Does Cooking at Home
Really Save Money?
Nowhere else does convenience factor into our lives than cooking and how we eat. There is a potential of saving thousands a dollars a year based on what we put into our mouths and where we do it.
We all know that a triple latte at the drive-thru or dinner in a restaurant is often several times more expensive than cooking at home, but will you save money cooking for yourself?
That depends. The basic rule of thumb is that the more expensive the ingredients, the more you should consider cooking it at home. That’s because restaurants mark up many items by three times the cost of the ingredients. If your meal includes an alcoholic beverage or dessert, in most cases, you can save money cooking it yourself.
Are there times when it is actually cheaper to eat out? Yes.
A single person who wants a couple of tacos will find it less expensive to head to a fast food franchise rather than making a fiesta at home because the cost of the ingredients will be higher. If you eat tacos several times a week, then you should consider cooking at home.
If you have a group that all wants different food that do not require the same basic ingredients, you’ll probably save money by eating out.
If the meal requires special equipment you don’t own, such as a deep fryer, or ingredients that are difficult to obtain, then you will likely save money ordering from a menu.
Mistakes are also costly, so learning may be more expensive. You may want to consider taking a cooking course.
We have found we saved the most money by cooking our own “special occasion” dinners at home like steak and seafood; baking our own bread, making salads and sandwiches for lunches, and pasta dishes.
We also found that it was less expensive to buy pasta in the supermarket as opposed to making it ourselves because of the different equipment required.
So while we make the meal at home, often times we don’t make it all from scratch.