Frugal Living

Eating In Vs Eating Out- The Comparison

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I had to write this post after eating out as I was just shocked at the cost of our meal at a well-known chain Restaurant. I used some gift cards I had received from Christmas to pay for the order. It wasn’t on my dime but I had to use them before they expired.

So it’s my birthday and the wife and I decide to order some take out and enjoy the evening watching a movie. We don’t normally eat-in at restaurants  for 3 reasons:

  • High priced food
  •  15-25% Tips to the staff
  • We like to eat home cooked meals

We are frugal that’s no secret but eating out has never been big on our agenda unless we were travelling. Yes I know you are saying we need to “live a little” and you are right we should, but at what cost.

Cost of Eating Out vs Eating In

Here is the run down from last nights meal.. out of 5 stars we gave it a 3.5

We thought we had $15.00 on one gift card and $13.00 on the other. We wanted to go over that price so we didn’t have a balance on the cards. The likelihood of us eating there for a while was slim.

  • 1 order Bacon Cheeseburger with home cut fries- $13.49
  • 1 order Turkey Burger with home cut fries $12.99
  • Total with tax $27.97
  • If we tipped at 20%-$5.60
  • Total would have been -$33.56 but we didn’t eat in it was take-out so final cost $27.97 for us.

Keep in mind here folks it took us a while to order as it was difficult to justify spending $16.99 on a salad with chicken, oh the outrageous costs we all pay for convenience.

So I said to myself, “self…. what could I buy at the grocery store that was comparable  to what I ate at the restaurant”. Keep in mind we pay for those nifty take out trays as well.

Grocery Store Products

What I could have purchased at the grocery store: These are approximate prices and may differ where you live.

  • 5lb bag of potatoes for $1.99
  • Jar of  dill pickles $2.79
  • 1 Tomato – $0.25
  • 1 Head of Lettuce $1.00
  • 1lb of bacon $2.99
  • 1 bag of  burger buns $1.99
  • 1x jug of vegetable oil $4.77
  • 1 box of salt $0.59
  • 1 lb  beef- $3.99
  • 1x 500 g brick of Black Diamond Cheese $6.99
  • dozen eggs- $2.29
  • 1 container  bread crumbs $1.29
  • Pkg of ground pepper $1.99

Total for all of this would cost $32.92 

Keep in mind the quantity is much more and you could make at least 4 burgers and tonnes of french fries with a 5lb bag with leftover spices,pickles, bacon, lettuce etc. You also need to factor in time, hydro, water, tools.  Is the cost of this still making you shy away from eating at home? After all being the chef means you know what you are eating.

If you were to pay a gratuity the cost we figured above was estimated at $33.56- 32.92= .64. So you would spend .64 more eating in at a restaurant eating this food on a cost per food basis.

Keep in mind we didn’t even order a drink with this food. So you could order water or buy a litre bottle of pop for .99 at the grocery store for take home.

My point here is not that you shouldn’t eat out at restaurants, rather be realistic with your budget.

Money Saving Budget Tips For Eating Out!
  • Stop eating out so much:  Once you set up a budget you will know how much you have to spend on entertainment or eating out
  • If you want to eat out get take out it’s cheaper
  • Don’t be lazy, cook. If you don’t know how to cook, learn, unless you don’t mind making others rich.
  • Have friends over and have a pot-luck or vice versa if you like to have company while eating a meal, it’s cheaper.
  • Be realistic with the numbers, think about what you could have purchased and how many people you could have fed on that $200 restaurant bill.

So go ahead enjoy your $16.00 hamburger and fries while eating out, but be mindful of how you are spending the money in your budget. If you don’t spend your entertainment money one month save it for another so you can spend a bit more on the next.

Happy Eating Folks.

P.S- The gift cards had $15.00 and $18.47 on them and the bloke offered to give me the change $5.50. I wasn’t going to argue it was $5.50 I didn’t have before I walked into the establishment!

Quote-Budget and Money

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