It's no secret that it costs you more money to eat a meal at a restaurant than it does to cook at home. We know that. But sometimes convenience wins out. Sometimes we just want to be treated to something nice, like eating a meal we don't have to cook or clean up. I get it. I love dining out. But it's definitely a budget-buster!
A Forbes article breaks down how much it costs to have a meal at a restaurant, versus making the exact same meal at home with ingredients you bought at the grocery store. The verdict is in: it costs you FIVE TIMES MORE to eat at a restaurant! Even a quick-service restaurant!
Forbes found that the average dinner from a restaurant is $20.37, including a delivery fee and/or tip . . . compared to $4.31 if you make the same thing at home, which is a $16 difference per person! That means if you order delivery three times a week, it costs you about $48 . . . or roughly $200 a month. And again, that's just for one! The cost goes way up if you're feeding a whole family.
Here are a few of the meals they looked at, and how much they cost per serving if you eat out, vs. the home-cooked version of the same meal:
- Spaghetti with meat sauce, $21 at a restaurant, compared to $3 at home
- Pork chops, $25 out compared to $3 at home
- Chicken wings, $20 at a restaurant compared to about $2 per person if you make them from scratch.
That's a huge difference!
They also looked at how much more it costs to use a meal kit service, like Blue Apron, for example. It's about THREE TIMES more expensive per meal than if you just bought the ingredients and made it yourself!
Sooo....if you're trying to spend less money and you're still eating at restaurants multiple times a week, maybe a good place to start is by cooking at home more. My husband and I used to eat out or get takeout 2-3 nights a week, and when we added up how much money we were spending on food, we started cooking at home more. Now we have one "date night" at a restaurant per week, and I batch prep all of our breakfasts, lunches, and snacks on workdays, and we spend WAY less money! We were amazed at how much money we had left over at the end of the month when we started cooking at home more.