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Does eating in really save money?

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    Does eating in really save money?

    I know eating out has the forum mark of death on it. . .and here's a question I have had lingering.

    First of all, you all remember I am divorcing and I am trying to learn how to cook better when I have the kids.

    Tommorrow night I have them and I making ribs (on request) and salad and probably mac n' cheese.

    Now, the ribs cost me around $14.00 and you figure the bbq sauce is $2.50-3 - so around $17.00 for the main course.

    I am wondering if it wouldn't have been cheaper for Dad to go just go to the Acme to the salad bar/hot bar and gotten some prepared protein there and then just made the side salad and and mac/n/cheese. Or getting a rotisserie chicken (I know chicken to ribs is apples to oranges).

    I do have a goal of taking a cooking class soon for this reason - I kinda suck.

    (and maybe I'll meet some chicks there too )

    #2
    I've only lived one place in the world where it was cheaper to eat out than in - China. My wife and I could eat a nice dinner out and have plenty of leftovers for about 20 RMB ($3 US). It really wasn't worth our time to shop for food and cook, except when we really wanted something we couldn't get locally, like good pasta.

    Anyway, I think your example is a bit different than the typical "eating out" scenario. If you actually took the kids to a restaurant than you would likely have to tack on additional costs for drinks, tip, etc. You would probably get smaller portions too. My experience is when we cook at home we always end up with more leftovers than we would at a restaurant, and that BBQ sauce should last for awhile too.

    The trick is learning how to cook meals that are quick to prepare and will leave you with good leftovers. The savings really kick in with the additional meals you get from preparing one meal. I'm sure you'll learn some of those when you take the cooking class. That is, if you're not too distracted by the "other" reason you're attending.
    Rock climber, ultrarunner, and credit expert at Creditnet.com

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      #3
      LOL - thanx. . .no, I want to attend for just to learn how to cook. My eternal bachelor friend has just been trying to get my out of my shell/routine and meet women. He has been on me about taking a yoga class for that reason. . .except I am kind of built like a linebacker, not a ballet dancer - I don't see me really doing yoga.

      But I could perhaps learn to cook.

      Anyway, it sounds like my compromise of the "hot bar" is different than eating out - yes. Yes, tips and drinks do add up. . .I just even meant compared to Burger King or something (which is terrible nutritionally I realize). .. it seems the price is about a wash, and then there's work factor.

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        #4
        Two kids, right? So 3 people all together. Main course is $17. Let's say another $3 for sides. That's $20. Where exactly are you going to go and get a rib dinner for 3 people for $20? That would be about $16 for the meal plus tax and 18% tip, so about $5.33 per person. I don't know about you but I can't think of any restaurants that will meet that price for dinner. A burger, fries and a coke will cost you that much or more.
        Steve

        * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
        * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
        * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

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          #5
          I think rotisserie chicken, while not super-frugal since you CAN roast a chicken for less, is a good way to be quick and decent for non-cooks. Ribs are expensive. You might need a course in budgeting at the grocery store too!

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            #6
            I'm trying to eat in more too and I noticed that it might seem more expensive up front - making sure that your kitchen is "stocked" with the staples - but once you have these, you can plan ahead and shop for what you need (or what is on sale, what you have coupons for, etc.) and the costs go WAY down.

            Also, Like DisneySTeve said - I think you are looking at it from a total cost to buy perspective but not taking into account that you and EACH of your children would be ordering if you were to go out.

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              #7
              when eating out, the markup is on drinks, not the food.

              If you can order out and have drinks at home, that is best- I agree in your example ordering out is cheaper.

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                #8
                Originally posted by jIM_Ohio View Post
                when eating out, the markup is on drinks, not the food.

                If you can order out and have drinks at home, that is best- I agree in your example ordering out is cheaper.
                I respectfully disagree, Jim. Where can the OP take 3 people out for a rib dinner for $20? It is true that drinks get marked up a lot but so does food. Have you ever ordered pasta in a restaurant? They charge $10 for a dish of pasta and sauce. I can buy a pound of pasta for $.89 and a jar of sauce for a couple of dollars and feed 4 people.
                Steve

                * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I'll agree resteraunts overcharge for cheap, nutritionally undense carbs. . .it's the protein I am not really sure on.

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                    #10
                    Well anyway, I can see this is my budgetary cross to bear. . .I may need a course on home budgeting.

                    I am not adverse to admitting I may need help with fundamentals.

                    It's either that or meet a cute chick at the cooking class so someone can cook for me

                    (yes, as trite as this is, I'll admit I am struggling as a guy - feeding the kids efficiently)

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                      #11
                      1 pound of hamburger + buns = dinner for 4 (or 5). What is that? $4? It's hard to get out of Taco Bell under $15 for 4 people (& that is about as cheap as it gets). We generally do not buy drinks when eating out. Just take the water. I can make a fresh salad for the whole fam for a couple of dollars. (Will cost more up front, but will last for meals all week).

                      I find eating out insane expensive in comparison to eating in. This is moreso, the more people you are feeding.
                      Last edited by MonkeyMama; 06-28-2010, 11:01 AM.

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                        #12
                        If every meal you make costs the same, then perhaps eating out could be cheaper and only if every meal you order is $20 or less as DisneySteve said. There are meals that cost us much more when we eat in -- every so often we splurge and buy a good steak. And I buy fruits even when they aren't in season because we like them and feel they are a good way to eat nutritiously. I don't think $20 for a rib dinner is extravagant. I'm sure the next meal could be less than $10. I would say learning to grocery shop and plan meals needs to go hand in hand with cooking.

                        That being said, we do eat out. I figure all those times I cook, I save money so we can eat someplace nice and enjoy it. We don't normally do fast food. I like to eat at decent places and it becomes special instead of just something else to do.

                        On our trip we did stop at McDonalds for breakfast; we were on a bus tour group. We each got a small breakfast sandwich and water. the McDonalds charged us 20 cents each for the water, so even that is starting to become a cost. Then, we were charged a tax for eating in...because we used a booth or table we had to pay a tax? Hello!

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                          #13
                          Originally posted by rob62521 View Post
                          There are meals that cost us much more when we eat in -- every so often we splurge and buy a good steak.
                          But does that steak at home cost you more than a comparable quality steak in a restaurant? I doubt it. It might be more than a cheap steak out but if you compare apples to apples, the restaurant will always cost more.
                          Steve

                          * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
                          * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
                          * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            As a bachelor myself, for me eating out serves of the purpose of fast food for convenience. True it costs more, unhealthy, and not very generous on helpings, but it comes down to time vs convenience. In no way am I saying everyone should be eating out daily, but it can be difficult for others (not everyone) to cook (shop, prep, etc) at home with their lifestyle. I guess the moral of this story would be to evaluate ones priorities for saving/budget, dedicate the time to learn it, do it, and overall promote health for ones family. To everyone on here that mostly eat at home, in no way am i implying cooking is supposed to sound like a chore, or hassle.

                            Another note, I'm sure you already know this, but if you really want to impress the ladies, knowing how to cook is definitely a start
                            "I'd buy that for a dollar!"

                            Comment


                              #15
                              Well, it's not only the $ per $ cost I am questioning - but it's the efficiency of it too.

                              I genuinely admire people who have 1001 uses for meat loaf and maximize their refridgerator to 100% usage, like the dude here who lived on $30 of food in one month.

                              I admit I have vegetables that spoil (although I am better than I used to) and I still have frozen tilapia in there from last year that I have been meaning to grill. I know I don't operate at 100% efficiency on leftovers like the frugal-minded here.

                              I even occasionally turn my nose up at leftovers, esp. the steak that has sat around for 3 days in the fridge.

                              I am not trying to argue with the forum - I'll concede you all are right. I don't know. . .it just doesn't seem that way sometimes.

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