Oh, how nice it is to be wined and dined in a lovely restaurant. Or to rush through the drive-through McDonald’s for a quick and easy dinner solution because you have finished late at work. Eating out is convenient, fast, and often highly indulgent. So many people get stuck in the habit of eating out rather than cooking yet wonder why their bank account is drained not long after payday.
It would utterly shock some people to learn how much they spend on eating out each year. Most people could book a nice week’s holiday somewhere where the sun is shining, and the sea is glistening, they spend that much on takeout! If you keep on reading, you’ll learn the real cost of eating out and how to minimize that expense.
The Real Cost Of Eating Out
People are so interested in how much the average American eats out that there is a lot of data about it. The average American household spends $3000 on takeout food every single year. The key term there being average. Therefore, lots of people will be spending well above that. A couple could easily book a week away in the Dominican Republic for that amount of money or fly to Europe for a vacation. If you were to look into your finances and add it up, do you think you would be below, on target, or well above that average figure? Most people are ashamed to think about how much they spend on takeout food each month.
When diving a little deeper and looking at how much that would be a month, it is $250. Statistics also show that the average American household spends $550 on grocery shopping each month. So, in total, that would equal $800 on food alone. That is a lot of money that could easily be reduced. If you are guilty of eating out a lot and those figures scare you, below you will find six excellent tips to minimize household expenses by changing the way you dine every month.
Meal planning can save a lot of money. But, it has to be done effectively. It can be hard to think of a whole week’s worth of meals, and you never know if you will still want a specific meal on the day you planned it for. But it is also not a good idea to spend every day at the grocery store buying ingredients. So, it is recommended to plan a meal plan for two or three days. Food stays in-date, it keeps you focused and in check, and it isn’t too much hassle going to the grocery store every few days. The chances are you will be doing that anyway!
If you would find it hard to get to the grocery store a few times a week, buy frozen fruit and vegetables, and freeze any meats. That way, you will reduce food waste but still have a freezer full of meals to cook and eat plus additional ingredients such as sauces, herbs, and spices that last months at a time.
Healthy Eating For Less
There is a misconception that eating healthy costs far more, and that is why so many people opt for cheap takeout food. However, eating healthy most definitely doesn’t have to be expensive. If you follow our advice about meal planning and buying frozen ingredients, healthy eating is easy. Healthy eating only becomes so expensive if you buy the ingredients and don’t stick to a meal plan, allowing the ingredients to go out of date.
Our top tip is to check out the reduced aisle and look for items such as meats and fish that are close to going out of date. These will have a reduced price tag but can be used any time if you freeze them! This preserves the food and prevents it from going out of date. It is far more cost-effective and gives you the freedom to eat it when you like rather than feeling forced to use it up.
Learn How To Cook, And Enjoy It!
A large percentage of Americans, particularly the younger generation, spend so much on eating out because they don’t know how to cook. If you were never taught how to cook and haven’t tried to learn, now is the time. Cooking is fun. It creates a space to be creative and rewarding. You don’t even have to be in the kitchen to cook, as these tips from RTA Outdoor Living will get you cooking outside as well!
There are hundreds of simple cookbooks, online recipes, and even Youtube cooking channels that can take any novice to expert. If you can follow instructions, you are already halfway there. If cooking intimidates you, there are even cooking classes specifically designed to help people develop their basic cooking skills.
A New Eating Routine
Forming a new eating routine can completely change your relationship with food. If your eating routine is rushed and based on quick and easy meals, it is no wonder you might search for takeout before searching the fridge. If you know you eat out every night, try building one cooking night into your routine, to begin with. Baby steps make it far less intimidating, and it will give you time to get used to cooking and how long it takes. If you are pushed for time, there are 15-minute meals that are healthy, easy to make, and tantalizingly tasty.
It will be far easier to stay on track with cooking at home if you allow yourself treats meals. Studies show that most Americans eat out so much simply because they prefer the taste. Stripping that enjoyment away completely is not the aim here. The aim is to save money. So, if you are someone who would usually have takeout multiple times a week, reduce it to just one treat meal. The best time to do so is on the weekend. It is important to keep structure and discipline throughout the week to build healthy cooking habits.
Eating At Work
Workplaces are home to some of the worst eating habits. Typically, a working day is filled with tasks, meetings, deadlines, and a general sense of panic. Lunch breaks are skipped, and instead, it is easier to opt for a quick takeout meal that can be gulped down at the desk, or worse, grazing snacks all day. This is where meal planning comes in again. Easy lunches such as tuna pasta salads, rice boxes, and even sandwiches can be made days in advance.
If you can find the time to follow just one of our tips, you will reap the benefit. It can take a while to change the habit of choosing a takeout overcooking, but once you do you won’t look back. Not only is it kinder on your bank account, but it is also kinder to your health.