Back in February, I wrote a post about eating out versus buying groceries. My findings may not agree with you you, but my final assessment was this; depending on what you consider saving money, eating out was much more fulfilling and cost effective if done right. Here is why.
I went out and bought about $90 dollars worth of groceries, consisting of steak, soup, hamburger meat and pasta. Remember, you want to eat at home just like you would as if you went out to eat. I didn’t go cheap on the steak and went to Costco to get 3 slabs of boneless ribeye for about $28 bucks. I didn’t eat PBJ’s all week either. Then I made some lasagna and it turned out to be pretty good, but by no means am I a gourmet chef . Anywho, most of the food I cooked, I ate, but I didn’t finish it for several reasons. One of which was, I was getting sick of whatever I cooked. I didn’t want the same thing every night. Yes, if penny pinching was an issue, I would finish it. So I ende up throwing away most of the food that I cooked in bulk. This is a major reason why I decide to go out sometimes. A study by the FDA has said that leftovers that have been heated over 140 degrees can only keep in the fridge at 42 degrees for a mere 4 days before bacteria starts growin on it. BLECH.
Out of the ninety dollars that I spent on groceries I would estimate I ate about $45 dollars worth for the week. The first night of eating my cooking was fantastic, but then it got monotonous (boring). If you do go out to eat, you should not just go to Ruth’s Chris Steak House all the time and order the $34 steak, but be thrifty. There are plenty of mom and pop places that make fantastic food and for a single person it’s cheap! Now if you have a date, that’s a different story.
I ended up saving money by eating out at the right places and got the variety that I wanted at local small shops. Eating healthier may be another post, but this is about finances. Throwing out the food I did not finish, the time it takes to do dishes and cooking, probably cost more than just walking downtown on a nice day and getting something nice to eat on the harbor. So, if you live by yourself, go out and enjoy yourself thriftly and see the benefits, but it does cost less if you are cooking dinner for several people and seeing their faces light up with enjoyment. In summary, if you coock for many people or roommates it is MUCH cheaper, but if you are single and like variety, eating out and spending wisely is much much more fulfilling.