Save Money By Eating In

Since the economic downturn all over the world many of us have been looking to save a few dollars here and there to cut our costs and really start saving or just being that little less frivolous. The tip I wanted to talk to you today about is eating in Vs eating out, how you can still eat in but have that eating out feel but at a lower cost, or when you are eating out how to do it smarter.

cost

We all like to eat out, for me it’s the dishes, I hate doing the dishes (and I have a dishwasher). But it can also be romantic or just plain fun when you are with friends. Whatever the reason eating out certainly has it’s appealing side, trying new things or having an expert cook you up something special. But how much does the average meal out cost per person Vs eating the same food in? This is the question I began to ask myself around 5 months ago.

What did we find?

So we tried it, we used to eat out maybe twice a week and now we reserve that for once a month (and we do that smartly). What did we find? Well many things, other than just the cost of food (which we will get into a bit later), we found that we became more adventurous in our culinary delights. Trying foods from recipes we would never had tried before (okay some were disastrous), but also having a lot of fun at the same time, our dinner started to become the highlight or the festivity of the night, where we would really take our time while enjoying a nice bottle of wine. When you do decide to eat out look for places that have a discount for that day or try to eat out during happy hours.

The costs of eating out

growing vegetables
Our average meal out (for the 2 of us) would cost approximately $100 (give or take), that would usually include a couple of courses and a bottle of wine, so we were spending an average of $200 a week eating out. Now what we tried to do was to be smart about our grocery shopping but at the same time trying not to make sacrifices too great on taste. We found that by far the best way of doing this was to buy in bulk; if we had friends over for dinner we would all go shopping for food together and getting larger sums of food which would inevitably save us money per head. We also experimented with no named brands and through trial and error (some were really bad) we developed a mental list of cheap products we enjoyed. We also started growing a few of our own vegetables and herbs, this was tons of fun (if you have a garden) and again saved us some money and some of the fresh tastes were unbelievable. When getting wine my best tip is to know what you like and as soon as it is on offer (this will happen periodically) try to buy in bulk, in the long run this can save you money, unless you are someone that if you have wine in the house you will drink it, whereas you wouldn’t have gone out to get it otherwise. Other points you have to consider are extra costs like tips, taxes and travel expenses when eating out, these can be completely avoided by eating at home.

How much did we save?

What we found is that now on average (and it is getting cheaper for us every day) we spend $40 eating in on the almost identical equivalent meal we would have paid $100 for at the restaurant. Which for us is a weekly saving of $120, or a yearly saving of $6,240 which is why I wanted to share this with everyone, what’s more is that you will more often than not have leftovers for the next day’s lunch (which we didn’t even take into account when we were calculating savings, eating lunch out at work can also really start to add up). I know most of it seems like common sense but sometime people need a kick up the backside and help trying to make it as fun and enjoyable as possible. We have provided some resources at the end of this post to help you with just that.

Checklist for getting started

checklist

  • Find a great recipe (you can search online or purchase a good recipe book).
  • See what ingredients you have (and what you can do without) and what you need.
  • Do a quick search for printable or online grocery coupons at sites like save.ca to see if what you need is on discount, you can even make this your first step and decide what you want to eat based on what’s on discount, now that’s really smart.
  • Do your shopping, and if it is cheaper to buy in bulk then do it and freeze what you don’t need for later (yes that’s what the freezer is really for).
  • Make the meal fun and interesting, don’t get into a routine, try and make the meal the highlight of the night.
  • Ways to make the meal time at home more like a restaurant

  • If it’s nice outside then eat outside.
  • Try to diversify your palate, trying new things can be a little hit and miss but overall you will have more to talk about over the dinner table and your cooking skills will improve as a result.
  • BBQ as much as you can, it’s fun, it’s cheap and best of all there is less washing up.
  • Invite friends and go to friends houses for meals, not only are you being sociable but buying in bulk usually saves you a lot more money.
  • Look for quality recipes.
  • Try different table settings, adding candles or a different table cloth can really change the mood.
  • If you are a coffee lover like me buy a decent coffee machine for your home, you will save a lot of money in the long run (the initial investment on a machine could set you back), I bought an espresso machine and it has more than paid it’s rent.
  • What are your thoughts? Share your tips on saving money eating in Vs eating out!

    2 Comments

    1. Anne says:

      ohh, super cute. Thanks for sharing the tips. My tips would be to add music and to go stright to the grocery store and see what’s cheap or on offer and then try to think of what I could make with that :)

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