Author Topic: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.  (Read 15846 times)

gardeningandgreen

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 326
  • Location: Minnesota
    • Gardening and Green
Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« on: March 17, 2016, 11:06:01 AM »
I have a coworker who we were talking about blue apron and all of the rest of us were saying how it is so much cheaper to go to the grocery store and get the ingredients that we need to make the same thing. We were also commenting on how sad it is that we will pay so much for convenience in the US. When dumb coworker chimes in. She says that because she lives alone it is cheaper for her to just eat out for every meal. I flat out told her no it is not. Even cooking for one person. You can always have leftovers. I just don't understand the stupidity here...

JordanOfGilead

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 428
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2016, 11:18:18 AM »
This would be a good addition to the "Overheard At Work" thread

Kitsune

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1636
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #2 on: March 17, 2016, 11:25:51 AM »
Except I'll add a *groan* about the Blue Apron thing. They've taken over blog-space with their advertising, and, honestly, if you're paying 10$/person/meal for INGREDIENTS and THEN have to cook it too, well, yeah, might as well just go to a restaurant.

Ludicrous racket.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6333
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2016, 01:25:58 PM »
I have a coworker who we were talking about blue apron and all of the rest of us were saying how it is so much cheaper to go to the grocery store and get the ingredients that we need to make the same thing. We were also commenting on how sad it is that we will pay so much for convenience in the US. When dumb coworker chimes in. She says that because she lives alone it is cheaper for her to just eat out for every meal. I flat out told her no it is not. Even cooking for one person. You can always have leftovers. I just don't understand the stupidity here...

I just mentioned this on another thread.

Part of it is that people don't compare apples to oranges.
Part of it is boredom.
Part of it is lack of skill.

If you are going to go to McDonald's and get an extra value meal (too much food, yeah, but work with me here), it will be, what $8?  (I don't know).

But if you go to the grocery store to get the ingredients -
1 lb beef: $5
8 buns: $2
Ketchup, mustard:  $4
1 lb potatoes: $2 (because of course you only only buying them loose)
1 container oil: $3
salt, pepper: $2

That's $18 right there!  AND you have to make it (nevermind that it's enough for at least 4 meals).  People who are single talk about getting "bored" eating leftovers (which, yeah, I remember those days).

In order to cook and eat more cheaply than eating out, it takes practice and skill to shop, cook, use things in the pantry.  If you want to further your skills and eat ethnic foods, that takes more practice.  If you want to be super efficient and bulk-cook, and save leftovers - then that takes planning, cooking, cleaning, some sort of record keeping.

There are people out there who really don't want to be bothered.  I learned to cook in my early 30's, and it took me several years to develop the cooking skills, planning skills, etc. to do it.  And at least I had a husband to eat the stuff.  Now I have kids - making it more worth it - but when the husband is gone?  Man that pot of spaghetti can last WAY too long.

Then there are the endless dishes.

I am really impressed with this guy:

http://mybodymykitchen.com/

(I follow him on instagram too).  I think it's a great place for single people to get inspiration on how to cook and save money and eat healthfully.  He even said (somewhere), that he makes 2 different meals a week but rotates through the freezer over a couple of weeks, so he doesn't get bored.

With a family of 4, my food almost never lasts that long.  Worst case, I make a pot of chili or fried rice, and put half of it (or one meals worth) in the freezer for later.  But it's rarely in there for more than a week.  I fear the teen years.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5084
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #4 on: March 17, 2016, 01:28:44 PM »
Plus eating out all the time the food is not as healthy and is more fattening. Even when I was single I made plenty of my meals at home.  If I wanted a casserole I would cut it in half or invite friends over, etc.

dycker1978

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 768
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2016, 04:41:51 PM »
I fear the teen years.
The teen years suck, yes they do.  We are spending between $900 and $1200 a month on groceries on a family of 4.  Two teenage boys.... my god can they eat.

MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3642
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2016, 11:51:08 AM »
I will generally make two slow cooker dishes on Sundays for the week. I make one for dinners, and then leave it on overnight to make shredded buffalo chicken for salads during the week. I'll admit there are times that I have to force myself to eat it, but I am slowly finding out that I enjoy it and it is far easier and cheaper and healthier than eating out.

Heck, my lunches for 4 days cost maybe $10 total, and my dinner is around the same.

Apples

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 846
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2016, 08:27:46 AM »
I fear the teen years.
The teen years suck, yes they do.  We are spending between $900 and $1200 a month on groceries on a family of 4.  Two teenage boys.... my god can they eat.

bahahaha yes.  I was 16-18, my brother was 14-16, and my youngest brother was 11-13 (and grew about 9 inches in those 2 years).  I think my mom went to the grocery store twice a week.  I vividly remember my brothers both sitting down and eating 5 sandwiches.  As a "snack" after school.  They also ate a regular-sized dinner about 3 hours later.  We must have gone through 4 loaves of bread a week.

TheAnonOne

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1451
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2016, 10:29:28 AM »
I think its cheaper to eat out than to cook one singular meal.

However, once you have the ingredients, chances are your going to make many meals from the spices/condiments.

EXAMPLE:
I bought some frozen chicken breasts and Salmon from Costco (with some other stuff) the meat alone was nearly $50. We could have a pretty good eat-out meal for $50. No cleanup... No cooking

Though, I now have something like a dozen Salmon Fillets, and 15 chicken breasts. I could grill for 2 weeks every day. $50*14 = $700 worth of eating out.

***Math all varies depending on type of food when eating out. Surely one could do the 'dollar' menu every day and eat pretty cheaply. They might develop some heart complications though...

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8328
  • Registered member
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2016, 10:36:12 AM »
When the mcdouble was $1, it was definitely cheaper to grab 1-2 and call it dinner especially factoring in my time to grill a burger (and assuming McDonald's was on the way home so ignore travel time).  However, eating out is never a cheaper way to eat healthy meals (salads that cost $1 at home are redonk expensive... I've been known to just buy a bag of lettuce from the farmers market near my office and eat that)

MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3642
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2016, 10:39:16 AM »


EXAMPLE:
I bought some frozen chicken breasts and Salmon from Costco (with some other stuff) the meat alone was nearly $50. We could have a pretty good eat-out meal for $50. No cleanup... No cooking

Though, I now have something like a dozen Salmon Fillets, and 15 chicken breasts. I could grill for 2 weeks every day. $50*14 = $700 worth of eating out.


I've never grilled salmon, any tips on doing it right? I've heard to leave the skin on for a little bit and then after flipped it, tear it off.

Also any tips for grilling chicken breast? I hate how burnt the outside looks and how long it takes to cook the inside.

Trudie

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1649
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2016, 10:42:49 AM »
It's easiest/cheapest to cook at home.  Sure, if you can't fathom saving the extras you make at home for future meals (or don't know what to do with leftovers and just toss them), eating out is going to be cheaper.  But cooking blogs, cookbooks, and sites like this are chock full of ideas for what to do with leftovers and basic ingredients.  I honestly feel that saying, "I don't know what to do with leftovers" is a cop-out.  Internet much?

This is what works for me:
Cook lots of stuff at once using similar ingredients.
Package individual meal servings sizes. Freeze.

This makes cooking at home neither a time nor a money suck.

stlbrah

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 430
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2016, 10:48:00 AM »
I really don't see it useful to compare mcdonalds crap to lean ground beef bought from the store. Same thing if you compare chicken nuggets to real chicken. Might as well compare an apple to an orange.

Not sure if they still have them, but McDonalds used to have those "premium" sandwich where they used a a piece of a real chicken breast filet, and those were expensive.


dougules

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1422
  • Location: AL
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2016, 11:23:06 AM »
I definitely can understand the mentality of cooking not saving a lot for one person but I have two major issues with this (and one minor one). 

The biggest one is learning how to cook.  Yes, when you first start out your cooking's not going to be great.  You are going to make a lot of food that is bland or not quite right.  Then you're going to have some spectacular failures (keep a fire extinguisher handy).  But this is a very necessary step to the learning process.  You wouldn't expect to be a master at guitar player overnight, so why would you expect the same out of cooking?  In the end you will accumulate the skills (and all the random spices and seasonings) that will make your cooking better and cheaper than the food at an equivalent restaurant (ie not comparing a Mickey D's to homemade bhindi masala and dal made from fresh organic ingredients).   And most people who are single won't be all their life.  Wouldn't it be great to bring some cooking skills to the table (pun intended) in your next relationship when extra mouths to feed will make it count?

Second off is health.  Cooking at home is almost always going to be healthier than eating out.  Even when you do go to the odd restaurant out that serves healthy food, the portion sizes are quite ridiculous.  While you can just split the plate in half and take the rest home (save money and calories), the huge plate is still going to cause you to eat more psychologically.  At home you control what goes in and what the portion size looks like on your plate. 

One other little thing, since cooking responds really well to economies of scale, single people can taking cooking as a social opportunity to feed their friends and neighbors and save them some money.  You can even take turns doing the cooking.  Plus breaking bread is always the best way to make friends and even network to meet somebody special. 
« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 11:26:52 AM by dougules »

TheAnonOne

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1451
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2016, 11:32:39 AM »


EXAMPLE:
I bought some frozen chicken breasts and Salmon from Costco (with some other stuff) the meat alone was nearly $50. We could have a pretty good eat-out meal for $50. No cleanup... No cooking

Though, I now have something like a dozen Salmon Fillets, and 15 chicken breasts. I could grill for 2 weeks every day. $50*14 = $700 worth of eating out.


I've never grilled salmon, any tips on doing it right? I've heard to leave the skin on for a little bit and then after flipped it, tear it off.

Also any tips for grilling chicken breast? I hate how burnt the outside looks and how long it takes to cook the inside.

Grilling salmon almost always requires using a cedar plank. ($10/for about 10 of them at costco)

Soak the cedar plank for 10-15 minutes and just put the salmon on it. (Skin side down) Grill at med/high heat until the fat starts to come out of the fish and the meat can easily "flake".

I usually go a bit farther because I like the sides to be a little crispy. (put some Cajun seasoning and some lemon juice on it) 

Just serve the meat, skin side down on the plate and eat it...

--------

The cedar plank will hold up for a good amount of time, but yes, it gets burnt and thrown away after the singular use.

TheAnonOne

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1451
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2016, 11:34:30 AM »
I should also note, that this particular batch of Salmon from Costco has no skin. I just throw it in a non-stick pan with a little butter and flip it after the bottom is a light brown. Letting the other side also get brown/crispy.

Again... Cajun and lemon. <- hardly a better way to season it than this. (Some use a really sweat BBQ sauce as well, pretty good too)

Kitsune

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1636
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2016, 11:41:13 AM »
I put it in the oven for about 20 minutes, layered with thinly sliced lemon and a bit of salt and herbs. Yum. :)

TheAnonOne

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1451
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2016, 12:23:54 PM »
I put it in the oven for about 20 minutes, layered with thinly sliced lemon and a bit of salt and herbs. Yum. :)

Salmon is the least "Fishy" fish. So most ways you might prepare beef, could be done with salmon given small tweaks. (Besides any sort of submerged stew, I don't see that turning out well)

Joggernot

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 513
  • Age: 73
  • Location: Gulf Coast, TX
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2016, 12:27:49 PM »
Found this on Facebook...:)

MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3642
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2016, 12:53:15 PM »
Are there any others fishes that are easy to cook? I usually use a white fish like tilipia for making a red curry stew, but I'm looking for fishes that I can grill on or cook quickly. My red curry recipes takes a minimum of 20 minutes to make properly and that doesn't include prep time.

Lookilu

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 105
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2016, 01:56:28 PM »
I put it in the oven for about 20 minutes, layered with thinly sliced lemon and a bit of salt and herbs. Yum. :)

I do something similar on the grill, in a foil pack. No sticking that way. Delicious! Throw in a handful of vegetables--asparagus is very good in this--and you have an entire meal.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2016, 02:01:33 PM by Lookilu »

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8328
  • Registered member
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2016, 03:30:37 PM »
I really don't see it useful to compare mcdonalds crap to lean ground beef bought from the store. Same thing if you compare chicken nuggets to real chicken. Might as well compare an apple to an orange.

Not sure if they still have them, but McDonalds used to have those "premium" sandwich where they used a a piece of a real chicken breast filet, and those were expensive.

Please, there's nothing wrong with McDonald's beef that isn't wrong with most supermarket fare.  Lean beef on a burger?  No thanks.  You lose most of the tasty fat anyways when grilling those thin parties. What's less healthy about McDonald's is the bun and American cheese.

I put it in the oven for about 20 minutes, layered with thinly sliced lemon and a bit of salt and herbs. Yum. :)

I do something similar on the grill, in a foil pack. No sticking that way. Delicious! Throw in a handful of vegetables--asparagus is very good in this--and you have an entire meal.

Yup, google "en papillote" but substitute foil for the paper.  So good.  However, I haven't had a problem grilling directly on the grill-- just use plenty of oil first.  I don't mind my salmon cooked well though.  Costco sells a frozen pre marinated salmon that cooks up nicely directly on the grill

purplepear

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 235
  • Age: 28
  • Location: Oregon
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #22 on: March 23, 2016, 04:30:18 PM »
I was involved in a similar conversation at work.

Spendy-pants: "Actually, I've found that eating out is cheaper than cooking... blah blah blah"

Me: "The soup that I'm eating for lunch is $0.75/serving. The most expensive meals I make are around $5/serving... and that's about the minimum cost for a meal out that doesn't come off a Value Menu."

Spendy-pants: *blank stare*

On another note, I loved cooking for myself when I was single and lived alone. I could cook whatever I wanted (not have to adapt to other people's tastes) and I could cook less often and eat leftovers all week. Now I have 3 roommates to please and coordinate with. We're cooking constantly in order to keep ourselves fed.

Seppia

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 616
  • Age: 38
  • Location: NYC
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #23 on: March 23, 2016, 04:44:18 PM »

Are there any others fishes that are easy to cook? I usually use a white fish like tilipia for making a red curry stew, but I'm looking for fishes that I can grill on or cook quickly. My red curry recipes takes a minimum of 20 minutes to make properly and that doesn't include prep time.

Sole filet is very fast to prepare.
Just pat it with a bit of flour, quickly sautée it in a pan with a bit of oil and parsley + touch of garlic if you like that.

Mahi mahi is also great, I like to marinate it with a bit of fresh ground pepper, salt and a tiny bit of lime then sautée it in the pan quickly.

dragoncar

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8328
  • Registered member
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #24 on: March 23, 2016, 04:46:18 PM »
This sentiment is so common in new grads (I myself had this delusion).  Part of the problem is that it's expensive to cook for yourself when you don't really know how yet, and don't know how to get good ingredients cheaply.  Yes, following an Indian food recipe was extremely expensive when I was buying overpriced spices from the grocery store, had no idea that the onions were 1/4 the price across the street, I could get various herbs from the garden, and so on.  Now I buy the bulk garlic and onions, load up on spices at ethnic groceries, and it's so much cheaper.

MrsTuxedocat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 325
  • Location: Canada
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #25 on: March 24, 2016, 12:13:37 AM »
Ugh, my old boss said the SAME exact thing a couple years ago. I totally had to bite my tongue or else I would come say something really snarky. Everyday he would eat Timmy's for lunch like spend $8 on a sandwich combo. When you can make a totally delicious sammy for about a buck, spend a buck on an apple, and just drink water for free. Or even buy chips from the grocery store.

electriceagle

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 460
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #26 on: March 24, 2016, 05:09:19 AM »
Actually, in highly competitive markets, it can be cheaper to eat out than to cook at home. Restaurants use economies of scale to cut costs, and many restaurants actually lose money.

I remember a time when I was using internet coupons to get a meal and a beer for just the cost of the beer. Or sometimes a sandwich for just the tax on the sandwich. Cheapr to eat out, indeed.

Spud

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 67
  • Location: Southwest England, UK.
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #27 on: March 24, 2016, 06:22:08 AM »
If people feel that it's cheaper to eat out than cook at home, then, as some people have said on this thread, that's because they don't know how to cook and, just as importantly, they don't know how to shop in order to cook for themselves.

Both of these things were actively taught to me by my parents during my teen years.

By the time I got to university, weekly food shop, laundry, ironing (not much, but some), and all the other domestic stuff was ingrained in me. In other words, I could fully concentrate on other more important things, both social and work related, because the basics of "living" were automated. I wasn't having to think or panic. I had a routine and I stuck to it.

I feel sorry for people that reach the age of 30 and are still effectively giant children. I know some of them.

Eating out every night, even if it's classy restaurants and not McDonalds or some greasy hole-in-the-wall, is not healthy for you. You'll quickly put on weight and get high blood pressure etc.

TheGrimSqueaker

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2101
  • Location: A desert wasteland, where none but the weird survive
  • www.theliveinlandlord.com
    • The Live-In Landlord
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #28 on: March 24, 2016, 07:59:15 AM »
Eating out every night, even if it's classy restaurants and not McDonalds or some greasy hole-in-the-wall, is not healthy for you. You'll quickly put on weight and get high blood pressure etc.
The salt alone is ridiculous.

onehair

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 365
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #29 on: March 24, 2016, 08:57:24 AM »
I do eat out on occasion but knowing I can prepare things at home helps too.  I have 5 ingredient books for when I am super lazy I confess.  I think Blue Apron is a bit of a scam considering when I feel "lazy" I can get certain things sort of prepared from local grocery stores like chopped onions certain vegetables even preseasoned meats and seafood.  Why spend extra with them?

gardeningandgreen

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 326
  • Location: Minnesota
    • Gardening and Green
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #30 on: March 24, 2016, 08:57:36 AM »
I agree with most on here. The worst part about the original person I was referring to is that she is over 50 years old. She seems to have been coddled her entire life. The things she says makes me think that she is mostly incapable of being an adult in general. The other people who work in my office are in their mid 20s to early 30s. All of them are more capable adults than she is.

mm1970

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6333
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #31 on: March 24, 2016, 10:38:35 AM »
I do eat out on occasion but knowing I can prepare things at home helps too.  I have 5 ingredient books for when I am super lazy I confess.  I think Blue Apron is a bit of a scam considering when I feel "lazy" I can get certain things sort of prepared from local grocery stores like chopped onions certain vegetables even preseasoned meats and seafood.  Why spend extra with them?
Subscriptions, man, it's where the money is.  It's automated.  You don't have to think!  And the companies rake it in.

Want to look nice at work, but hate shopping?  Enter Stitch Fix!  Fill your closet with stuff someone else picked out for you!  If you don't like it, you can send it back.  If you forget once in awhile...oh well.

Snacks...I love Snacks!  Enter Nature Box.  Delish snacks delivered to your door!  Oh, you don't like that particular one?  Eh, take it to work and put it in the lunchroom.

Workout clothing - because who doesn't want to look like Kate Hudson while power-walking or picking up the kids at school.  And a new outfit every month!! 

Dinner - hate to figure out what to have for dinner?  Enter Blue Apron!

I mean, the list goes on and on.  Some of them can be beneficial and useful, but it's rarely going to be cheaper.

I don't need snacks or any kind of clothing delivered.

I do, however get a produce box delivered.  (For 15 years we were CSA members and went to pick up our produce weekly.  But the drought has been hard on the CSA, and they are currently cover-cropping the fields.  There are a few other CSAs in town, and one or two produce delivery places.)  It does cost more money than simply going to the farmer's market.  But, alas, kids activities on Saturday morning interfere with the farmer's market.  I've adjusted my budget.

We also used to have auto-ship on diapers.

(I do get our BIL the beer of the month club for Christmas each year!)

But many of these subscription services are for wasteful, consumer suckas.

Allison

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 53
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #32 on: March 24, 2016, 11:17:51 AM »
As a single person, it can be hard and expensive to cook every day.  I found this fantastic meal planner called thefresh20.com  20 ingredients each week and it makes 5 meals.  Plus they have a just for 1 meal plan with pricing attached.  It weaned me off the very expensive Blue Apron boxes.

Seppia

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 616
  • Age: 38
  • Location: NYC
Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #33 on: March 24, 2016, 05:24:13 PM »
Actually, in highly competitive markets, it can be cheaper to eat out than to cook at home. Restaurants use economies of scale to cut costs, and many restaurants actually lose money.

I remember a time when I was using internet coupons to get a meal and a beer for just the cost of the beer. Or sometimes a sandwich for just the tax on the sandwich. Cheapr to eat out, indeed.

If you spent time looking for those deals then no, it wasn't cheaper.
It seems unlikely those deals continuously fell onto your lap, so either you're talking "once every many days" or you weren't so effective at cooking.
I used to live in Nyc and bought most of my stuff at whole foods. I was averaging well under $4 per person per meal.
Now that I'm back in Italy average has dropped down to below $3 per person, and I upped the fanciness of my meals. 
I've worked in the food business 13 years, and can tell you economies of scale are overestimated: except for the luxury world, margins in the food business are very low. Significantly Lowe cost always means significantly lower quality.
Plus any tiny economy of scale would easily be beat by the fact that you don't need to make money off your cooking.

MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3642
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #34 on: March 24, 2016, 05:29:09 PM »
An ex of mine when she moved to the US more or less permanently decided to only shop at WF. I don't know if she's still doing this, but her argument was that she doesn't enjoy eating out so she doesn't mind splurging to ensure a relatively better quality of foods. She grew up in France and hates American meat and agriculture. I don't know if she still does, I suspect she's caught onto CSAs and farmer's markets.

Seppia

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 616
  • Age: 38
  • Location: NYC
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #35 on: March 24, 2016, 05:59:39 PM »
Southern Europeans tend to be a little more attentive on average to how they source their food.
Whole foods is overpriced, but most of times it actually is better.
Then obviously it's the law of diminishing returns, to have a 30% better quality you have to pay say 100% more.

Don't know about other places, but in NYC farmers markets were substantially more expensive compared to whole foods.

It's weird to say, but if a Manhattan resident has no access to Costco on 117th, the best places to shop in terms of value/money are eataly (fruits and vegetables are excellent and relatively cheap by NYC prices) and whole foods.
Trader joes is the best place to buy wine by a mile, but food items are pretty poor quality on average.

Dollar Slice

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4225
  • Age: 41
  • Location: New York City
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #36 on: March 24, 2016, 06:49:14 PM »
It's weird to say, but if a Manhattan resident has no access to Costco on 117th, the best places to shop in terms of value/money are eataly (fruits and vegetables are excellent and relatively cheap by NYC prices) and whole foods.

Yeah. It goes against the grain, but I have tried five or six grocery stores that I can get to relatively easily from where I live in Manhattan... and Whole Foods is substantially cheaper on many items and has the best quality on pretty much everything. The selection is far, far better (I've gone to other stores in the neighborhood trying to get a forgotten ingredient for a recipe, and been unable to get incredibly basic stuff like zucchini or a bunch of carrots).

I do check into the second-best (non-WF) store once a week or so to spot any sales on things I buy regularly. But that's about the limit of how much time I want to spend on grocery shopping. I could save $20 a week by spending 2 more hours trekking around town, but it's not worth it to me.

The crazy grocery prices are offset by very cheap take-out food options (if you look for them), and while I don't think it's cheaper to eat out unless you abandon all pretense of a healthy, balanced diet, you can come pretty close if you're not too keen on fruit and veg. Outside Manhattan anyone saying this is probably full of it, though. ;-)

Making Cookies

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1648
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #37 on: March 25, 2016, 01:11:42 PM »
I have a coworker who we were talking about blue apron and all of the rest of us were saying how it is so much cheaper to go to the grocery store and get the ingredients that we need to make the same thing. We were also commenting on how sad it is that we will pay so much for convenience in the US. When dumb coworker chimes in. She says that because she lives alone it is cheaper for her to just eat out for every meal. I flat out told her no it is not. Even cooking for one person. You can always have leftovers. I just don't understand the stupidity here...

It IS cheaper to eat out IF you are the type to THROW OUT the leftovers...

Seriously - I have met several people along the way that turn their noses up at eating leftovers. Blows my mind....

Sylly

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 267
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #38 on: March 25, 2016, 11:01:09 PM »
I don't dispute that home cooked meals are typically healthier than eat at fast food places like McDs and such. But I've seen several comments that eating out is *always* less healthy than cooking at home, even at sit down restaurants. Is this second statement really true, though? Can't many of the sit down restaurant meals be considered on equal footing, health-wise, as some recipe-based meals you cook at home? It's outsourcing the cooking, which is un-Mustachian, sure, but doesn't always mean it's less healthy. Or is it just the kind of restaurant meals people are used to seeing? I'm thinking of some ethnic restaurants specifically, which is abundant in areas I'm used to, and not things like Chili's etc.

SewingmyStache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 17
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #39 on: March 25, 2016, 11:27:29 PM »
I don't dispute that home cooked meals are typically healthier than eat at fast food places like McDs and such. But I've seen several comments that eating out is *always* less healthy than cooking at home, even at sit down restaurants. Is this second statement really true, though? Can't many of the sit down restaurant meals be considered on equal footing, health-wise, as some recipe-based meals you cook at home? It's outsourcing the cooking, which is un-Mustachian, sure, but doesn't always mean it's less healthy. Or is it just the kind of restaurant meals people are used to seeing? I'm thinking of some ethnic restaurants specifically, which is abundant in areas I'm used to, and not things like Chili's etc.

The problem with restaurant meals is that you don't know what's in them.  Since fat = flavor, it's safe to assume that many restaurant meals are heavier on the fat that what you would use at home.  Also the portion sizes are usually too large at restaurants.

Personally, I'm enjoying Blue Apron.  A couple of months ago, I kept hearing about it so I went to the website.  I happened to have all of the ingredients for one of the featured meals in my frig, so I made it the next night for dinner.  It was really good, so since then I've been checking their recipes every couple of weeks. They feature seasonal ingredients (which works for me because I'm in a CSA and looking for new ideas for my veggies), don't take too long to prepare and are for 2 people.  Of course, I'm not outsourcing my shopping to them.

Dollar Slice

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4225
  • Age: 41
  • Location: New York City
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #40 on: March 25, 2016, 11:29:36 PM »
I don't dispute that home cooked meals are typically healthier than eat at fast food places like McDs and such. But I've seen several comments that eating out is *always* less healthy than cooking at home, even at sit down restaurants. Is this second statement really true, though?

It's definitely possible to choose more healthy meals in restaurants than the meals you cook at home. Order a salad at every restaurant and eat nothing but mac and cheese at home. Point proven. But in the context of eating out being comparable or cheaper than cooking at home, I think you'd have a really hard time eating healthy restaurant food for anywhere near the cost of home cooking. You can go to restaurants and get really cheap pizza, fried chicken, french fries, hot dogs and burgers - but you will have a much harder time finding salads, green vegetables, baked fish, fresh fruit, etc. for those prices.

clarkfan1979

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1813
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Kauai & Denver
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #41 on: March 26, 2016, 01:51:15 AM »
A few of my friends made similar comments about 10 years ago when everyone was around 25. They still eat out, but they no longer claim that it's cheaper.

MrsPete

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3519
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #42 on: March 27, 2016, 09:53:19 AM »
I flat out told her no it is not. Even cooking for one person. You can always have leftovers. I just don't understand the stupidity here...
Yeah, and if you're just not a person who can face the same meal right away, learn to use the freezer.  For example, last night I made a BIG pot of delicious soup ... and I froze the leftovers in individual ziplocks.  Now we have six soup lunches ready to go.

If you are going to go to McDonald's and get an extra value meal (too much food, yeah, but work with me here), it will be, what $8?  (I don't know).

But if you go to the grocery store to get the ingredients -
1 lb beef: $5
8 buns: $2
Ketchup, mustard:  $4
1 lb potatoes: $2 (because of course you only only buying them loose)
1 container oil: $3
salt, pepper: $2

That's $18 right there!  AND you have to make it (nevermind that it's enough for at least 4 meals).  People who are single talk about getting "bored" eating leftovers (which, yeah, I remember those days).
In the spirit of "apples and oranges", don't overlook that the McD's value meal at $8 feeds one person.  The $18 spent on home-cooked burgers would make 5 burgers, bringing the meal to $3.60 per serving.  Actually less because you probably don't need to buy ketchup, mustard, oil, S&P every time you make this meal ... if you assume you have these condiments on hand and only need to buy the meat, buns and potatoes, the meal is under $2 per serving. 

MgoSam

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3642
  • Location: Minnesota
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #43 on: March 28, 2016, 08:24:57 PM »
I flat out told her no it is not. Even cooking for one person. You can always have leftovers. I just don't understand the stupidity here...
Yeah, and if you're just not a person who can face the same meal right away, learn to use the freezer.  For example, last night I made a BIG pot of delicious soup ... and I froze the leftovers in individual ziplocks.  Now we have six soup lunches ready to go.

If you are going to go to McDonald's and get an extra value meal (too much food, yeah, but work with me here), it will be, what $8?  (I don't know).

But if you go to the grocery store to get the ingredients -
1 lb beef: $5
8 buns: $2
Ketchup, mustard:  $4
1 lb potatoes: $2 (because of course you only only buying them loose)
1 container oil: $3
salt, pepper: $2

That's $18 right there!  AND you have to make it (nevermind that it's enough for at least 4 meals).  People who are single talk about getting "bored" eating leftovers (which, yeah, I remember those days).
In the spirit of "apples and oranges", don't overlook that the McD's value meal at $8 feeds one person.  The $18 spent on home-cooked burgers would make 5 burgers, bringing the meal to $3.60 per serving.  Actually less because you probably don't need to buy ketchup, mustard, oil, S&P every time you make this meal ... if you assume you have these condiments on hand and only need to buy the meat, buns and potatoes, the meal is under $2 per serving.

Yup, those are good numbers for an example of someone buying all condiments and ingredietns for a single meal for 4 people, even then it would be cheaper than 4 meals at McDonalds.

Or go even lower by omitting the buns as I currently do.

I live alone and I eat far better than most people that eat out all the time. Part of it is learning to enjoy eating the same thing every day. It's taken time, but I've become used to eating things on a regular basis. I have 4 or 5 slow cooker recipes that I switch up for dinners and lunches. Weekends are times when I'm more likely to eat out with friends, so I plan for that.

zephyr911

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3628
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Northern Alabama
  • I'm just happy to be here. \m/ ^_^ \m/
    • Pinhook Development LLC
Re: Its cheaper to eat out than to cook.
« Reply #44 on: March 30, 2016, 02:43:38 PM »
I've never grilled salmon, any tips on doing it right? I've heard to leave the skin on for a little bit and then after flipped it, tear it off.

Also any tips for grilling chicken breast? I hate how burnt the outside looks and how long it takes to cook the inside.
Grilling salmon almost always requires using a cedar plank. ($10/for about 10 of them at costco)

DW loves salmon, and I blackened it in a cast-iron pan the last couple of times. I may never go back. High heat, oil, coat the fish in spices, and cook on both sides. So easy... so delicious.