Recently I’ve been on a eating theme. Last time I gorged myself at a buffet. This time, I’ve always heard that cooking and staying in is cheaper than eating out. On top of that, it is supposedly healthier and the cooks have the satisfaction of enjoying their home cooked meal. I decided to put this theory to the test and paid special attention to a common eating out scenario and a common Buck Inspire prepared meal.
If I drive to my local Fresh and Easy (they have the best meats) and buy a little over a pound of top sirloin steak, it will run me about $7.00. However, it will take me about an hour to get it done. To prepare my two steaks, wash and cook rice, and fry my steaks will run me another hour. Let’s not forget the additional half an hour to wash the dishes. Using California’s minimum wage, two and a half hours times $8.00 ($20) plus the steak, the meal would run about $27.
One of our favorite Chinese restaurants has three menu items and rice for about $20. Besides chowing down on delicious food, we have enough doggie bags for a second meal. If you break it down, one meal runs us about $10.
Apples to Apples
Some readers may balk at some of my inflated expenses. Ok, let’s eliminate some of the questionable ones. What if the grocery store was closer? Does it really take and hour? Ok, let’s cut it all together. Since we drop a shopping hour at minimum wage, the cooking expense falls to $19.
If you truly enjoy cooking, I can see that hour preparing and cooking as entertainment or relaxation. If we carve that hour out, the cooking expense drops to $11. I’m not budging any lower because you’ll be lying if you told me you enjoy doing the dishes!
I think you can see, if you select good restaurants that have reasonable prices, you will beat cooking at home every time. Always be on the lookout for coupons and specials to help your cause. I can see cooking very beneficial for couples with kids as the cost savings becomes obvious when you have extra mouths to feed. But for a couple with no kids, you’ll be hard pressed to convince me that it pays to stay home and cook. The only exception is Kids Eat Free Nights and that is another post altogether.
P.S. After watching the video below, if you do dine out, don’t insult the chef!