffee, which gains me about 20 minutes time, but costs an extra probably 20 bucks a month vs. making it at home, and I eat breakfast and lunch at work, generally have a pack of bagels, cream cheese, banana and stuff for sandwiches. On the way home I usually pick up something under 5 bucks like subway loaded with veggies or a mega burrito or cheap ethnic food... I work about 12 hours a day and just don't have much time anymore to cook and go grocery shopping and all that ****. I think I'm possibly saving money by being able to work a few more hours in the day and generating more income outside my regular job and hopefully one day full time, I charge around 90 an hour but don't have enough hours to do that 40-50 a week, maybe 10-15 right now.

Thoughts?
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Old 12-03-2009, 11:27 PM
 
Location: We_tside PNW (Columbia Gorge) / CO / SA TX / Thailand
20,801 posts, read 37,476,508 times
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Good for you, keep 'stimulating the economy', just try to keep it healthy, and minimal qtys.

There will come a time you will change your priorities, so enjoy your current energy level.

I always cooked for myself, even tho I worked 3 jobs (nights and weekends) + went to school full time. But, I wasn't making $90/hr. Actually I was making $2.65 / hr when I landed my great job at a Fortune 100 High Tech Company. (who paid for 3 of my degrees). My house payments were $128.84 on my first house bought at age 19. I didn't think I would ever come off my 'work-high', and older workers chided me alot. It happened... I couldn't care less if I ever work another day in my life, tho I didn't get to retire at 35 like planned, tho still pre-50.
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Old 12-04-2009, 12:30 AM
 
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It is never cheaper to eat out vs. eat in, but if you are working a lot you might not have much choice about it. Also a lot depends on how many people are you feeding. If it is just you then the savings between the two are small. If it is 2+ then the amount you are spending gets pretty high pretty fast. As for that coffee, you can buy a coffee maker with a timer and have the coffee waiting for you in the morning.

As for eating breakfast and lunch at work, I kinda understand. If your work place has a good cafeteria then you get lots more variety and a change of pace. However if you are eating cereal, eggs, sausage or something that can be made quick then what's the point? Another trick is to make your breakfast early and just microwave it.
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Old 12-04-2009, 06:20 AM
 
3,628 posts, read 9,026,832 times
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You know what, I'm going to go against the grain here.

When you're single, and you are working a lot (or, like me, working on school work constantly), it winds up being cheaper, because if you buy fresh groceries, and let them go bad without time to cook them ... or cook them and are never home to eat them, then it goes to waste.
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Old 12-04-2009, 06:29 AM
 
Location: Illinois
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One word for you:

Crockpot.

You could even make all the burrito fillings in it and just wrap it in a tortilla shell with toppings. Heck, you could cook one medium sized piece of meat and eat sandwiches, wraps, certain ethnic foods, etc.

Plus, think about it this way. Whatever you are saving in time maybe you are paying for it with your health. At best you are getting a lot of sodium in your diet.
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Old 12-04-2009, 06:34 AM
 
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but then you have to have time to shop for all of that and be sure to get home in time to turn off the crockpot.

there are days when I leave my house at 8 am and don't get back until 10 pm ... and that is just working/commuting.

plus I have to dedicate two to three hours to grocery shopping - even if i'm only getting a few things, because I don't have a car.

There's ways to eat out and still eat healthy.
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Old 12-04-2009, 07:50 AM
 
Location: Illinois
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I don't know about your local fast food joints or Subways, but I can drop in at a market quicker than I can get a burrito or sandwich made. I see you are in Chicago, not terribly far from me. I know it takes a bit of time to pick up fast food!

Crockpots are now programmable. Plus, you can connect an older model to a timer. Again, a good sized cut of meat can be used for many meals. If the cook time is a problem, why not cook it on your days off or overnight? This can work for anybody who is willing to find ways to work it into their schedule.

Yes, the lack of a car is a problem but it is doable. There are smaller markets/grocers on almost every corner.

Yes, there are ways to eat healthier while eating out. But even then the sodium content is off the charts. Even fast food salads are not very good for you.
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:04 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,851 posts, read 51,335,478 times
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There is a difference between eating out and refueling. I can't imagine taking 20 minutes to make a cup of coffee. On my worst days it takes maybe 3 minutes. I sense some irrational justification going on.

However, when refueling mid-day, if you don't buy the accompanying sugar water, the dollar menus at the fast "food" places are almost impossible to beat. Back many years ago in the caveman days of fast food, most of the burgers were the size of the current dollar menu burgers. A hamburger and a cheeseburger of that size has never failed to refuel me enough to continue working. Bagels and cream cheese doesn't have enough protein for a mid-day meal for me.

A huge amount of time cooking can be saved if you use a freezer well. I used to make my own tv dinners that would put anything on the store shelves to shame, for less than a buck per dinner. Then I wised up to just portioning out into small bags and freezing. Make a roast when the meat is on sale, slice and put into a dozen "snack size" bags and freeze with some gravy. Make a bag full of scalloped or mashed potatoes and freeze the same way, same with flavored rice, same with veggies. Suppertime is mix-n-match and a zap in the microwave. We just did the Tday turkey that way.

Here is the bottom line. Figure your total expense on food in a week. If you can halve that amount, that is that much after-tax money you can use to invest and work your way out of the rat-race.
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Old 12-04-2009, 08:12 AM
 
Location: Illinois
3,168 posts, read 4,156,448 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
There is a difference between eating out and refueling. I can't imagine taking 20 minutes to make a cup of coffee. On my worst days it takes maybe 3 minutes. I sense some irrational justification going on.

However, when refueling mid-day, if you don't buy the accompanying sugar water, the dollar menus at the fast "food" places are almost impossible to beat. Back many years ago in the caveman days of fast food, most of the burgers were the size of the current dollar menu burgers. A hamburger and a cheeseburger of that size has never failed to refuel me enough to continue working. Bagels and cream cheese doesn't have enough protein for a mid-day meal for me.

A huge amount of time cooking can be saved if you use a freezer well. I used to make my own tv dinners that would put anything on the store shelves to shame, for less than a buck per dinner. Then I wised up to just portioning out into small bags and freezing. Make a roast when the meat is on sale, slice and put into a dozen "snack size" bags and freeze with some gravy. Make a bag full of scalloped or mashed potatoes and freeze the same way, same with flavored rice, same with veggies. Suppertime is mix-n-match and a zap in the microwave. We just did the Tday turkey that way.

Here is the bottom line. Figure your total expense on food in a week. If you can halve that amount, that is that much after-tax money you can use to invest and work your way out of the rat-race.
This is very helpful information. This is how I work harry's advice.

I get ground beef on sale. Last time I got over 10 lbs at .88/lb. I made 1 lb of beef sausage. I made two 3 lb meatloaves. I browned 1 lb for tacos. Lastly, I made 8 quarter pound hamburgers. I put all this in the freezer. It was welcomed by browned chili beef, meatballs, etc. that I'd made with my previous big beef purchase.

A deep freezer is a frugal person's best friend.
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Old 12-04-2009, 09:10 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
16,851 posts, read 51,335,478 times
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Ground beef can be processed in an odd way where it doesn't need refrigeration (although I usually just make 1/4lb patties and freeze them).

Crumble the ground beef in a frying pan and cook with garlic and/or onion until done. Pour off the fat. Take the crumbles and boil them in a small amount of heavily salted water. Let cool, put in the refrigerator and remove the fat that has risen to the top. Remove the crumbles from the water, heat in a pan or the oven to dry thoroughly, let cool and seal in bags. The fat is what goes rancid, and the high salt content will preserve the meat, just like jerky. When ready to use, rinse of the excess salt, which will rehydrate the meat, then heat is skillet with flavorings and a little olive or grapeseed oil.

The main storage issue is keeping the meat completely dry and safe from insects or mice.
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