It usually starts with just one lunch out. Before you know it, you are eating out for every lunch instead of packing. Whatever your reasoning, eating out comes at a great cost to your financial future. Not only is prepared food less healthy overall, but it can have a big time impact on your finances. Here are some valid reasons why eating out frequently is a bad idea for both your waistline and your wallet.
Food Cost vs. Grocery Store
First, it always costs more to buy prepared food from a restaurant than from a grocery store. At the restuarant, you are paying for the food and the service. Also, don't forget that the physical location of the restaurant, the cooking methods used, and staffing all play a huge part of the overall bill. It just makes sense that cooking your food at home can save a considerable amount of money each month.
Another common thing that happens when people go out to eat is forgetting what to eat and how much. Most people do not go out and eat only the main course. They usually purchase appetizers, drinks, and/or dessert as well as the main entree. All of these things add up quickly on the bill and on the calorie count.
Paying For Service
When you decide to go to a restaurant for lunch or dinner, do you always consider all the extra costs? Your check will have the price of your entire meal, drinks, taxes, and tips. Depending on how fancy the restuarant, there could also be costs such as parking and/or valet service. Do you really know how much you are actually going to spend on your meal out before you go?
What Bad Habits Are You Forming?
Something else to think about is the bad habits you are forming. When you eat at home, there is usually food remaining that you can use for lunches or another complete meal. Additionally, you will be less likely to eat out if there is a good, home-cooked meal already made in the fridge.
What Are Some Better Options?
What can you do to avoid eating out all the time? Meal planning and meal prep are a great way to avoid food waste AND stretch your dollars. At the beginning of the week (we do this on Sundays at my house), take a look through your fridge and pantry and think of what meals you can make from what you already have on hand. Then, prepare a grocery list for the items you will need.
Go grocery shopping (use coupons too!), then come home and prepare your lunches for the week. If you do not have time to cook in the evening, prep dinner meals as well. Freezer meals and slow cooker recipes will become your new best friend. There really is no excuse for eating out, when meal prep can be so convenient and opens up your schedule during the busy week.
Having said all that, you can see that there are a multitude of reasons why you should consider cutting out your habit of eating out. Save your money, your waistline, and your heart health by eating at home.