Author Topic: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home  (Read 20921 times)

gggggg

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #100 on: August 20, 2017, 05:32:44 PM »
I almost never, and I mean never, eat out. The only time I do is if it's someone's birthday or something similar, and the group wants to go. I may eat out like this 4-5 times a year, tops.

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #101 on: August 22, 2017, 07:22:54 AM »
As a follow-up on my previous comments about how easy and cheap it is to cook at home, I made a fancy dinner for my wife that cost nearly nothing. My in-laws sent us a box of Omaha Steaks meats as a gift a few months ago which I stuck in the freezer, so I decided to make filet mignon. I made the steaks on a frying pan which took a total of eight minutes and seasoned them with homemade Montreal steak seasoning that I made from some spices I had in my cabinet. I also made baked potatoes from a bag I bought for $4.50 for 10 lbs at the warehouse store and some vegetables I bought at the farmer's market for maybe $2. I measured the internet temperature of the steaks with a mechanical meat thermometer I bought off Amazon a couple years ago for $3. Then, I added a bottle of excellent locally produced wine that I would put up against anything from Europe that cost me $10.

Total cost for the food for the meal: $12.45 including the wine. If I had gotten the meats at the warehouse store, it would have been $18.00.

Total cost of similar meal at a fancy restaurant: $150.00

If you can do a fancy meal for $18.00, how cheap do you think it would be to make simpler meals? That's why I'm telling you that cooking at home is a really frugal way to do things. That's a lot of savings that can go into your Vanguard fund for early retirement.

SeaEhm

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #102 on: August 23, 2017, 05:52:58 PM »

If you can do a fancy meal for $18.00, how cheap do you think it would be to make simpler meals? That's why I'm telling you that cooking at home is a really frugal way to do things. That's a lot of savings that can go into your Vanguard fund for early retirement.

Meat and potatoes isn't a fancy meal. 

What would one define as a simpler meal than putting seasoning on a piece of meat, some vegetables, and a starch and cooking them in a pan?

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #103 on: August 23, 2017, 07:48:59 PM »

If you can do a fancy meal for $18.00, how cheap do you think it would be to make simpler meals? That's why I'm telling you that cooking at home is a really frugal way to do things. That's a lot of savings that can go into your Vanguard fund for early retirement.

Meat and potatoes isn't a fancy meal. 

What would one define as a simpler meal than putting seasoning on a piece of meat, some vegetables, and a starch and cooking them in a pan?

I sense that you are one of my own kind. Welcome to the wider world.

Northern gal

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #104 on: August 30, 2017, 04:54:55 PM »
Quote from: TheGrimSqueaker link=topic=76593.msg1644568#msg1644568
.


Try this:.


Grim's Pinto Beans

1 lb pinto beans, washed
1/2 lb cubed ham
1 onion, chopped coarsely (for stealth vegetables)
2 cups coarsely chopped celery (same logic)

This recipe can be easily doubled.

Throw it all in the crockpot. Stir. Add water to at least triple the volume of the beans. Cook it low and slow. Go to work, come back, eat. Leftovers can be reheated or else mashed and refried in a pan for bean burritos.


Not to take away from your love of slow cookers, but slow cooked beans are dangerous and have killed people. Some beans are worse than others but the principle applies to all. Always preboil for at least 10 minutes.

http://www.medic8.com/healthguide/food-poisoning/red-kidney-bean-toxins.html


NorCal

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #105 on: October 29, 2017, 09:09:10 PM »
As a note on the original article, I call bullshit on the whole study.

I used to work in the payments world, and this type of "study" would typically be based on payments volumes that are incredibly hard to interpret.  Here's some examples that I can think of off the top of my head:

1. The "Merchant Category" of grocers excludes Wal-Mart and Target.  As Wal-Mart and Target have picked up grocery sales, that appears to be a decline in grocer volume.
2. Many studies of payments volumes only include payments where you "sign" for a purchase, and not PIN debit transactions (I'll spare you the reasons why).  This may or may not have happened in this study.
3.  Debit has always been popular in grocery stores.  However, many smaller restaurants only started accepting cards over the last few years (think Square).

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #106 on: October 30, 2017, 12:25:49 AM »
A lot of people get takeout food thinking it's going to save them a whole lot of time. The reality is that the time saved is almost nothing (if it exists at all),
Well, once you factor in the travel, it's true. Of course for home cooking you have to go shopping and clean up afterwards, so that time counts against home cooking, too. But they call it "convenience", which is a word meaning, "I'm lazy."

Now, if you factor in the work you have to do to pay for that food... it takes longer to prepare takeout than home-cooked, for most people on an hourly wage, anyway. For example, if you earn $20 an hour, then that $20 meal actually cost you 30 minutes, on top of however long it took to go there and get it. Which is a normal hot meal preparation time. Of course, some people would prefer working 30 minutes at their paid job than working 30 minutes in their kitchen.

I don't think it's wrong to do any of these things. Everyone chooses, will I spend money or time? Will I spend time on X or time on Y? I just say: be aware of the choices, be aware of the costs. The choices we make thoughtlessly tend to be worse for us than the choices we make thoughtfully.

Edited to add:

For example, once a week I go out and play a game with friends. I eat out, Schnitz or some place like that. It's $15-$20. I buy some junky snacks, $5-$10. I'm also taking the train there, that's $5 on average depending exactly when I head out. In all, the evening costs me $25-$35. I do it about 40 times a year, so that's $1,200 or so.

Most days I'm up at 0645. It's kids and housework until 1600 when people come to my garage to train. At 1800 my wife will have heated the meal I made earlier in the day and we sit down to dinner. We put the kids to bed. At 1900 it's back in the garage until - it's supposed to be 2100, but often they're not all gone until 2145. Clean up a bit, read a book, lights out 2230.

My life is barbells and babies. I love them both, but not enough to have nothing else in my life. So far in writing this edit I've had to stop 11 times, 3 to respond to the 6yo boy and 8 to respond to the 20 month girl, and 7 of those times I had to get up - she was tearing into the pantry or something. It's nice to go out once a week for a few hours and someone else cooks the meal and does the dishes for me, and then I go and sit down with adults and talk about something other than barbells and babies. I'll pay $1,200 a year for that. It's cheaper than alcoholism or psychotherapy.

But this is a considered choice. If I just did what I felt like without thinking about it I'd sleep in till 10, have no breakfast, and eat takeout lunch and dinner every day.

We should try not to be frugal, but to have considered frugality. It's not that we don't spend, it's that we consider each spend to decide whether it's worth it. When things are looked at in their turn to decide if they're worth it, this always leads to less spending.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 12:44:09 AM by Kyle Schuant »

Northern gal

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #107 on: October 30, 2017, 02:40:52 AM »
As a note on the original article, I call bullshit on the whole study.

I used to work in the payments world, and this type of "study" would typically be based on payments volumes that are incredibly hard to interpret.  Here's some examples that I can think of off the top of my head:

1. The "Merchant Category" of grocers excludes Wal-Mart and Target.  As Wal-Mart and Target have picked up grocery sales, that appears to be a decline in grocer volume.
2. Many studies of payments volumes only include payments where you "sign" for a purchase, and not PIN debit transactions (I'll spare you the reasons why).  This may or may not have happened in this study.
3.  Debit has always been popular in grocery stores.  However, many smaller restaurants only started accepting cards over the last few years (think Square).

Interesting. Thans for sharing that Perspective.


horsepoor

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #108 on: October 30, 2017, 04:38:07 AM »
Last night I ended up staying at the barn later than expected with a sick horse, so I decided to cruise through the local burrito drive-through on the way home instead of making the salmon, carrots and roast cabbage meal I'd planned to do.  Hadn't been there in many months, and had to double-check the menu pricing when she announced that my total was $17.60 for 2 burritos and 2 tacos (no drinks).  The dinner I had planned was about $4 worth of salmon (wild caught coho, portioned out and frozen when on sale), 50c for carrots and $1 for cabbage, plus let's say another $1 for seasonings, though the peach salsa on the salmon, and most of the other herbs I would have used are from the garden and nearly free.  So $11 less for a really healthy, delicious meal, and probably not much more time than it took to detour to the burrito place and wait in the drivethrough (and it could have taken longer, there was one car just getting its order when I arrived, then the line started stacking up behind me).  The alternate meal involved dropping the sealed bag of salmon in the sous-vide pot, chopping the cabbage into steaks and dressing with salt and oil and popping in the oven, then peeling carrots and throwing them in the InstantPot.  Cleanup time, maybe another 5-10 minutes.

So this may have saved 15 minutes at a cost of $11, or $44/hr.  Coincidentally, that is very close to my current wage, but more than I take home after taxes; it seems people fail to consider their post-tax wage in this calculation.  Of course it's moot for me because I don't have the ability to work OT at my job.
« Last Edit: October 30, 2017, 04:40:25 AM by horsepoor »

onehair

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #109 on: October 30, 2017, 08:11:29 AM »
Or you can soak the beans before leaving for work and cook them when you get home as well as the mighty slow cooker.  I was taught since I don't use pork to add butter or margarine either way to make up for the fat.  For kidney for chili I do use the peppers and tomatoes and ground meat.  Red beans and rice smoked turkey or smoked sausage.  Cornbread I have been purchasing lately (shamefaced look) since I can't seem to eat beans with out it and I could bake it I am just lazy.  I cook once or twice weekly myself.

Just Joe

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #110 on: October 31, 2017, 08:21:04 AM »
Are you ready for this? We have an apartment-sized dishwasher, not a full-sized dishwasher. It is located in our kitchen in such a way that we would have to demolish cabinets and redo them in order to fit a larger dishwasher in. The dishwasher we have sucks. Any replacement for it also sucks because it would be an apartment-sized dishwasher and there are very few choices, none of which are good.

It makes no sense to replace shit with shit, especially when our cabinets are falling apart and should all be replaced and especially when our sink is chipped and rusty and awful and is an odd size that I can't find a replacement for and can find nothing that will work in the counter cutout and any money spent on our crappy counters is an utter waste when the whole thing needs to be demo'd. I curse the man who built this kitchen so that nothing was standard sized. I've been going round and round like this for years and the end result is I'm going to put up with my crappy dishwasher until we sell this house next year and either completely redo the kitchen so we can sell it or offer some sort of allowance.

So, I stop up the sink (to minimize water usage) and pre-clean all of the dishes. Yes, I've read the articles about how you shouldn't preclean your dishes because your dishwasher needs the grime and I've tried it and it was an epic fail. That includes dishes for 5 people for 2-3 meals/day. Yes, I am making my daughters clean up their own breakfast dishes but from a water standpoint, that's actually wasteful.

After pre-cleaning and loading all dishes (which is like a game of tetris in that stupid f-ing dishwasher), I stop up the sink again and wash all of the pots and pans and serving spoons, etc, that would NEVER fit in that dishwasher. Because I cook items for breakfast and lunch - yogurt (2 gal/wk), chicken (5 lbs/wk), beans (2 cups/wk), rice (2 cups/wk) and eggs (1 doz/wk) - along with dinner, I have pots from those too. So, I typically have 1-2 non-dinner pots (every cooker has its own pot, which is okay because I typically have at least 2 cookers going at time) combined with dinner pots. I cannot fit all of them on my two drying racks and have to spread towels out on either side for additional drying.

So, 5 people + all home cooked meals + homemade staples + shitty apartment-sized dishwasher means A LOT of dishes and washing time.

Even when you're not eating out, there's a big difference between buying all prepared foods at the store and making most of it yourself to save money. If I didn't prepare as much food as I do, we'd easily spend another $100-200 every month.

May I make a suggestion? Look for European sized kitchen equipment. They have some really nice but smaller than American fixtures and appliances.

Question: are poor people poor (and perhaps unhealthy) b/c the same lack of imagination and motivation that plagues their income generation also plagues other things in their life like what to eat?

I count myself as a recovering unimaginative eater. Studying these topics here, AllRecipes.com, BudgetBytes and motivation to learn to cook have all helped. I find my ability to visualize different things to eat is assisted by learning to cook. Big thanks to DW for her guidance, patience and adventurous spirit when eating what I cook.

I like good food and try to balance live to eat and eat to live.

Also have recently decided to swear off eating out at lunch so often. Easy to "relapse" b/c nearest coworker eats out every day and invites me along. $350+ goes *poof* if I did eat out every day with CW. Frankly I'd rather have that money for savings or even garage toys. Or hire out home repairs/renovations.

Frankly I've lived here for a long time and I'm tired of what most lunchtime restaurants offer. Especially the drive-through fast food. Was tempting as we drove home between them but then one day I thought about WHAT we were smelling and most often it is some sort of greasy fryer. Never mind.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 08:56:01 AM by Just Joe »

NeonPegasus

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #111 on: October 31, 2017, 09:06:08 AM »
Question: are poor people poor (and perhaps unhealthy) b/c the same lack of imagination and motivation that plagues their income generation also plagues other things in their life like what to eat?

No. First, you're assuming that poor people are poor due to lack of imagination. This statement shows you've read next to nothing about poverty in the US, its causes (both on a macro and micro level) as well as how difficult it is to break the cycle. I recently read (https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/04/economic-inequality/524610/) that it requires going almost 20 years without anything major going wrong to break out of poverty. There are so many different things that make it difficult to break out of poverty, ranging from income inequality, greater burdens to support family, higher charges for food, loans, etc, due to being poor (i.e. can't take advantage of bulk buying, poor credit so stuck with high interest rates, zero financial assistance from family so you must rely on title loans).

Specifically regarding food, two of the issues that come to mind are food deserts and government subsidies for things like corn that make junk food way less expensive than fruits and veggies. Here's a great article on food deserts - http://www.atlantamagazine.com/great-reads/stranded-in-atlantas-food-deserts/. Imagine how your diet would be different if you had to take multiple buses to get to a store to do grocery shopping and then take all of your food back the same way in a process that takes nearly your whole day. Would you shop every week? What would you do instead and would you buy as much perishable food?

Just Joe

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #112 on: October 31, 2017, 10:08:03 AM »
Yeah - I am aware of the problems you detailed. I've read similar studies and believe that these are valid studies too. There are other contributing reasons as well though.

horsepoor

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #113 on: October 31, 2017, 11:30:50 AM »
Last night I ended up staying at the barn later than expected with a sick horse, so I decided to cruise through the local burrito drive-through on the way home instead of making the salmon, carrots and roast cabbage meal I'd planned to do.  Hadn't been there in many months, and had to double-check the menu pricing when she announced that my total was $17.60 for 2 burritos and 2 tacos (no drinks).  The dinner I had planned was about $4 worth of salmon (wild caught coho, portioned out and frozen when on sale), 50c for carrots and $1 for cabbage, plus let's say another $1 for seasonings, though the peach salsa on the salmon, and most of the other herbs I would have used are from the garden and nearly free.  So $11 less for a really healthy, delicious meal, and probably not much more time than it took to detour to the burrito place and wait in the drivethrough (and it could have taken longer, there was one car just getting its order when I arrived, then the line started stacking up behind me).  The alternate meal involved dropping the sealed bag of salmon in the sous-vide pot, chopping the cabbage into steaks and dressing with salt and oil and popping in the oven, then peeling carrots and throwing them in the InstantPot.  Cleanup time, maybe another 5-10 minutes.

So this may have saved 15 minutes at a cost of $11, or $44/hr.  Coincidentally, that is very close to my current wage, but more than I take home after taxes; it seems people fail to consider their post-tax wage in this calculation.  Of course it's moot for me because I don't have the ability to work OT at my job.

I made the salmon dinner after work yesterday.  I decided to clock myself, and it was seven minutes to get the salmon packet going in the sous vide bath, cut the cabbage into "steaks" and season with some oil, salt and chile powder, peel and chop carrots and get them into the oven.  Then for extra credit I made a mushroom soup in the Instant Pot - that was time consuming @ about 16 additional minutes, though I did change into my gym clothes while the mushrooms were sauteeing.  Time could have been reduced if I'd purchased baby carrots and sliced mushrooms.  I suppose I could have purchased pre-chopped onions too.  I then got a workout done while everything was cooking, and spent an additional 2 minutes pureeing the soup.  DH cleaned up after dinner in about 10 minutes.  About two large servings of the soup are waiting in the fridge to be taken for work lunches the rest of the week.

Modern kitchen gadgets can be really helpful in streamlining the kitchen tasks.  I consider it money well spent to have a few appliances that effectively cut down on our eating out and purchasing convenience foods (even including condiments).


LadyDividend

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #114 on: October 31, 2017, 11:48:13 AM »
Personally, the convenience of take out or restaurant food is the most tempting to me. I've gotten better since I freeze leftovers which can be defrosted and heated in an hour or so (with minimal effort), and my "go to" healthy, quick and cheap meal are frozen vegetables and stock cooked with white rice.

Chesleygirl

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #115 on: November 01, 2017, 10:15:48 AM »
I have never done online grocery shopping.

I know some moms who do it, because they say if they take their kids to the grocery store, the kids will start throwing all kinds of "extras" into the cart. So they actually save money, if they do online grocery shopping.

MgoSam

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #116 on: November 01, 2017, 10:23:34 AM »
I generally have a good amount of meals in my fridge both at work and the office and I still face constant temptation to buy pizza or fast food or Chinese. Sad part is that I generally don't get all that much enjoyment off the meal when I do get take-out so I've stopped doing it. I plan on eating out on the weekends when there is a social component to it. It is sad how irrational my desire for restaurant food is when

a. It isn't objectively any tastier than what I make
b. It costs a hell of a lot more
c. It doesn't really save me any time
d. It is way less healthy

That said, I do need to do a better job at my meal prepping because I've realized that part of the reason I want to eat out is for the variety of it. Some times I am choking down my lunch/dinner because I've had this particular dish 8 times in the past 2 weeks and am sick of it.

Chesleygirl

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #117 on: November 01, 2017, 11:11:58 AM »

That said, I do need to do a better job at my meal prepping because I've realized that part of the reason I want to eat out is for the variety of it. Some times I am choking down my lunch/dinner because I've had this particular dish 8 times in the past 2 weeks and am sick of it.

Same here. I get tired of eating leftovers and sometimes I need variety.

4alpacas

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #118 on: November 03, 2017, 11:02:24 AM »

That said, I do need to do a better job at my meal prepping because I've realized that part of the reason I want to eat out is for the variety of it. Some times I am choking down my lunch/dinner because I've had this particular dish 8 times in the past 2 weeks and am sick of it.

Same here. I get tired of eating leftovers and sometimes I need variety.
This is why I buy frozen meals.  An individual portion of something that's totally different than what I usually cook.  I like eVol (especially the truffle mac & cheese).  It's so much faster to grab a box from my freezer than deal with the hassle of a restaurant.

Chesleygirl

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #119 on: November 03, 2017, 01:19:23 PM »
Question: are poor people poor (and perhaps unhealthy) b/c the same lack of imagination and motivation that plagues their income generation also plagues other things in their life like what to eat?

No. First, you're assuming that poor people are poor due to lack of imagination. This statement shows you've read next to nothing about poverty in the US, its causes (both on a macro and micro level) as well as how difficult it is to break the cycle. I recently read (https://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2017/04/economic-inequality/524610/) that it requires going almost 20 years without anything major going wrong to break out of poverty. There are so many different things that make it difficult to break out of poverty, ranging from income inequality, greater burdens to support family, higher charges for food, loans, etc, due to being poor (i.e. can't take advantage of bulk buying, poor credit so stuck with high interest rates, zero financial assistance from family so you must rely on title loans).


That's very true. Poverty is a very complex issue.

Poor people often can not take advantage of bulk buying or can't wait until something goes on sale, because they might not have the money for it later on. They can't afford a Sam's Club membership. They might wind up spending more for things at convenience stores because they don't have a car to drive to Wal Mart to get it cheaper. Those are just a few examples.

I actually worked at a place where they fired someone simply for being homeless. They didn't like it that he gave a PO Box as his address. Prejudice can also play a role in keeping people in poverty.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2017, 01:21:18 PM by Chesleygirl »

Northern gal

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #120 on: November 03, 2017, 07:11:23 PM »
Quote from: horsepoor link=topic=76593.msg1753597#msg1753597
,

Modern kitchen gadgets can be really helpful in streamlining the kitchen tasks.  I consider it money well spent to have a few appliances that effectively cut down on our eating out and purchasing convenience foods (even including condiments).

I could not agree more.

We don't have a sous vide bu a Thermomix and once you get used to it, it can save you heaps!

I fully accept that having a nice clean kitchen with a roomy fridge and the safety of knowing that what you put in there will still be there (I.e.not raided by flat mates or intoxicated people) also makes it easier to meal plan, eat well and save. There was a time when I had to make do without these things and i know full well how privileged I am.

Kyle Schuant

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Re: Americans spend more on food away from home than on food at home
« Reply #121 on: November 03, 2017, 09:55:44 PM »
I actually worked at a place where they fired someone simply for being homeless. They didn't like it that he gave a PO Box as his address. Prejudice can also play a role in keeping people in poverty.
Let me guess: they also said they were annoyed that so much of their taxes went to welfare?